SOC101Y1 Study Guide - Hostile Work Environment, Compulsory Heterosexuality, Marshall Mcluhan
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- Sex refers to biological differences between males and females while gender
refers to the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour that we commonly associate
with each sex.
- Although it is possible to trace the origins of masculine and feminine gender
roles to biological differences between the sexes, most sociologists focus on
the ways in which gender is socially constructed
- Three major sociohistorical changes have led to the development of gender
o Long distance warfare and conquest
o Plow Agriculture
o Public and Private Spheres during early Industrialization
- Conscious sexual learning beings around adolescences in the context or
firmly established gender identities
- Although we receive little formal socialization regarding sexuality, sexual
relationships tend to be male-dominated as a result of the chapter of gender
socialization and men’s continuing dominant position in society
- The social construction of gender and sexual scripts has defined standards of
beauty that are nearly impossible for most women to achieve. This
contributes to widespread anxiety about body image, leading in some cases
to eating disorders
- Gender inequality and sociocultural context that justifies and eroticizes male
sexual aggression contribute to the widespread problem of male sexual
- The mass media reflect and reinforce the relationship between
heterosexuality and male domination
- Social constructionism encourages sexual pluralism, which assesses the
validity of sexual activities in terms of meaning of the acts to the participants.
Compulsory heterosexuality: the assumption that individuals should desire only
members of the “opposite” sex.
Essentialists: observe male-female differences in sexual scripts, the division of
labour at home and in the work place, mate selection, sexual aggression, jealousy,
promiscuity, fidelity, and so forth. They then interpret these differences as natural
Gender: encompasses the feelings, attitudes and behaviours that are associated
with being male or female as conventionally understood.
Gender Identity: refers to identification with, or a sense of belonging to, a
particular sex, biologically, psychologically, and socially.
Gender Roles: comprise the repertoire of behaviours that match widely shared
expectations about how males and female are supposed to act.
Hostile environment sexual harassment: sexual jokes, comments, and touching
that interfere with work or create an unfriendly work setting.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment: involves sexual threats or bribery used to
extract sexual favours as a condition of employment decisions.
Sex: being born with distinct male or female genitalia and a genetic program that
releases either male or female hormones to stimulate the development of ones
Sexual Orientation: refers to the way a person derives sexual pleasure, including
whether desirable partners are of the same or a different sex.
Sexual Pluralism: assesses the sexual acts only by their meaning for the
Sexual Scripts: assumptions that guide sexual behaviour by telling us whom we
should find attractive, when and where it is appropriate to be aroused, what is
sexually permissible and so on.
Sexuality: involves actions that are intended to produce erotic arousal and genital
Social Constructionism: the main alternative to essentialism. Social
Constructionists argue that gender differences are not the product of biological
properties, whether chromosomal, gonadal, or hormonal. Instead, gender and
sexuality are products of social structure and culture.
Sociobiology: the best-known variant to essentialism. It holds that all human beings
instinctually want to ensure that their genes get passed on to future generations.
However, the different reproductive status of men and women means that they have
had to develop different adaptive strategies. This gave rise to “masculine” and
“feminine” patterns of behaviour that presumably became genetically encoded
because of their adaptive value.
Transgendered: when a person’s gender identity does not exactly match the sex
assigned to them at birth. They blue widely accepted gender roles by (ex) cross-
Transsexual: identify with the opposite sex from that assigned to them at birth,
causing them to change their appearance or resort to a sex-change operation.
The Mass Media
- Technological theory emphasizes the role played by media technologies on
both individual psychology and social organization, and originates largely
with the writings of two Canadian theorists, Harold Innis and Marshal
McLuhan. Technology theory is also useful for understanding new forms of
social interaction, networking and surveillance that have resulted form the
development of computer-mediated forms of communication
- Critical theory focuses on the impact of different interests and social
inequalities on the organization (political economy) and content (ideology)
of communications media. Some critical theorists emphasize the role of the
media in reinforcing and sustaining dominant relations of power, wealth and
other valuable resources, whereas others see the media as an arena where
conflict occurs over the meaning on social reality. The two variants of critical
theory are particularly evident in research on the representation of social
reality found in news media
- Canadian newspapers exhibit high levels of ownership concentration, are
usually part of large multimedia chains and function largely as local
monopolies. The factor that has the greatest impact on news content
however, is dependency on advertising
- In the case of television, advertising dependency, the high costs of production
and audience is preferences mean that much of the programming Canadians
watch is American. This is especially so for drama sitcoms and particularly
among Anglophones. Nationalists view the situation as a sellout of Canadian
culture, whereas post modernists see it as a part of the general effect of
globalization and do not believe that it undermines the institutional structure
of Canadian society.
- Conservatives claim that news coverage has a left-liberal political bias that is
unrepresentative of society’s mainstream. Critical theorists argue that news
coverage is ideologically conservative, in that it defines reality from the
perspective of dominant ideology and views events and issues through the
lens of social control. At the same time, some critical theorists argue that the
media are not completely closed to alternative voices and viewpoints and
that these can challenge, to some extent, the hegemony of dominant social
groups and interests.
- Many observers believe that a causal link exists between television and
violent behaviour, but the studies that support this view have been criticized
on the groups of flawed methodology. Moreover, the majority view is split on
the issue of how television causes aggression. Some argue that watching TV
counteracts the effects of socialization by weakening self- control; others
believe that is socializes children in the use of violence.