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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 New Society - Gender, Sex and the Case of David.Brenda.odt

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Sandra Colavecchia

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Chapter 4 – New Society Gender, Sex, and the Case of David Brenda • David/Brenda Reimer – during circumcision penis was burnt off ◦ at 22 months underwent surgery to become a female becoming Brenda Reimer ◦ sex reassignment experiment was a success “proof that sex reassignment as proof that gender identity option is open at birth ◦ scandal broke out sharing that David/Brenda had struggled against his/her girlhood from the start ◦ resistance to become a girl; at age of seven stated wanted to be a boy ◦ 1980 was revealed what happened – age 16 breasts were removed and a penis was surgically constructed – got married, adopted 3 children – May 2004 committed suicide Defining male and female: sex and gender th • 1 in 400 children are born with an unusual 46 chromosome • being female involves not just biology but also certain masculine and feminine feelings, attitudes and behaviours • Gender: feelings, attitudes and behaviours associated with being male and female • Gender Identity: identification with or sense of belonging to a particular sex – bio-, psycholo- and socially • Gender role: people behave according to widely shared expectations about how males or females are supposed to act • how women are suppose to act has changed past 1960s – Males act tough, hide their emotions • men displaying feelings is wrong - “sissy” • pressure can be brought on an individual who do not conform to gender expectations – Brenda • Transgendered: gender identity does not match the sex they are assigned at birth ◦ considered a psychiatric disorder • Margaret Eichler – states if our notions of masculinity and femininity were less rigid , sex change operations would be unnecessary since someone with a gender identity problem would not be defined as sick ◦ transgender is a problem for people b/c society does not recognize them as the validity of sexes • Gender reassignment before 18 months said to be successful SEXUALITY • Sexual scripts tell us whom we should find attractive when and where it is appropriate to be aroused, what is permissible and how to behave sexually (linked to gender roles) • men = aggressors, women = experienced and promiscuous • Heterosexuality = norm, Homosexuality = disorder until 1974 • Compulsory heterosexuality – assuming you have to be with the opposite sex • Negative implications for non-heterosexuals ◦ lack of civil rights (spousal benefits) ◦ risk abuse (“gay bashing”) ◦ Feminists – heterosexuality puts all women at disadvantage b/c heterosexuality is based on unequal economic, political, legal and social relations between women and men • Compulsory heterosxuality – ideologically and materially enforced that women see themselves entirely as the complements of men and live under male control or risk severe sanctions ranging from social stigma to death • institutionalization of heterosexuality in marriages and the family is a way of ensuring males rights to physical, economical and emotional access to women • Feminists reject heterosexuality all together b/c relationships are based on inequality SEXUALATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR • departure from traditional diversity in sexual attitudes and behaviour • 80% of people do not disapprove of premarital sex and 75% do not disapprove of an unmarried couple living together • nearly all Canadians agree that birth control should be available to those who want it • 15 year olds – start having sex by 19 – 80% • Sexual activity declines with age – however people at 70 y/o engage in sex • Men are more sexually active then women • Men and women differ in terms of standards they use to justify sexual activity – distinguishes a love standard according to which sexual activity is acceptable as long as partners are in love from the fun standard which both people are agreeing to have sex ◦ Francophones and men are more likely to engage in the fun standard • Women are more concerned about love vs men being concerned with sex • “affection for partner” main reason for first intercourse experience, “curiousity and ready for sex” • Men have more sexual thoughts, more likely to have oral sex and have first intercourse at a younger age and more in favour of casual sex • Affairs – attitudes towards it is conservative and becoming more so over time ◦ endorsement of extramarital sex fell from 21% to 14 ◦ 30-39% of Canadians admitted to sexual infidelity (ages 16-45) • changing attitudes towards affairs has a tendency for people to have fewer sexual partners • Reasons for tendency: STI's (HIV andAIDS) • abortion became legal minimized the encouragement for people to have multiple sex partners changed – youth counterculture promoted the idea of free love (60s, 70s) more sexual partners the better since the law minimized consequences ◦ most canadians had unprotected sex without even knowing their partners sexual history • Canadians are becoming more tolerant towards homosexuality and same sex marriage • correlated with age, gender and region SEXUALORIENTATION AND QUEER THEORY • do not label themselves as gay or bisexual but men and women have said to have had an attraction/fantasies about the opposite sex at least once or have had relations of the same sex at least once • depends on how sexual orientation is measured • Conceptualize sexuality as comprising four continua: sexual attraction, sexual desire, sexual behaviour and sexual identity • multidimensional but also questions characterization of people as heterosexuals, bisexuals or gay or lesbian adequately captures the range of sexual orientations in human population • Queer Theory – denies existence of stable sexual orientations altogether • from this POV when we apply labels like heterosexual, bisexual, to ourselves or others, we are adopting socially accepted terns that fail to capture the fluidity and variability of people's actual identities and performances ◦ drawing attention away from uniqueness of each individual ESSENTIALISM • observe male-female differences in sexual scripts, the division of labour at home and in the workplace , mate selection, sexual aggression, jealousy, promiscuity, fidelity and so forth • natural and universal • Brain Studies ◦ male-females have different brain structure; differences in behaviour and achievement ◦ two hemispheres develop differently in males compared to females ◦ Right sphere is dominant in men – since left side is washed out due to the secretion of testosterone ◦ allows men to excel in mathematics, artistic, visual spatial abilities ◦ women have more edge in feelings, intuition, language skills, and quick judgements ◦ Men jobs – logic and visual spatial – scientists, mechanics, pilots ◦ Female jobs – empathy, intuition, lang. Skills – stay home raise children and who work outside the home as teachers, secretaries, social workers and nurses • Sociobiology ◦ second variant ◦ all human beings want to ensure that their genes get passed down to future generations ◦ The most feminine women and masculine men have a better chance at surviving and passing on genes – became genetically encoded ◦ Buss D. Bases his argument on that women have a bigger investment tha
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