WSTA01H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Claas, Neocolonialism, United Nations General Assembly

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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 cultural/social 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 genital/or 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 thinking/framework 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
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
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
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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As a Cultural construct: Not a purely biological entity. Different cultural ideas leave their mark on the
body. Create different bodies. Hierarchies of bodies. As the object of manipulation and control.
Consequences for women
gender as a primary factor in health-related behavior
2002-Canada: life expectancy for women 82.1 years; Men 77.2
Men: Symbol of masculinity: ignore health issues and playing through pain
Women: Experience more years of illness than men
Sexists biases in medicine
Women more likely than men to get sick or die due to sex-specific causes
Social constructionist approach
Gender differences are not the product of biological properties
Gender the product of social structures and culture
Gender not a property of the individual
Gender the product of ongoing, multilevel processes of social construction and reconstruction
FIVE Levels of social construction:
Individual, Interactional: everyday interactions, Institutional: schools, families etc., Sociocultural:
symbolic and Global gender order: economical, colonial legacies.
1.What is gender socialization : The process whereby an individual acquires ways of acting. It
varies from culture to culture and throughout a persons life cycle (transitions). The process
whereby an individual acquires:
1. Gender identity
2. Gendered ways of acting, thinking and feeling
Gender: Three sub categories
Appearance: example
Behavior: example
Feelings and thoughts: example
Gender as words: Language predisposes us to make particular interpretations of reality. Culture
and language are intertwined. Language as inescapable socializer
Generic terms such as mankind which refers to the entire human species.
Language and Gender: Language: the principal means whereby a society disseminates its ideology
on gender. Rapport(women, connections) vs. Report(men, status)
Language: establishes gender schema by encoding and gendering social and physical worlds,
developing actions, feelings and thoughts about those worlds and evaluating and judging gender
behaviors (Patriarchal gender schema and Sexist language)
Sexist language: Maintained through three processes:
1. Ignoring: to exclude; to render invisible
2.Stereotyping: structured set of beliefs about the personal attributes of individuals or groups of
3.Deprecating: denigrating: when a term in our language carries a derogatory connotation
Studies since 1980s:Speech patterns of economically and racially marginalized groups in
North America:the female languageis common among those who hold little power womens
language as powerless speechThese differences among men and women are more a function
of power than of gender
Politics of the gaze and its relation to different forms of power
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