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Sociology 2241E
Pamela Glatt

GENDER STUDIES EXAM REVIEW Biology, Sex and Gender Lecture • Biological Assumption: men and women are from different species – mainly because of our different anatomies • Interplanetary Theory: men and women are from different planets • These biological differences create inequality- since they are different they cannot be treated the same • One common every society has in common- differentiate people based on gender • Biological Determinism: (nature): different because of biology o Used as excuse for male domination- women are made to reproduce it is their biological function • Differential socialization: (nurture): different because they are socialized to be different o Women socialized- polite, passive o Men socialized- dominant, aggressive o We acquire these traits- no biology • Sex: biological apparatus, anatomical, chromosomal, and chemical organization o Sameness over time in what makes male and female- fixed status • Gender: roles we are socialized into- socialized and meanings attached to being masculine/ feminine o On a continuum, lots of variation, fluid, achieved status History of Biology- Constructing Gender • Pre 18 century: (Theology)- gender explained from theology- God created man and woman and purpose of woman was to have babies • 18 century (Science)- anatomical features of men and women made them well suited for certain roles- since they are biologically different they should be different (women built weaker so stay at home and take care of chthdren) • 19 Century (Darwin)- evolutionary perspective on gender- men/women adapt strategies to help ensure survival of society (women stayed at home to make babies and men made money for society to survive) Darwinism and Gender • Differences in men/women are based on differences in brain structure • Women had smaller brains so they should not be educated because it will cause brains to increase and uterus to shrink Biology Constructs Sexes • Social life stems from biological differences between men and women- • 3 research on biological determinism to explain gender differences o Evolutionary Theory o Brain Research o Endocrinological Research on Sex Hormones Evolutionary Theory • Sociobiology • Studies biological basis of social behaviour • Differences due to evolution • They act different in social scenes because of their biology- used to explain differences not inequality • Explains differences in sexual behaviour o Men fertilize a lot of eggs so they are promiscuous, women only need one egg so they are not as promiscuous • Explains differences in mate selection o Women only have one egg to fertilize they look for men with certain traits, for men they fertilize lots of eggs so characteristics matter less • Evolutionary Psychology • Genetic basis for male promiscuity and female monogamy • Genetic traits passed down explain psychological dispositions men/women have • Men are programmed to be aggressive/controlling • Women are programmed to be emotional/passive Brain Research • Argument that men/women have different skills based on anatomies • Beginning of 20 century women scored higher than men but men concluded they are better at memorizing/studying but not their brains • 3 areas of research on gendered brain differences 1. Right vs. left hemisphere 2. How men only use half and women need to use whole brain 3. Differences in connective tissue between hemisphere Gendered Hormones • Sex differentiation is most important: (when you are born- girl or boy?, puberty- breast, facial hair, voice) • Testosterone: masculine hormone • Estrogen: femininity hormone • Using hormones to explain male/female difference is oversimplification • No such thing as male/female hormones- bodies produce same kind of hormones its amounts that differ Essentialism • Essentialism: being male/female is quality that exists independently of social definitions and constructions of gender • Sex- there is something essential about being man or women- they are 2 separate groups and do not overlap, distinct and fixed • Used to explain social organization of society o Sex is fact o Sex dimorphism: 2 sexes exist- different and programmed to reproduce o Sex is immutable (natural and inevitable) Sex on a Continuum- Intersex • Assumption of essentialist notion of 2 sexes • Intersex: general term used for a variety of conditions in which erson is born without reproductive/sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female/male • Continuum of sex in our society and intersex do not fit into what we classify as male and female • Intersex accounts for 1.7 of all births • Doctors will correct condition at birth: 90% of time infant is identified as female • 1 in 2000 births are ambiguous • 1 in 100 births have some sort of genitalia anomaly Movie: David Reimer • Baby boy during circumsision had penis burned off so they raised him as a girl • Brenda wanted to shave but she was given makeup and nail polish- mother turned blind eye to boyish tendencies • Doctor Money said behaviour was normal of little girl but that was not case • Brenda was teased/ostracized for masculine traits • All writing said experiment succeeded • Teenager she was told- she switched immediately to boy and became David • She was willing to bear physical and emotional pain of surgeries to be a boy • Diamond believed it was more nature than nurture that determines gender • Dr. Diamond and another doctor finally published truth of experiment • Later both twins committed suicide • This proves how important gender is in our society- kinds tautned him because he didn’t fit into our definition • He didn’t have penis to make him man- importance of biology when we speak of male/female Money’s Theory of Gender • He thought gender and sex can be fused together- when you are born you are a blank state and can be socialized to be a girl or boy- gender neutral at birth • Gender identity determined by sex of rearing which is determined by socially acceptable penis/vagina • Gender assignment must be early, definitive and before 2 years of age Medical Management • Number one goal: normalize intersex • Medicine intervenes so quickly in intersex births that it is unknown outside medical circles • Lack of public awareness- because of management of hermpahorditism • Correct intersexuality • Hugh Young: in 1930’s proposed we need to operate on intersex people and could be operated at anytime in life • 50’s and 60’s operated on early because they thought it wouldn’t be successful after primary socialization • Early Intervention: Money proposed operate on young • Normalized situation to parents in medically managing intersex • Purpose is to reduce pain associated with intersex but whos pain is being reduced? o Society? o Intersex person? o Parents? o Doctors? Normalizing intersex ambiguity for parents • Convince parents everybody has potential to be male/female • Diffuse attention away from genitalia- normalize them on aspects other than sex • Imply genitals are ambiguous but not the gender • Focus on social factors influencing gender assignment rather biological ones (Doesn’t matter about genitals it matters how you socialize them) Medical Management as Discipline • Bi power (Foucault)- knowledge developed in sciences enable humans to control body’s sex • Controlling and correcting unruly body • Cultural need to maintain clear distinctions between sexes Harm • Harm begins with medical management not with ambiguity • Subjected to harmful procedures that are unnecessary for health purposes- only social purposes • Medicine become authority on what constitutes sex and gender? Movie: Is it a Boy or a Girl? • Discovery Channel documentary features adults with intersex conditions, scientists and medical professionals discussing experiences with intersex and thoughts about treatment of intersex as social/medical emergency • Explains physiological development of sexual anatomy in sexual anatomy in utero and how intersex conditions come about • Cheryl Chase: born a girl but said she was boy because of oversized clitoris looked like a penis but she had a uterus- later discovered organs and removed clitoris all together • Chromosomes alone do not determine sex • Doctors thought nurture is key- sexuality is flexible • Surgeon in documentary- best to operate on children’s genals before 15 months of age so parets can accept gender assignment • Whose interests are important?—parents • Cheryl learned about condition at 18 but spoke out at 35- so many years of silece suggest us about consequences about not being open with children about intersex conditions Intersexuality a universal phenomenon? • Intersex is not uniform throughout the world • 2 most known types • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) common and occurs in XX infants- genetic recipe gets screwed up- large clitoris- inherited from both parents 1 in 13000 births • 5 alpha reductase deficiency: happens in remote places like Dominican in movie, does not happen as frequently, inherited/hereditary o IN some of these villages it is common and accepted for infants to be born as girls and turned into boys permanently Anatomy and Destiny • Mainstream notion that our biological sex determined our gendered experience- NOT TRUE • Biology offers an easy explanation of gender differences- observable and physical differences • But sex and gender are not pure categories • Russian Doll: influence of biology on humans similar to Russian Doll o Our gender/sex is in center but not the entire story, you need to look at every part of the person because separately you will get a distorted person Movie: Fight to be Male • 37 girls have changed into men in the last 50 years • Their genitalia is a vagina and testes grow in and body becomes masculine • In Dominican they would teach girls domestic jobs into they changed into boy • Mother was proud she changed into boy- something we do not see in our society • North American interviewer show cultural differences- asking questions in ignorant manner • It is recognized now by scientists that is more common to become a girl but not to become a male • Experiment: mother choice of toys depended on gender of baby (boy chose hammer and girl chose doll) • Between birth and age 2 they are able to be girl or boy which became justified for changing boys with little penis’s into girls • They had a huge homophobic vibe- assume everything can be fixd with biology • Biggest problem- with homosexuality didn’t talk about women at all Readings Biology • There are biological differences: Sex differences: anatomical, hormonal, chemical, and physical differences between men and women • But biological differences does not lead men to dominate women • Difference between two cultures is often greater than difference between two genders Socialization • Men/women are different because they are taught to be different- socialized from birth Both Argue • They both assume: 1. Women and men are marked different from each other 2. Assume gender domination is inevitable outcome of gender differences o Biologists: may be because pregnancy make women more vulnerable and need protection or testosterone makes men more aggressive o Psychologists argue men/women taught to devalue women’s experiences, perceptions and abilities We argue against them • Differences between men and women are not as great as differences among them • Gender difference is product of gender inequality • Social Constructionalism: neither gender difference or inequality is inevitable in nature of things or nature of bodies • Nature/nurture positions say gender difference cannot be eliminated • By getting rid of gender difference will increase difference among people and get rid of inequality Making Gender Visible for men/women • Masculinity is invisible and we need to integrate me • Privilege to one group and not another group is invisible and consequences are invisible • Invisibility of privilege: privilege is invisible so they become defensive over it • They never note problems of youth and violence are problems of men and violence • Gender is not spoken about- it becomes invisible- if it was women it would be all about gender though • Men are taught not to get mad but to get even Gender and Power: Hegemonic Masculinity and Emphasized Femininity • Masculinity and femininity varies over cultures, historical time and people • Hegemonic: definition held up as model for all • Hegemonic masculinity: “manly man” against immature, fag, effeminate other • Most ideals made by media • Emphasized Femininity: compliance of gender inequality, accommodating interests/desires of men, adapting to man’s power and stress empathy/nurture Mean Differences • Mean differences: differences in average scores obtained by women and men • There are more differences within women and men than between them • We need to explore why gender difference is so important to us Difference and Domination • Implanetary theory assumes gender is property of Indi duals and component of one’s identity • We become gendered in gendered society • Institutional gender neutrality • Difference and domination are produced/reproduced in social interactions Men and Testosterone • Males account for 50% of population but generate huge portion of violence • Controversy: how much testosterone involved in aggression? • Wrong assumption that differences in levels of aggression among normal people are because of differences in levels of testosterone • Behavioral differences drive hormonal changes- not other way around • Normal levels of testosterone are required for aggression but if a means genetic makeup has higher levels of testosterone than another guy he will not be more aggressive • Testosterone does not cause aggression, it exaggerates the aggression that is already there Biology as Ideology • Until 18 century Western scientists thought there was one sex and now they see women and men as 2 different species • Bodies differ but are transformed by social practices to fit into strict categories of what it means to be male and female • Social Construction Theory: more useful starting with 2 classes and study gender in group patterns of behaviour then look for markers of people likely to enact these behaviours Sports • Competitive sports are constructing masculine identity- outlet for violence and aggression • Sports alter rules for men and women • Women gymnastic equipment geared to slim prepubescent girls • Men gymnastic equipment geared for muscular mature men not prepubescent boys • Speed size and strength are essence of sports which women are naturally inferior to but if sports were geared towards balance, flexibility and timing women would excel • Status of men/women have less to do with physiological abilities and more with cultural meanings • Men are glorified in mass media and women are ignored and if they are in it they are sexualized • Sports constructs men’s bodies to be powerful and women’s bodies to be sexual Social Bodies • Physical differences exist but are meaningless until social practices transform them into social facts • Women’s pelvis can do just as much as men’s shoulders but competitions favor upper body strength • Bathroom problem: combination of clothing, urination, menstruation and childcare add up to more bathroom time for women so it would make sense to have more women’s bathroom or allowing women to use men’s washrooms but it is not allowed • Universal humanness is always male Fausto Sterling- 5 sexes • Studied how common intersexuality it is • It is assumed there is one type of intersex but there are variations • It differs from different populations around the world • Intersex is a socially constructed category- based on biological factors but socially constructed because they are not female/male enough • Intersex is fluid, ideas change over time, not one fixed definition • We as humans (doctors) define them as intersex • Intersex is umbrella term used to define 3 subgroups • 5 Sexes 1. Male 2. Male pseudo-hermaphrodites (merms) 3. True hermaphrodite (herms) 4. Female pseudo hermaphrodites (ferms) 5. Female • True Hermaphrodite: individuals who possess testis and ovary (herm) • Male pseudo hermaphrodite: have testes and some aspects of female genitalia but no ovaries (merms) • Female pseudo hermaphrodite: have ovaries and some aspects of male genitalia but lack testes (ferms) • Young referred to people who had sexual experiences as both men and women as practicing hermaphrodites • Scientific dogma held assumption that without medical care they are doomed with life of misery • Biopower (Foucault) knowledge developed in science has enabled physicians to control sex of human body • IN her ideal world medical intervention for intersex would be far after age of reason and cooperative venture with person doctor and other • Problem: she is proposing we have more categories but still saying we do not fit neatly into these categories which is not true Culture Constructs Gender Differences Lecture • Our gender stems from the culture we live in • Culture: shared ideologies, values and beliefs in our society Anthropology • Anthropology: examines social patterns and practices across cultures, with a special interest in how people live in particular places and how they organize, govern and create meaning • Anthropological research on cultural variations of gender result of biological determinism • Big problem with anthropological research: they study other cultures but usually have ethnocentric views Cultural Determinism • Cultural determinism: Our culture influences our behaviours and beliefs (is. Gender) • Focus on symbols: cultural item in our culture would be Barbie • Symbols can be tangible or intangible (item or behaviour) • Cross-cultural experiments of gender show that biology isn’t destiny! • Gender is fluid (Dominican) • Gender roles: gender expectations, behaviours, how someone is treated when they step outside gender roles Gender is Learened • Found substantial gender differences in 3 cultures 1. Aparesh: stereotypical “feminine” 2. Mundugumar: stereotypically “masculine” 3. Tchambuli: role reversal of Western society’s gender role • Ethnocentric! Judging another culture on your own cultural standards Cultural Universals 1. Gendered division of labour 2. Male domination 3. Gendered sexual customs Gendered Division of Labour • In most societies a gendered DOL exists with “female” tasks and “male” tasks • Men in public sphere doing work and money, women were home making babies • Gendered DOL is strongest predictor of gender inequality in a culture • Functionalist perspective: gendered DOL is seen as necessary to maintain society’s equilibrium • Difficult to think of a job that is actually specific for a man or woman • DOL is bottom line of why we have gender inequality Historical Theories of DOL • Gender division of labour- we can trace roots to idea of materialism, capitalism, warfare and hunting and gathering • Materialism o Marx- sex DOL determines assignment of private property o Engels: emergence of- capitalism, nation- state and nuclear family o When private property was introduced this led to gender inequality because this idea of public sphere and nuclear family emerged at same time (women stayed at home and men went out and work- men were allowed to own private property and women could not- lowered their status) o Gender inequality due to change in economic arrangements o Eleanor Leacock:  Employed Marxist approach: economic arrangements cause gender inequality (capitalism responsible for gender inequality)  Feminist anthropologist  Showed how anthropologists project their “Western” notions of gender into people they study- results into dominance vs. subordination • Warfare o Men seen as more capable of warfare than women o Why? Stronger, les emotional o Result- patrilineal need for males in military and men controlling resources and dominance over men o Women gained power though when men were gone they stepped in to work • Hunting and Gathering Societies o Women did not participate in hunting because of child bearing duties and lack of physical strength o Women stayed at home and men organized social sphere- organized social life Male Domination • What determines women’s status? 1. Gendered DOL 2. Sex/gendered practices Gendered Customs • Gendered rituals: culturally prescribed ender practices • Rituals establish, reaffirm and problematize gender • Gender is a performance • Example of gendered ritual: circumcision • Male Circumcision o Seen as something positive depending on culture o Western- performed at birth o Reasons- symbolic relationship with god, rite of passage, severing ties with mother, become a man, prevent excessive masturbation • Female Circumcision o Genital mutilation o Seen as negative o Purpose: purity and control of pleasure o Occurs in society where men have higher status • Rites of Passages o Coming of age practices start at puberty- celebrating gender differences o Women: period, breasts, baby sitting job, makeup, bat mitzvah, getting married o Men: sex, shave, porn first drink, body hair, deodorant, condoms, drinking, strip club Sexual Diversity • Each culture specifies what is considered acceptable and normal sexual behaviour and what is considered deviant • Homosexuality o Sambia in Papa New Guinea: ritualized homosexuality: young boys are sodomized by older men that occurs in puberty- right out of passage when they become men • Monogamy vs. polygamny o We practice ritualized monogamy and defiant for polygamy o Winston Blackmore- charged for having 26 wives and 60 children • Sex for love, pleasure or reproduction o Different idea of what sex is for different soecities • Pornography o Seen as normal in our society but looked down upon o Normal for guys to watch porn but not women • Sexual Violence o Date rape drug o Men vs. women as sexual initiators • Contraception • Adultery Women and Hijab o Wearing hijab is gendered behaviour- mark difference between genders o Western conception of Hijab: Muslim women oppression and restriction o Muslim conception of Hijab: means of empowerment Readings Margaret Mead • Sex differences are not biological but learned and once learned part of ideology that continues to perpetuate them • Arapesh: typically feminine- passive, emotional, gentle • Mundugamor: typically masculine: aggressive and violent • Tchambuli: men and women switched roles DOL • Functionalism: sex based division of labour necessary for preservation of society • Sex based division of labor is obsolete now • Gender based division of labor is still part of our culture- not part of our physical abilities Male Domination • Marx assigned private property in central agent in division of labor by sex • 3 institutions of Western Soceities 1. Capitalist economy 2. Nation state 3. Nuclear family (result of private property) • Capitalism= private property= lines of inheritance= inheritance over generations of men= nuclear family emerged with monogamous marriage and sexual control Warfare • Men excluded women from fighting force- presence would reduce motvation of soldiers and upset hierarchy • Warfare- female subordination and patrilineal because culture needs core of fathers and sons to carry out military tasks • Some theorists (Descent) stress mother-child bond- men lack tie mother have with children so to achieve connection with next generation men hunt together and bond • Other theorists (Alliance) men organize social life- men turn to women as sex objects Women’s Status • 2 variables determine women’s status o Fathers involvement in child rearing o Women’s control of property after marriage • Relationship between children and parents (cultures where fathers are uninvolved boys oppose mothers and other women and have traits of hyper masculinity: fear and denigrate women as a way to display masculinity • Male dominance is lower when men and women work together in DOL • Male dominance is higher when men control political and ideological resources • Male dominance is higher under colonization- industrialization lower women’s status • Environmental stress exaggerate male dominance Gendered Rituals • Circumcision and (FGM)—female genital mutilation Sexual Diversity • Variation in ways homosexuals are regarded • Papa New Guinea: young boys fellate older boys to become a men • Melanesia: boys are sodomized by older men otherwise they will not grow into a man Sexual Customs and Gender Diversity • One tribe believes sex makes men weaker and find menstrual blood terrifying • Different culture men and women enjoy sex- Marquasan men have 30 or more orgasms a night • Trobrian islanders- women are sexually initiative Cultural Relativism: cultural variety and historical evolution of custom and culture- we may shed customs we no longer need even once they served some societal purpose Hijab • West- we see hijab as women’s oppression and restriction of mobility o After 911 seen as sign of terrorist o Western women see it as oppressed but for Muslim women seeing women in mini skirts is more oppressive • Muslim say it empowers them by 1) making identities distinct 2) control of bodies 3) belonging to wider world • Qur’an: women should lower gaze and guard modesty, not display bauty and ornaments, draw veils over bosoms and not display beauty to draw attention o Women wear it so they can restrict temptation • Women who don’t wear it o Hijab is cultural dress ode rather religious and their modest behaviour is the aspect of hijab o Purpose of it is to not draw attention but in Canada it is not normal so they do draw attention and reduces purpose of it • Women who do wear it o Some believe it diminishes sexual appeal, some wear it for security
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