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Sociology 1020 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Premarital Sex, Grammatical Gender, Nuclear Family

Course Code
SOC 1020
Kim Luton
Study Guide

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Transgendered: those who
includes aspects of both genders.
Transvestite, is a common term for
a cross-dresser and is applied more
often to males than females.
Transsexuals, automatically are
one sex, but feel like and want to
be treated as a member of the
other sex. So inconsistent are their
gender identity and their sex that
some may seek medical procedures
to change their sex.
Chapter 7: Gender Relations
Biological and Social Determinism
Nurture implies a possibility of change, nature is m ore fixed-and how the weight assigned to
one factor or the other varies with the specific behaviour being explained.
Biology and social effects affect the gender gap (i.e., the likelihood of a man outliving a woman
and vice versa)
Numeracy and Literacy Differences
Gender imbalances in postsecondary education are well documented.
Female students are overrepresented in the humanities and social sciences while male
students are the majority in mathematics, technology and sciences
Growing gender differences in literacy: some think that the greater physical activity among
boys (biological factor?) discourages parents from reading to them as often as they do to girls
(a social factor).
Girls told that they may not do well on a math test actually do less well, while boys given the
same message do better, perhaps in an “I’ll show you” fashion.
Positive expectations thus may be ever more important for girls than for boys
Different brain structures
Sex and Gender: Some definitions
Sex and gender are not the same
A person’s sex is a biological trait characterized by the XX chromosomes and estrogen for a
female and the XY chromosomes and testosterone for a
Gender is a social construct based on definitions of
masculinity and femininity and consisting largely of the
norms and expectations that encourage people to
behave in a “Sex-appropriate” manner
learning masculine and feminine gender roles occurs
early in the socialization process and the specific content
of that learning varies across cultures over time
Gender identity is the perception, developed probably
by age three, of oneself as male or female. It is not to be
confused with sexual orientation, and is not necessarily
consistent with a person’s sex.
Gendered order is a macro-level concept and refers not to individuals but to social structure. It
includes gendered norms, gendered roles, and a gendered ideology, which together make
social life gendered, directing how males and females should act. Its biggest influence is to
create a gendered division of labour in which males and females, in both the unpaid and
paid labour arenas, tend to act “gender-appropriately”
Gender roles are socially created and then learned; people are not born with them
Major Theoretical Perspectives on gender
Structural Functionalism
Gender is just another of the social conventions that maintain order and promote social
Public realm: paid labour and the instrumental tasks needed for survival; the domain of men
in functionalist thought
Rationality is preferred over emotionality
In the traditional functional argument, women are delegated to the private realm of the home,
providing unpaid domestic labour and responsible for expressive tasks like nurturing and

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-Extent to which language
communicates cultural values that
in turn may affect behaviour.
-What is the role of language in
the ideology of gender inequality?
-“Man and wife”: does this
encourage differential treatment
of men and women?
providing emotional support
The private sphere is valued less than the public one, and its inhabitants are generally
dependent on inhabitants of the public realm
Women, especially work a double shift as paid employees and unpaid homemakers
Gender differences are relative, not absolute
The symbolic interactionist perspective
See the world as socially constructed and changeable
Definitions of masculinity and femininity, gender roles, and gender norms are all negotiable
Brown and Gilligan argued that children learn gendered behaviour through a variety of
processes, such as imitating others and receiving
rewards and punishments for behaviour defined as
gender-appropriate or inappropriate
Gender is more a product of social and cultural, rather
than biological influences
Parents, siblings, peers, schools, religion and the mass
media and the workplace all play roles in contributing to
gendered order
Most behaviour is affected by what is defined as gender-
appropriate, from the clothes worn, to more serious matters like the amount of food eaten, to
life altering issues of safety, choice of occupation and parental responsibilities
Toys and clothes in stores give off subtle and not-so subtle messages about gender
Gender is really a continuum rather than a duality, from very masculine, through androgyny
(blending both masculine and feminine), to very feminine
A Marxist conflict perspective
Marxists put primary emphasis on economic forces
View the economy as the driving force in society, influencing such things as religion , the law
and communications
Neither men nor women possessed the means of production and each was in fact like
property: workers of the capitalists, wives of their husbands
“cult of domesticity” reinforced the earlier biologically constructed beliefs about pregnancy and
childbearing, strengthening the position that men and women have different innate interests
and capabilities
Feminist perspectives
Patriarchy: a system in which the traits associated with men are valued more than those
associated with women
This gives men an unearned privilege relative to women
Liberal feminism: argues that gender inequality can be remedied by giving women greater
Socialist feminism: agrees that patriarchy must be eradicated, but methodically speaking,
seeks a longer casual chain
Radical feminism: has one goal, the abolition of male supremacy and two connected focuses:
biological and reproduction and paid labour
Body Image
Girls who are prone to obesity and those who are subject to repeated negative comments
concerned their shape, weight and eating habits are especially vulnerable to eating disorders,
demonstrating a combination of biological and social factors
Boys suffer eating disorders much less frequently, and are usually trying to gain weight
Magazines and mass media depict unrealistic and unattainable body images; allows for an

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individual to reflect negatively on their body type and body image
As Marx would put it, are women just additional victims of capitalist exploitation, a class in
themselves, but not for themselves?
Not meeting these impossible to achieve norms lead not only to punishing diets and excessive
exercise, but also to lower-self esteem problems and even suicide
Those who fail in attempts to alter their bodies suffer blame and guilt, perceiving that they did
not buy the right stuff or try hard enough
Objectification is a deeper problem and involves viewing a person as an object, usually a
sexual object
In television ads, revealing clothes are substituted for an illustration of the merits of the product
Loudest criticism arises when objectification occurs in the workplace, interfering with women’s
achievements there
The gendered wage gap
Women are more often enrolled in social science and commerce, and when in science, they
are likely to choose biology.
The gender gap is greater in math, engineering and the physical sciences
Both the greater tendency for women to avoid certain types of paid work and to feel a greater
responsibility for the unpaid work and to feel a greater responsibility for the unpaid work of the
home are part of what was earlier called a gendered division of labour
The unpaid work includes wifework: meeting a husband’s sexual, physical and emotional
needs; motherwork, fulfilling the emotional and physical needs of children and housework, care
of the home, including cleaning, shopping, cooking and laundry
The unequal division of labour reinforces the tendency for women to take the “second” job in
the family, the one that, although necessary, must be flexible enough to accommodate the
There is much poverty among older women, especially among widows who must survive on
the reduced pensions that follow a spouse’s death
Experiencing Violence
Spousal abuse, an early attempt at gender-neutral language
Some research found that abuse is an equal-opportunity problem
Sexism is the appropriate label only if men’s experiences are different of when the average
observer would feel that the experience is really not innocent
The gender gap is closing in respect to things like pay, job tenure and household
This is called convergence
Convergence was driven primarily by changing patterns of marriage as including both career
and home and secondarily by men accepting a share of household responsibilities
The wage gap is closing. But feminism and gender consciousness in general, has been
disproportionately a white, middle-class, urban social movement
Idea that within variation is greater than between variation; tempers any tendencies to
dichotomize the sexes
Chapter 10: Families
Families are the social arena in which most people spend most of their lives
As one of the institutions of society, families affect and are affected by other social institutions.
i.e., the desire to combine work and child-raising has been partly responsible for the increase
in part time work and other forms of non-standard work in a 24 hour economy
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