[SOCIOL 1360] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (18 pages long!)

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7 Feb 2017
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SOCIOL 1360
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Lecture 1: The Social Construction of Gender
Sex: whether a person is classified as male or female based on anatomical or
chromosomal criteria
Gender: the ways that social forces create differences between women’s and men’s
behavior, preferences, treatment, and opportunities, and the characteristics of men
and women that reflect these forces
o Gender is the social and cultural expectations placed on a person
Gender binary: two things only, man or woman, boy or girl; social expectation of
everyone to fit into one of the two categories
o Marked/unmarked categories and privilege: one category, the invisible
norm, is the unmarked category, the other is the marked. The invisible norm
is not impacted and has privilege, while the other, the marked, is impacted
and does not have privilege
o Man is the unmarked category while woman is the marked
Biological determinism: the belief that differences between women and men are
biologically determined and therefore natural and unchanging
o Men will always be one way and women another
o Doesn’t take social factors into account
o Supports an unequal approach to gender
o Believes that we cannot overcome biology
The sociological understanding of gender:
o States that gender varies in several ways:
From one society to another
Within any one culture over time
On an individual level of meaning
Among groups of men and women within cultures at any given time
o Suggests thinking in pluralities
Not femininity, but femininities
o Is not supportive of biological determinism
The Social Construction of Gender – Lorber, 1994
Gender as a Process
o In everyday lives, we are constantly acting out gender, reaffirming gender
order by acing as one’s gender should
This is not noticeable until someone doesn’t do it correctly
o Sex categories become gender statuses almost immediately after finding out
the sex of the unborn baby
Gender as a Social Institution and Structure
o Gender works to organize the division of labor in and outside of the home
o Gender is deeply embedded in society and is virtually inescapable
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Gender is upheld and maintained through symbols used in society
For example, a boy wears blue and a girl pink
Gender as a Stratification System
o There are levels, ranking, a hierarchy in society
In regards to gender, men have more rank or power than women
Work done by men is typically valued more than work, even the same
work, done by women
Gender Inequality is Not Natural
o Because gender is not natural, the inequality that is a result of it is not either
o The fact that gender is a social construct does not change the fact that it has
real consequences in society
o Differences aren’t equivalent to bad, it is the inequality that stems from the
difference that is bad
Gender socialization: learning the rules of society throughout your life about gender
to do it right
o This includes correction, usually by peers
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