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Social Science
SOSC 1185
Lee Wiggins

1. In a male dominated sex/gender binary system, women‟s bodies become „contested terrain‟. Organized sports along with other social activities and institutions become important in emphasizing supposed differences between men‟s and women‟s bodies. Using information from the readings as well as lectures, explain how sports are socially constructed to emphasize gender differences and to provide barriers to women‟s equality in sports and social life overall. Pay particular attention to McGarry‟s analysis of the importance of heterosexism and nationality, and to the sexualization of women athletes, along with the role of other social institutions such as health care. Explain why an intersectional analysis of sports is important and how it could help in developing specific strategies for change that would improve gender equality for all women and girls. McGarry: Mass media and gender identity in high performance Canadian figure skating  Highlight the role of media in promoting particular gendered images of figure skaters for public consumption, thereby drawing attention to two issues o The socially constructed nature of various representations of men and women in sports o The ways in which particular gendered images of sports figures are promoted in the interests of nationalism Figure skating, the media and Canadian culture  Figure skating is huge and successful in Canada and it has become a Canadian sport  Prime TV time  Powerful alliances of interest between skating sponsors and various Canadian media outlets, both of which have vested economic interest in promoting various national representations that appeal to entertainment spectacles.  Canadian media and television influence the production of gendered, commodified identities on ice and produce highly specific gendered bodily representation of the nation Gender and figure skating  Femininity and masculinity are socially constructed concepts and societal ideals about an appropriate masculine or feminine behavior that vary spatially, from culture to culture, and temporally, depending upon various socio- historical circumstances  Men must show heterosexuality to win  Men have to show masculinity and women have to show femininity  Women are supposed to show femininity Social implications/conclusions  Figure skating cause food disorders and other psychological defects in females  Femininity limits their creativity  Concern due increasing power of hegemonic masculinity and heteronormativity Lecture  The class and race of people can affect the type of sports people take part in  Gendered expectation of what our bodies should look like  The role of education, society and the media is important  In a sex/gender binary system, expectations of difference are played out in terms of gendered bodies. In a male dominated society, women‟s bodies become „contested terrain‟.  Not historically a male dominated institution o Female gladiators  Gendered ideal of athlete based on masculinity; men‟s bodies seen as productive sporting bodies o Should be ok to take risks o Men shouldn‟t have to take that much care of their bodies, women should  Institutional organization of sports: o Gendered division or segregation of sports th th  In 19 and early 20 century, emphasis on women‟s bodies as reproductive bodies, not athletic bodies o Sport more related to masculinity than femininity o Thought that sports would have masculinizing effects on girls (Nelson – Sport: Gender Participation Levels)  Increasing emphasis on women athletes‟ bodies as sexual and less emphasis on performance; importance of appearance & meeting the ideal standard of emphasized femininity o Even the females that are in sports emphasize the important of lady-like lifestyle and body form (Nelson – Sport: Gender Participation Levels) o Traditional gender sports order only functions to delimit the opportunities of females ((Nelson – Sport: Gender Participation Levels) o Men are more likely to participate in sports than women (Nelson – Sport: Gender Participation Levels)  Socialization lessons of sports (Nelson – Sport: Gender Participation Levels) o Boys control their emotions and suppress femininity in themselves o Hide fear and pain behind stoicism o Instils the warrior image of masculinity 2. Mitchison, in “The medical treatment of women” talks about the historical transformation of health care and its impact on women. She identifies three interrelated themes. Identify and explain these three themes and discuss how they affect women today in terms of health care, including health research, diagnosis, and treatment. Then using information from readings (including Mitchison) and lectures, develop a gender based analysis of health care that emphasizes an intersectional analysis and social determinants of health and explain how it is useful in examining issues of concern for women in terms of reproduction, sexuality and participation in sports in addition to health care. Conclude by briefly noting how this information is helpful to enabling women with regards to more empowered choices and options regarding health, sports, and sexuality. The Medical Treatment of Women – Mitchison  The relationship between medicine and culture o Physicians are a product of their time o They view women as the rest of the society but their views are not challenged o The can affect the psyche of a woman  The medicalization of society o Doctors rose as a part of the scientific community and started to dictate what people should do with their bodies o They interfered and offered opinions for every aspect of women‟s lives o Define what is normal and what is deviant o Doctors advise us on every part of our lives o Contraception, abortion, the reproductive health  The interventionist nature of medicine o Physicians wait until illness strikes and try to combat it in an active way o Focus on the weakness of the body  ill health, instead of the strengths to promote and maintain health o Physicians want the best, which is defined within a certain culture o Experimenting and practicing mercilessly on women  How the themes affect women o Women are more vulnerable to intervention o More male physicians than female physicians o Male physicians have never experienced the female body and view the male body as the norm o If women were the norm, lack of menstruation would be a failure and if human health dominated, neither would be a failure o Physicians and health care professionals carry the same views as others of the culture o Medical profession is a reflection of the views of the society o Two warnings: medical profession is not monolith and some of the best critiques are women and patients are not passive and should not be treated as such o Health research  Marriage and maternity as the ultimate goal  Anything that prevents from being a mom is harmful  Women‟s body is prone to disease  gynaecology o Diagnosis  Mentally ill  Focus on the weak parts o Treatment  Lots of pills and surgeries Social determinants of health - Lecture o Health is shaped by how income and wealth is distributed, whether or not we are employed and if so, the working conditions we experience. o Determined by the health and social services we receive, and our ability to obtain quality education, food and housing, among other factors o Assumption that Canadians have personal control over these factors, in most cases these living conditions are – for better or worse – imposed upon us by the quality of the communities, housing situations, work settings, health and social service agencies, and educational institutions with which we interact.  1. Income and Income Distribution 2. Education 3. Unemployment and Job Security 4. Employment and Working Conditions 5. Early Childhood Development 6. Food Insecurity 7. Housing 8. Social Exclusion 9. Social Safety Network 10. Health Services 11. Aboriginal Status 12. Gender 13. Race 14. Disability o Femininity and masculinity is constructed within sport (McGarry)  Women only win when they have extremely thin figures  Women have to reinforce their femininity and subordination within sports such as figure skating  Women are not supposed to participate in sports and physicians have tried to prove that it is unhealthy for them to be too active (Mitchison)  Women have not always been absent in sport  women gladiators found by archaeologists (lecture) o Sexuality: Women are supposed to maintain maternity as their primary goal  All other life aspects are slanted by this  The enjoyment is for the man and women are supposed to do everything in their power to make sure their man enjoys himself o Reproduction  Seen as a way to populate  Not much choice given to women  A lot of medicine around reproduction  Contraceptives, birth control pills  How this information is helpful for women o Help them not fall in the trap of the process of medicalization of their bodies o Understand that physicians are not all-knowing o Understand that their bodies are not medicine magnet as the health care system wants them to think o Women will understand that their limitation in sport is not real; it is just a function to make sure that they maintain their reproductive duty o Women will understand that they have the right to control their sexuality and decide on child bearing and the details  It is not the state that has the right to interferes 3. “Sexuality is best understood as a fluid, changing phenomenon, defined by social contexts that establish not only the meaning but the very texture of what we call experience, including bodily experience. Thus, [for social constructionists] there is no underlying quality or cluster of qualities that characterizes sexuality in all times and places ...” (Clausen, 1997, p. 33). Explain this quote, and provide support for a social construction perspective of sexuality. Then explain what Nelson means by this statement, “In a male dominant society, what is defined as „real‟ sexuality largely reflects male standards expressed in a heterosexist language system.” Conclude by noting why taking a social construction perspective is helpful, especially for women and other minority groups. Consider whether this perspective of sexuality would also be helpful in terms of improvements regarding girls/women and health care and organized sports. “Sexuality is best understood as a fluid, changing phenomenon, defined by social contexts that establish not only the meaning but the very texture of what we call experience, including bodily experience. Thus, [for social constructionists] there is no underlying quality or cluster of qualities that characterizes sexuality in all times and places...”  Sexuality is socially constructed and the product of the particular society (Clausen)  Different cultures and societies interpret the same natural phenomena differently  What one society considers natural and universal could be completely different from another  Social constructionists are usually more concerned with the range of possibilities available to those who share a common cultural framework o Can‟t ignore the fact that different individuals participate in the same cultural framework differently o How does identity get constructed in particular ways o Sexual behaviors will be seen as primarily shaped by either biological or cultural factors o Researchers can look at the same thing and interpret different results o Some cultures see sexual choices to be similar to those of choices in food (lecture) o The post industrial revolution dominant ideology is all about binary sex and gender system (lecture) “In a male dominated society, what is defined as „real‟ sexuality largely reflects male standards expressed in a heterosexist language system.” (Nelson)  Sexuality is not the direct result of biological sex, but the product of a complex constellation of factors  Heterosexuality is privileges in a pronatalist society  Homosexuality is marginalized and stigmatized  Real sexuality is the penile penetration of the vagina  Active male – passive female stereotypes  Lesbians don‟t have real sex  when does it end? No real ejaculation to mark the end  Male ejaculation marks that a couple have had sex  Lesbians never have sex  Power to deny women their own sexuality (through physical interventions, medical means, political controls & sanctions) Why is a social constructive perspective important for women and other minority groups?  To prove that it has not always been like this  Lesbians are belittled and marginalized due the lack of penis in their relationship o Proves that sex has not always been determined by the presence of a male and his ejaculation  Social construction problematizes what is natural and biological determinism o Ideas and practices around sexuality are socially constructed  not all cultures view sexuality like the NA culture o Use “naturality” to control women‟s sexuality o Deny women their sexuality o Use this to exploit women  prostitution o Control women‟s activity and use them as objects o Normalizes sex  real men are those that are have uncontrollable sex drive (Nelson) o Women naturally monogamous and men polygamous (Nelson)  Sexism in health care (Renzetti, Curran and Maier) o Women are seen to be more susceptible to illness labeling by the medical establishment o Women have been contributing members of the society o Male doctors usually understand male patients better  women don‟t have equality o PMS is socially constructed o Male physicians are sexist, racist, heterosexist  Those that dissect social constructionism and recognized it understand all of these factors and 4. In “Desire as interruption” Connell claims that there is a gap “between what young people learn in sexuality education and what they do in practice”. She describes four discourses of sexuality education in Ontario. Briefly explain each discourse and whether you think that they demonstrate a naturalist, biological determinist perspective of sexuality OR a social construction perspective. Using information from the readings and the lectures on sexuality, note the different consequences of each perspective with regards to young women‟s sexuality, their health and overall gender equality. Using what you have learned about a social construction approach to sexuality, what changes would you suggest regarding sexuality education and media depictions that would benefit young women and young men? Be sure to explain your rationale. Four discourses of sexuality education  Sexuality as violence o Most conservative o Equates adolescent heterosexuality with violence, such as abuse, incest, AIDS an coercion o Presumes a casual relationship between official silence about sexuality and a decrease in sexual activity o Proponents call for elimination of sex education and clinics, and urge a complete reliable on the family to dictate appropriate values, morals and behaviors o Consequences:  Young women and men will not have the opportunity to learn about sexuality, safe sex, dangers, pleasure and desire  Health is in danger as adolescents will never learn how to protect themselves  Violence is emphasized, but not problematized  Heterosexuality is normalized and females are not seen as equal  Sexuality as victimization o Emphasizes the need for young women to learn o their vulnerability to potential male predators and subsequent need to defend themselves against disease, pregnancy and being used o Females are victims of male desires o Sex education includes practicing how to say no as well as an emphasis on abstinence, the risks of sex and the diseases associated with it o Support sex education with parental consent o Consequences:  Women are weak, vulnerable sexual objects  Violence against women is emphasized as females are victims of male desires  Health in danger of violence  Adolescents are more aware and can protect themselves against STD  Women are seen as passive and weak  No gender equality among the two gender  Sexuality as individual morality o Emphasizes the value of young women‟s decision making as long as decisions are of premarital abstinence and chastity o Sex is a test of self-control and self respect: the individual restraint triumphs over social temptations o Non-interventionists: elimination for school-based sex education o Interventionists: schools should offer sex education by focusing on good values. Although there is no consensus on what comprises good values. It varies from sexual restraint to correct and consistent condom use o Consequences:  Women‟s sexuality undermined  Emphasizes that women‟s opinions matter  More are more control  Health is protected  Women will not be a part of sexual intercourse  Learn about protection  Gender equality is gained a bit more, although all the emphasis and responsibility is on women  Women have the authority to say no  Women should not engage in activities  not equal to men  Desire: o Largely absent from school-based sexuality programs o Naming desire, pleasure and sexual entitlement barely exists in the formal agenda of school-based sex education and, if spoken, is immediately followed up with the reminder of consequences o Ability for adolescents to explore what feels good and bad, desirable and undesirable, and grounded in experiences, needs and limits o Releases females from the position of receptivity – women would be subjects of sexuality, as well as initiators and negotiators o Allow for the analysis of the dialectics of victimization/danger and pleasure/desire o Consequences:  Women are able to explore their sexuality outside of the societal box  Women can maintain their health  Allows for the analysis of danger and victimization  More open about sexauality for women  Women are more equal in the sexual aspect  They are allowed to enjoy themselves too 5. Rosenberg and Duffy in “Violence against women” ask why male violence is still so shockingly prevalent. In addressing this question, they use a macro historical perspective of feminist theories of violence against women (VAW) from the second wave feminist perspectives, and more recent theories based on postcolonial/global feminism and work on hegemonic masculinities. Explain the authors‟ perspective or way of explaining the prevalence and range of VAW and note the critiques of naturalist, universalist explanations for male violence against women that these authors and other course material provides, particularly Harper‟s article “Is Canada peaceful and safe for Aboriginal women”. Conclude by explaining how these insights can be incorporated into an intersectional macro level explanation for violence against women and used to develop strategies for change that would improve women‟s lives and well being overall. Why male violence is still shockingly prevalent: 4. the patriarchal tradition of our society trying to control a women's behavior is what leads to sexual abuse 5. historically, women were seen as property within traditional patriarchal family structures 6. society blames women for their own 'victimization' Second Wave feminist perspectives: • They were instrumental in exposing the dimensions and complexities of violence against women, especially in the more affluent and industrialized countries of the world • Most important accomplishments of the second wave of the women's movement was to name sexual and gender harassment and to document it as a very pervasive feature of women's public lives. • Made an immense contribution through simply starting to identify and document the extent of violence against women • Located the violence in terms of patriarchal relations of power and control • For Marxist, and sociologist feminists, it was not so much as prevailing beliefs and values but the material conditions of women
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