WSTA01 Final Exam Study Guide

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Women's and Gender Studies
Victoria Tahmasebi

Week One: The distinction between Sex: Condition of being male or female as defined from biological standpoint. Biological characteristics and properties of bodies placed in these categories Gender: The assignment of masculine and feminine characteristics to bodies in culturalsocial contexts. All expected and actual thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with masculinity and femininity. Sexuality: A range of human activities designed to produce erotic response and pleasure. Scripts shared by a group that are supposed to lead to erotic arousal and in turn to produce genitalor non-genital responses. Sexual script: culturally created sexual guideline that embody the patterns of behaviors a society or a group defines as sexually appropriate in a given social situation The relationship between sex and gender: Sex determines gender. Sex is arbitrary related to gender. Sex influences gender What is dichotomous thinkingframework and how it relates to sex and gender 1. Division of the human population into females and males. Classify a population into two. 2. Negative aspects: tolerates no ambiguity (middle ground), it encourages us to believe that the element of the categories are different. E.g. males and females are supposed to be opposites. It leads us to search for differences rather than relationships of these categories. Dominant sexual script? heterosexism: system of beliefs that asserts the superiority of heterosexuality and a heterosexual way of life and promotes prejudice and discrimination against any other sexual orientation Homophobia: an irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals and homosexuality Bisexuality as a threat. Fluidity of human sexual experience HEALTH, SEXUALITIES AND GENDERED BODIES: 1. Sociobiology: our biology determines gender. Social behaviors are understood to have biological sources. Social Darwinism. The systematic study of the biological basis of all forms of social behavior. Certain forms of behavior maximize the reproductive success of the human species. They become genetically encoded within the human species. Male and females develop reproductive strategies 2. Problems with sociobiological approach 1. You reason backwards; theological. Start with It is teleological (reasoning backward to fill existing theoretical holes) 2. It assumes there is only one explanation 3. It uses data selectively 4. Some arguments are just plain wrong 5. Clearly conservative and androcentric (Placing masculine or male-identified point of view as the norm) 6. It is anthropomorphic (it attributes human characteristics or behavior to animals or even vegetation) THE BODY: A complex construction. Can be manipulated and controlled. Gender differences are materially inscribed. Can resist different forms of powers As Gendered: Inscribing gender norms onto the body. Primary source of gender identity. Shape the options and life possibilities family, peers, media, school, medical systems and beauty culture. As the instrument of femininity and masculinity. Simone De Beauvoir: One is not born a woman, one becomes a woman Technologies of gender As Sexed Adrienne Rich: compulsory heterosexuality: The assumption that women and men are innately attracted to each other emotionally and sexually and that heterosexuality is normal and universal The regime of heterosexuality: men and women socialized into heterosexual scripts on desire, intimacy and romance
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