Kine 1000- Finals Study Notes
Sex and Gender
The Egg and the Sperm: How science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-
Why do we care so much about sex and gender?
- 50% of the population are women and if something happens in society on sex and
gender issues, at least we should understand it. At least we should understand what the
cause is and how it all started, about women being below when it comes to science,
sports, jobs. So many areas in society where women is being abused.
- Sport pages have decided to acknowledge women in sport in the newspaper. They did
this because of the Olympics. This is because we are beginning to value our Canadian
identity. It will help our Canadian identity. At the Olympics when we tail the results it tells
us the number of gold medals but doesn’t tell us who got it. Whether a male or female
win the gold medal is secondary to the national pride of how many medals they win.
- Stereotypes- women are not good at science, yet a lot of females major in science.
- People thought that women did not have the DNA and the genetics to be good scientists.
But this is proved wrong. Males were the ones who created this stereotype.
Emily Martin- an anthropologist
- “The picture of egg and sperm drawn in popular culture as well as scientific accounts of
reproductive biology relies on the stereotypes central to our cultural definitions of male
- The stereotypes imply not only that female biological processes are less worthy than
men, but also that women are less worthy than men.
Comparison: Sperm and Egg:
o Winner( the one who makes it)
o Gutsy - Egg
o Compensated with the strongest sperm
o Complete once the sperm enters her
o Useless until a sperm gives meaning to her existence
- Example in society: women feel that unless they get married, they are incomplete. That
they need a male beside them to feel fulfilled.
The Egg and the Sperm:
- “When it comes to the fertilization, biologists have got it all wrong. The egg is no passive
lady-in-waiting.”- David H. Freedman.
Traditional Version of Fertilization:
- “For decades, biologists have been portraying the sperm as intrepid warrior battling their
way to an aging, passive egg that can do little but await the sturdy victor’s final, bold
plunge.”- David Freedman.
A more accurate version!
- “…a wasteful huge swarm of sperm weakly flops along, its members bumping into walls
and flailing aimlessly through thick strands of mucus. Eventually, through sheer odds of
pinball- like bouncing more than anything else, a few sperm end up close to an egg. As
they mill around, the egg selects one and reels it in, pinning down in spite of its effort to
escape. It’s no contest really. The gigantic, hardy egg yanks this tiny sperm inside, distils
out the chromosomes, and sets out to become an embryo.”- David Freedman.
- Egg plays a more active role by grabbing the sperm in which is lost.
- “Scared” sperms in Wood Allen’s movie “Everything you Always Wanted to Know about
Sex but were afraid to Ask”
- An atypical representation of sperms.
Gender and Sex I
Woody Allen continued:
- Portrayed sperms as the scared one, worrying about what would happen if they went
- This contradicts the image of the brave and strong sperm. - One of the sperm in the movie was scared.
Male- female Representations:
- It is clear to Martin that our “biological notions of what eggs and sperm do are more the
result of stereotypical ideas of male and female social roles rather than scientific facts”.
- “Human sperms ‘penetrates’ an egg”- but this is not what the sperm does, but it is what
the egg does.
- Except Woody Allen’s movie, most biology texts, popular culture and even medical
journals Martin reviewed for her article, depicted an incredible male bias in describing
the reproduction process.
Amazing productivity or waste?
- The incredible male production of some 200 million sperms every hour- while some
biology text complains about the waste of the 2 million immature eggs present in human
female at birth. Martin wonders why the male’s vast production is not seen as wasteful.
New Research, old imagery
- The new research does no reach us.
- We need to understand the way in which cultural content in scientific descriptions
changes as biological discoveries unfold and whether that cultural content is solidly
entrenches or easily changed.”
- We all have a really hard time to adapt to new knowledge.
John Hopkins University lab:
- In 1984, a group of scientists at this university discovered that the “egg traps the sperm
and adheres to it so tightly that the sperm’s head is forced to lie flat against the surface
of the zona...”
It took 3 years…
“…for researchers to conceptually accept the new relationship between the egg and the sperm.
They began to describe the “zona” (the inner vestments of the egg) as an aggressive sperm
Social implications of new paradigm…
- “Women as a dangerous and aggressive threat.”
- The femme fatale syndrome, women who victimize men is a difficult concept for out
- What about funding for further research?
What do scientists do with this new knowledge? - “They begin to describe the egg and sperm in different, but no less damaging terms”-
- In fact, the only difference was that “sperms were now seen as performing actions
(attacks, binds, penetrates, and enters weakly”.
Why so much emphasis on competition?
- If the approach by science so far has been one of the “battle of the sexes,” that is, the
attempt to find a winner in the reproductive process, why has it been so difficult to accept
that there is a cooperation at play when reproducing?
- This is because one group historically have more power than another, and when you
have had power, you do not want to lose that power.
- Sperms cooperate to reach the egg since they have a real hard time making their way
through the mucus.
- The egg on the other hand, only one matures each month, and the one out in front
suppresses the maturation of all the others. The egg is the real competitive loner.
- Sperms help each other, while the egg competes with each other.
Social expectations or science?
- “The concept of having a winner in the biological battle is absurd considering both sexes
need each other for continuation of the species,” wrote A. Sheets in her “Has Feminism
Changed Science? A Biological Perspective.”
- We need each other less and less in terms of reproduction because of new technology.
We would need a women and a lab.
Biology and women:
- More women are entering biology/sciences: would that change the male bias in science?
- Some of the strongest women who oppose women rights are the most successful ones.
- They put aside their secondary roles and ignoring all the challenges that women have to
- Successful women ignore what other women have to go through, because they have
Potential for change?
- “Unlikely”, says Martin. Women are no less guilty in reproducing the male bias.
- Scientific training involves a rigorous socialization process that doesn’t allow for different
perspectives. It is hard to say that women biologists are any less guilt in reproducing
these bias images than men. - The jobless rate is over 10% in the GPA.
Margaret Thatcher: the prime minister of England
- If we look into women entering politics and sports, we will notice that they very seldom
have advanced an agenda of changes to help discrimination and/or injustice faced by
those groups they belong to…because?
- She was ruthless. Having women in power doesn’t necessarily change things, we need
good human beings whether a man or a women, a different understanding of the world
and society to be able to change the world.
- Only by modifying the way in which people uncover the “facts” about gender, race, and
class can humanity hope to achieve equality in these areas. Therefore, it is critical that
inquiring scholars and scientists question the motivations of science and its relationship
with society”- A. Sheets.
- Only ignoring society can perpetuate things further and further.
Heterosexuality- Sexuality and Heteronormativity in Sport- Patrick Keleher
- “Every individual should have the right to enjoy their bodies through physical activity.”
- Sexuality can be a barrier to participation and prevent sexual minorities from enjoying
Why do we have sex?
- Reproduction, pleasure, creates intimate bond between two people, for money, or for
work, peer pressure, to feel good about ourselves, to develop an identity.
“Natural” and “Normal”:
- Michel Foucault
“telling” about sexuality produces discourse or “truths” about sexuality.
• “truths” are produced based on knowledge that come together
around particular norms.
• “truth” is mobilized in relations of power in ways that affect how
bodies and institutions are produced.
Is a method of organizing individuals within knowledge/power
relationships. (Self) surveillance ensures compliance with regulatory norms- we want to
make sure to do what’s expected of us, we monitor ourselves to behave
in ways which are natural and normal.
Linear model of sex/gender/ sexuality
o Sex- biological sex- two sexes.
o Gender- masculinity/femininity, testosterone/estrogen.
o Sexuality- heterosexuality.
- Men and women should desire each other as sexual partners- normal, everything
besides that is abnormal.
- “Heterosexual Matrix”- Judith Butler
- “Compulsory Heterosexuality”- Adrienne Rich
- Gender is not a product of our biology. Gender is socially produce.
- There are more than two sexes-
o Intersex- cannot distinguish between male/female- could be due to hormones or
sexual organs- between 1.6% and 4% of the population.
- We create social category that produces only 2 sexes.
- Butler says:
o Sex, gender, and sexuality are all linked by normative ideals.
o Those normative ideals fuse sex, gender, sexual practice together under the
guise that those normative standards are natural.
o “Compulsory heterosexuality” produces normative sexualities- intelligible vs.
o Those who diverge from gender norms “trouble” the stability of the gender order
and call its logic into question.
o We think about why they don’t fit into the model.
o Power regimes use this model to advance their own ideas about sexuality. These
ideas are mobilized within relations of power to advance particular ideas about
o The ones that maintains the linear mode are intelligible.
Homophobia: fear of or discrimination against homosexuality/homosexuals/sexual minorities.
Heterosexism: favouring heterosexuals over other sexualities. Heteronormativity: heterosexuality is the only natural and normal sexuality, they are privileged
over others, compulsory/universal.
- Extends to the practices and institutions that support and promote heterosexuality as
normal and natural.
- Education/school, government (marriages), religion (churches), sport- practices and
institutions which supports and promotes heterosexuality as normal and natural.
Why is this important?
- There are some very real beliefs ideas and stereotypes about sexual minorities.
o Deviant, abnormal, sick, promiscuous, effeminate or overly mannish.
o Those beliefs have consequences.
- Sexuality is everywhere, once we think about it we begin to see it everywhere in all
- “We need to think about “the ways in which sexuality can become embedded in any and
every topic constituted as an object for research…a person cannot “just” study sexuality
because sexuality is never separate from history, class, race or a host of other social
relation…once she/he begins paying attention to sexuality, social issues never appear in
quite the same light.”- Weston, 2011.
- Sexuality is connect to other social conditions, not just by itself.
Sex- age, class, social
Sexuality- religion, ethnicity, race
Gender- historical, cultural
- Sex, sexuality, and gender are all interlinked.
- Social meanings to biological characteristics. We need to think of sexuality as socially
constructed instead of biological imperative.
- Some groups are privileged and some groups are marginalized by the way we think
Thinking about sexuality:
- How does heterosexuality shape our social experiences and social institutions?
o We often under-theorize the ways heterosexuality produces and enforces
- What are the mechanism by which heteronormativity is promoted/maintained?
o Challenge the notion of a single heterosexuality.
o Critique how some sexual minorities reproduce heteronormativity themselves=
homonormativity. Sexualities and sexual minorities
- When we speak about sexuality in terms of homosexual and heterosexual or gay and
o Create a binary
o Construct a hierarchy
o Privilege some sexual practices and marginalize others
o Sexualities exist on a continuum
Sexualities not Sexuality:
- Are diverse and heterogeneous
- Sexual minorities vary in:
- Meanings and practices are fluid
o Change over time
o Change within given contexts
- Shifting status
o Celebrated- normalized- condemned.
Sexuality Heteronormativity II- Sport and Homophobia
Why sexuality in sport?
- Sport is highly regulated around sexuality.
- Sexualities are constituted through participation in sport.
o Some sexualities are “unintelligible” within traditional sporting codes and
- Sport reproduces: homophobia, heterosexism, and heteronormativity but also
- Athletes become enforcers of codes of masculinity and homonormativity.
Homophobia in Men’s sport:
- Discrimination occurs in 3 ways:
o Coming out o Segmented identities
o Homophobia discourse
Overt vs. Subtle:
- Sport not always overtly homophobic.
- Not violence and harassment, but language and silencing.
Intent vs. effect
- Segmented identities- keeping their sexual identities separate from their identity as an
- Silencing- don’t talk about issues regarding sexual minorities.
- Continuous use of “faggot”, “you’re so gay”, becomes normalized in sport society.
Gay Men and Consent:
- Gay male paradox- gay men:
o Reproduce hegemonic masculinity and homophobia.
o Say sport is an accepting environment
o Discount prevalence of discrimination
o Participation in sexist/homophobic discourse
Homophobia in Women’s Sport:
o Re: masculinity
o Over- conformity to femininity
- Heterosexy image
- Male coaches
- Attacks on lesbianism
- Internalization of sexism and homophobia. - Shame and discomfort around issue.
- Why don’t women challenge homophobia:
o Sexual identity is personal/private
o Visibility threatens women’s sport progress
o Bad role models/sexual predators
- Inhibits close bonds between women in sport.
- Diverts attention from other questions.
- Diverts attention from other questions about women’s sport.
- Why are strong female athletes so threatening to patriarchal hierarchy?
- Institutional policies
- Allies (Ben Cohen- Stand Up Foundation)
- Pressure tactics
- Fundamental principles of olympism
- 6. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or person on grounds of race,
religion, politics, gender, or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic
Sport Remains Homophobic:
- Deeply rooted sporting masculinity produce hegemonic masculinity and
Regulatory practices constrain sexual minorities:
- Conform to hegemonic masculinity
- Reject sport
Integration vs. segregation
Homophobia II- Sexuality and Heteronormativity
- “Sochi mayor claims there are no gay people in Sochi”
Pope on homosexuals: “Who am I to judge?” - Even the leader of the Catholic Church is being cautious about his position (not sure
about the church as a while) regarding homosexuals.
Re/Orientation: TSN examines changing culture of homophobia
- The culture of casual homophobia.
- A year ago, on January 28 , Chris Culliver, 49ers cornerback and preparing to play the
Super Bowl, wouldn’t accept openly gay 49er player. He would not welcome a gay
Some other comments…
- Tim Hardaway: “It’s not right to let the gays and lesbians have equal rights here…”
- This is one of the classical passages of the West Wing where President Bartlet quoted
the Bible to show how outdated and inapplicable some of the Biblical ideas and/or
penalties are in today’s world.
What were the beliefs and practices 700 years ago that we would find shameful today?
- Slavery, violence, wars, women’s treatment, flat earth, earth as the centre of the
What are beliefs and practices today that would appal us 100 years from now?
- Homophobia, inequality, our indifference to poverty, the way we treat animals we eat, our
indifference to climate change, the way we treat sexual minorities, how we pay way
more to a professional athlete than a brain surgeon or a teacher?
Homophobia in sports:
- Examining Homophobia in Sports and News media by Austin Calhoun Kinesiology
- Ellen DeGeneres- Openly Gay Rugby star Gareth Thomas.
Homophobia in sport II: Esera Tualo- Gay in the NFL
- Inside sport a look at gay sportsmen around the world
The Canadian Human Rights Act:
- 1978- Outlaws discrimination in employment and in the delivery of goods and services
on eleven grounds: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital
status, family status, pardoned conviction, disability, and sexual orientation. Violence (Pain) and Sport
200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes
- Statistics comes to life when Swedish academic superstar Hans Rosling geographically
illustrates global development over the last 200 years.
- He predicts that the gap between the rich of the poor with eventually decrease and that
the poor countries will eventually reach up to the rich.
- Maelle Ricker, Canadian Olympian and defending Olympic champion is hurt.
- “While the timing of this injury is very unfortunate, we know that Maelle is an incredibly
resilient athlete that has battled back from several injuries over her career to accomplish
great things for Canada” said Steven Hills, Executive Director of Canada Snowboard.
Sport and War: Closed Cousins
- Hockey= some coaches comparing junior hockey to gang activity.
- Football=92% of NFL players will be hurt, reported a study covering three seasons.
Super Bowl and the Army
Grey cup and the Canadian Forces
- Why only certain ideological ideas are promoted through sports?
o Team spirits- you protect my back and I protect yours.
o Group of people who you are comfortable with and can protect you.
- “Sport is the human activity closest to war that isn’t lethal.”- Ronald Reagan, 1981.
- Violent behavior develops as a result of complex interactions between neurobiological
(nature) and environmental factors (nurture).
- Although we still do not fully know how it operates and how they are connected.
- What we know is that nature can be tamed by nurture.
Legitimation of Violence:
- “No single image of violence, however brutal can be declared a direct incitement to
assault on its own.” However the sum of images, the reward system, and glorification of
violence via those images, plays a significant role in the acceptance of violence in
- “Far from unwanted, anomalous, and episodic problem in sport, violence is actually
central to it…” - Considering that the victims of male violence are mostly men, in dealing with violence,
men have a lot to gain.
Pain and Sports- (Violence) Pain and Sport
- Editorial note in the Maclean’s magazine calling attention to the amount of damage
football has been causing to its participants and asking what to do?
Violence leading to Pain:
- Doug Richards (sport medicine doctor)- talks about how he doesn’t want his grandson to
go into sport but not competitive sport because of all the injuries associated with them.
- Pain has meaning.
- The pain we feel changes not only as a sensory experience (the degree of pain) but also
how we perceive it and how it affects us.
Why do the NFL compensate their former players?
- The NFL compensated their players 760 million dollars in order to destroy their medical
- Violence is intentional, injuries are unintentional.
- The recollection of events that we experience. This narrative is done with little filters. It is
just the story with us as protagonists.
- It is specific to each one of us.
- In a nutshell, how we comprehend the things that we have experienced based on current
knowledge and understandings.
- Semantic memory is general knowledge learned through education and culture.
- Episodic memory is closely connected to autobiographical memory and latest studies
show that autobiographical memory is “based on a combination of episodic and
- Athletes learn unique ways of relating to pain. In the context of sport, pain seems to
reflect a culture that rewards and glorifies it reinforcing a gender identity.
Types of pain:
- Naming pain o One we began to try a proper adjective for the pain suffered, these athletes came
out with many of them: sharp, shooting, intense, burning, hot, scalding, searing.
All these words reflect our understanding of the world (context).
- Unspeakable pain
o The inability to articulate pain so you can be satisfied you are conveying the right
message and others can understand what you’re feeling. As many in the
experiment found out, they could not properly articulate and achieve both goals.
o Pain was “unsharable.”
o Fortunately, “over time, and under certain conditions”, Sparkles and Smith,
“physical pain can find a voice, and when it does it begins to tell a story.”
- Welcomed pain
o Pain means being alive, hope to get better.
- Locked pain
o Feeling lonely and unable to escape.
- Hidden pain
o Not mentioning the pain to anyone.
- Athletes are taught to normalize pain by ignoring, masking, hiding it.
- Athletes, being as obedient as they have been taught, follow orders and expectations
- Continuous conflict: athletic therapists and doctors versus coaches.
Culture of Pain:
- In sport, we have glorified and rewarded violence and pain.
- Alvin Williams, a guard for the Raptors in the early 2000, often played injured and he
was widely praised for it. He finished his career after playing only 2 full seasons in the
So, where are we?
- Violence is not our destiny, we have developed some very successful tools to deal with
violence in our “civilized” societies. For the most part, we are way les violent than not
long ago. (Steven Pinker: “The surprising decline in violence.” Ted talks.
“So, what else do you do?”
- “There is nothing else to be done as long as fans stand and cheer.” - “We are in love with football players, with their courage and grit, and nothing else-neither
consideration of science nor those of morality- can compete with the destructive power
of that love.”- Malcom Gladwell.
Race and Racism Part I: Successes and Failures of Multiculturalism
- Hegemony (A.Gramsci)
o Taking up___ist notions as ‘common sense’
o Consenting to our own oppression.
- How is my privilege connected to someone else’s oppression? (P.Hill Collins)
- How does racism manifest in our interactions? In our social structures? In our culture?
- How can we imagine sport otherwise?
Race is a social construction- not real, we make It seem natural and given.
- Risk in saying race does not exist- impacts people’s identity, denies people’s histories
and obstacles that they overcome.
- If race doesn’t exist, then we begin to not help and listen to minorities.
- Identity is “not a mere phantasm either. It is something- not a mere trick of the
imagination. It has histories-and histories have their real, material and symbolic effects”-
Race as given:
- Physiological variations and commonalities among us (E.g. organ donation).
- E.g., Historically and cultural specific classifications:
o 1910 Virgina: less than 1/16 “Negro blood”= ‘white’
o In 1924: one single drop of “Negro blood”= ‘black’
- Racial classification systems are too simplistic.
- Racial classification systems are socially constructed.
What is ‘Race’?
- A group of individuals who share genetically transmitted traits. These traits are imbued
with meanings that (re)produce unequal power relations.
- Classification (hierarchizing) of people based on false assumptions that physical
differences are related to intellectual, moral, or cultural superiority.
- 6 genes that accounts for our skin colour, have come to define so much of our being. Effects of racism:
- Violence, discrimination, privilege, racism.
Racism- assumption that other groups besides ourselves are inferior, because of physical
characteristics. It is something that is institutional, policies, processes and practices.
Race is a social construction:
- Traditional racial categories are based on social meanings given to combinations of
physical differences and similarities.
- Race is something we do to each other, it has nothing to do with what our DNA does to
us.- Sylvia Spengler.
- Assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours, that manifest in hatred or contempt for
individuals who have physical characteristics that are different from ourselves, and the
institutional policies, processes, and practices that flow from those views (Henry&Tator,
- “Those oriental people work like dogs…They’re slowly taking over.”
Intent versus Effect:
- “That was not my intention” (Rob Ford).
- “…The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian
communities and were not meant to offend anyone.” (Kobe Bryant).
Racism and humour
- Dave Chapelle left comedy because he realized there was a consequence to his skits.
So he gave up because he didn’t want to do this anymore.
- Russell Peters just wanted to make a lot of people laugh.
Intent vs. Effect:
- Effect of racism:
o Health effects:
Mental health: stress from experiencing racism and discrimination.
Researchers found signs of accelerated aging at the cellular level among
African American men who reported being heavily discriminated against,
due to their race and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes.
- BiDil- The first treatment specifically for African Americans with heart failures. Forms of Racism:
- Individual racism: “The attitude, belief, or opinion that one’s own racial group has
superior values, customs, and norm and, conversely, that other racial groups possess
inferior traits and attributes.”- Henry&Tator, 2005.
o Everyday racism
- Institutional or Systemic Racism.
- Cultural or Ideological racism.
- Everyday racism: small ways in which racism is experienced by people of colour in their
interaction with the dominant white group. It is expressed through glances, gestures,
forms of speech, and physical movement.
- Institutional- related to policies, practices, and procedures of various institutions.
- Systemic- laws, rules, and norms which form fabric or social system, results in unequal
distribution of resources and rewards.
- Cultural and ideological racism-
o A set of values and ideas th