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ANTH 2170 Final: Final Test Notes

Course Code
ANTH 2170
Arne Steinforth
Study Guide

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The body: the body is a reference point about the discourse about sex and gender. The body can be defined outside strictly
biological, and related to all kinds of meanings that are symbolic in nature – culturally related. (Symbolic meanings as another
entity or technical function recognized by science which separates the body into parts, body machine, genetics, body and cell)
Constructing sex and gender: If gender (feminine/masculine) is a social category and sex (male and female) is a biological
category, but Biology is a social construction then Sex = social category = gender. The construct called sex is as culturally
construed as gender, there is no distinction between sex and gender.
The Biomedical body: Even in biology of the body in science we see constructions of gender. Female = egg: passive, weak,
helpless, and powerless. Male = sperm: Active, strong, aggressive, and powerful.
The Egg and the sperm:
-science presents the egg and the sperm as presenting themselves as purely biological yet stuff about them is gain with
specific definable social contexts.
-exposes gender stereotypes that tend to hide in scientific language of biology, making the female passive and weak, and
men a aggressive and strong reinforcing gender roles.
Human ‘Nature’:
Nature vs. nature debate: Leading us to generalizations of gender roles or how men or women are supposed to act in accordance
to human nature. The reduction of complex social actions narrowed down to the most basic “man the hunter”, “women the
gather”. Does not take complexities into consideration.
Critiquing sex as female vs. male: non-ambiguous binary, biological determinism, behavioral prescriptiveness etc. Look at how
thing are not working out because many people fall outside these binaries, as well as looking at how sex defines socially (roles).
Genetics basis of: male identity, pedophilia etc. How does society play a role in constructing specially male or female identities
and roles as well as biological/genetic factor.
Evolution of Gender and difference: Analysis of gender assumptions & why they are problematic, theories contain assumptions
about gender or lack of evidence.
Bio power by Foucault: controlling life by controlling bodies relational definitions of power. Vs. Marx’s social hierarchy power –
structural power top down approach)
Panopticon: Foucault’s metaphorical ideal of power and its relationship. (People who live in the cells are watched from the tower,
observed 24/7, modify their behavior because they are being watched. Even they do not know for sure if they are being watched.
Giving into a power that is not happening directly but is still there.
Model: of society shapes human actions. Structure and agency shapes society, and human action shapes society.
Biopower: Argues that digital media and publicity are important institutions of contemporary bio politics and governmentality
and help to unconsciously regulate bodies.
Reproduction: Not just looked at as a medical process. A lot of cultural and social transitions. Different ideas surrounding birth
in different ways or countries makes a birth culture. Can be argued it is not a medical but when it is, it can be seen as reinforcing
gender roles for females as weak etc. Looking at natural birth as a critique. (Social transition, birth cultures, medicalization of
birth, gender roles in obstetrics, infertility, ‘natural birth’, politics of reproduction, technologies)
Gendered Spheres: Having the power of these spheres, power over one’s own body & reproduction, TBA’s, taboo &
menstruation, abortion and personhood: based on social categories that allocate a degree of personhood (sex, age, race)
Gender Expectations: Argues that natural birth are a culture that come with gender expectations about women’s bodies as being
naturally knowing
Nuclear & Extended Family:
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Embodiment: Embodiment and Disciplined Bodies. What do to or not to do with your body
The body: Look at how society is attempted to be controlled by society. See the body as 3 bodies (individual: sense of lived
experience of the body-self, social body: representational uses of the body as natural symbol to think about natural, society, and
culture, body politic: as the focus of larger political processes – power and control over bodies.)
Embodiment: All kinds of social factors can be looked at as being embodied in the person, experiences are internalized and
experienced in the body. Social influences impact the physical body and concerns the way people inhabit their bodies.
How does Foucault’s concept of power tie into embodiment?
Hyper masculinity in the west: Gender based ideology of exaggerated beliefs about what it is meant to be a man.
-Leaves a large opening for cultural specification.
-Implies specific ideas about: Toughness and emotional self-control (anger as only male emotion, anything else seen as
a weakness), Violence (aggression as acceptable expression of masculine power and dominance), Danger: (survival in
dangerous situations as tests and proof of manliness), Women and sexuality (sex with a woman as a source of male
power and female submission).
Hyper femininity in the west: Exaggerated adherence to stereotypical female gender roles.
-Implying specific ideas about: Importance of relationships with (high status) male partners for own status, Strategic use
of sexuality: in building and maintaining relationship, Use of manipulation and or seduction within relationships,
preference for stereotypically male behavior in partners, increased tolerance for sexual coercion within relationships.
-Both risk factor for or potential consequence of sexual aggression or victimization.
Sites of Hyper Gender
-Sports, homophobia, and gendered hierarchies (Opplinger 2004) Quote:
-Military: A very male dominated sphere. Eternal Manhood: (Morgan 2007) Quote: Could be a setting that strongly
influences masculine qualities whereas female qualities are seen as unacceptable, but somehow have to fit in within the
-Advertisement: Do more then sell clothes. Rather they are depicting men as tough and violent towards women or male
domination. Presents behavioral norms for men and women. Film industry: Movie masculinity and the rejection of
femininity (Ben-zeev 2012) Quote
Complementary Gender roles: My hypothesis stresses a common emotional/relational configuration for women that would be the
(partial) opposite and therefore complement of hyper masculinity. Hyper-feminine women would suppress anger on the one hand,
and act of fear of being victims, on the other.
Machismo and Marianismo:
Symbiotic gender relationships? Marianismo as…
-Taking cues from Christian worship of Mary as Mater Dolorsa
-Picturing female subjects as semi-divine, morally superior and spiritually stronger than males.
-Based on the idea of females attaining spiritual status through ‘test’ of forbearance and abnegation by male-inflicted
suffering, rendering men’s wickedness a precondition of female superior status.
Debunking Marianismo:
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Critiquing the concept of Marianismo in Guatemala as…
-Allegedly complementing machismo by passive response to male irresponsibility, thus reinforcing macho identities.
-Allegedly granting positive female gender role and feminine power over domestic realm (sexual balance of power)
-Thereby blaming the victim, suggesting acceptance of male callousness for benefit of increased female domestic status.
Fear of Emasculation:
Homophobia and Freud’s Castration Anxiety? (mascia-lees)
-Oppositional manhood as requiring men to repudiate allegedly feminine personality traits
-Role of male sissy – associated with male homosexuality.
-Mens willingness to fight in order to feel manly rejects homosexuality as rooted in fear of own unmanliness.
Reading: Homophobia, hyper-masculinity and the US black church” … Elijah Ward.
Desire and Morality:
Re-conceptualizing sexuality (Foucault)
-Historical product o specific cultural discourse, connected to power (Christianity: sin & confession; Medicine: Bio-
-Foucault points out that we should look at sexuality as first and foremost a mode of though “though constitutes its own
object and not the other way around”
-linked with but not originated from sexuality as practice
-Not based on allegedly pre-existing sexual instinct.
Hermeneutics of Desire: Christian sexual morality (Foucault) as…
-Setting sexual practices apart from any other kind of human activity, as specific object of moral discourse.
-Defined by specific juridical codes. creating absolute and morally binding division between permitted and forbidden
sexual acts (regardless of context), we are looking at a situation that is defined as morally representable.
-Exposing, codifying, and sanctioning desire while maintaining ideal of the “self-renunciation and a purity whose model
was to be sought in virginity”
Deconstruction of Sexuality:
Sexuality as…
-Biologically predefined given (influence model) or as socially constructed system of meaning (constructionist)… Also
goes back to the nature vs. nature debate that we discussed in first term.
Margret Mead
-Book: Coming of Age in Samoa (Nature vs. Nature is the argument she is engaging with) she argues:
-Transitioning from childhood to adulthood is very smooth because homogeneous society provides solid gender role
models (no hard choices between conflicting values) reducing distress.
-non-secretive relationship to human realities of sex, birth, bodily functions or death (no uncertainties, sexual neuroses)
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