Exam Review Womens & Gender Studies!

13 Pages
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Department
Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
WSTA01H3
Professor
Anissa Talahite- Moodley

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Description
WomensGender Exam ReviewPart ASECTION IHEALTH SEXUALITIES AND THE GENDERED BODY Main points 1 Biological versus Cultural definitions of genderGender is Identity choice constructed identityBiological is geneticSEX Determined at birth Based on biological and physiological characteristics Assumed to be innate fixed and unchanging Arguments for Biological GenderDifference in male and female reproductive anatomy means that men and women have different reproductive strategies Iie Women are more inclined to be monogamous by selecting the best genetic materialMen and women show variations in terms of their brain function and chemistry Men and women rely on different brain hemispheresThe Gendered Brain Differences eg Literacy Visualspatial capacity maths ie The female brain Brizendine argues that women and men think differently as a result of the impact that hormones have on the brainMen and women have different levels of hormones that explain their different behavioursie Testosterone Aggression of MonkeysCultural is society basedGENDER Set of norms and practices Acquired Shaped by cultureBiological versus Cultural definitions of genderSome scientists argue that the differences between men and women are rooted in biologyo First argument The difference in male and female reproductive anatomy means that men and women have different reproductive strategies Some evolutionists argue that women are more inclined to be monogamous by selecting the best genetic material while men are driven by the reproductive instinct of trying to fertilise as many eggs as possible Kimmel et al 2011 o Second argument Men and women show variations in terms of their brain function and chemistry Men and women rely on different brain hemispheres In The Female Brain Brizendine 2006 Brizendine argued that women and men think differently as a result of the impact that hormones have on the braino Third argument Men and women have different levels of hormones that explain their different behaviors eg research on the effects of testosteroneeg aggression in monkeyssee Testosterone Rules by Robert M Sapolsky p 10 o Problems with these arguments They tend to oversimplify a complex set of processes involving both biology and culture They also tend to essentialize gender by naturalizing gender differences This means that these differences are regarded as unavoidable and absolute It also means that they can be used to justify certain inequalities eg Traditional argument that girls are naturally passive and submissive Creating a biological argument for gender differences ignores how problematic and complex they are What we take for granted as masculine and feminine attributes are variable complex and relative depending on our societal norms o Caster Semanya was suspended from competition after her gender was called into question Her masculine appearance caused the IAAF to proceed with gender verification to ensure fairness Semanyas story teaches us that the distinction between malefemale is the product of norms and regulatory systems It also shows that gender is not only a cultural and social category it is also a legal category Critiques of biological explanations of gender o Pregnancy lactation and menstruation are experiences of womanhood but not determinant of womanhood Lorber 2011 p 12 o Gender is about power and inequalities we live in a mandefined worldCultural construction of gender eg androcentrism gender essentialism gender polarizationGender is culturally constructed through sex and gender binaries Malefemale Masculinefeminine This process also gives us a sense that gender categories are real natural and essential essentializing process Goffman gives the example of toilet segregationThe Lenses of Gender 1993 by Sandra Bem identifies 3 lenses that determine the way we understand and construct gender
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