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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 and 2 .docx

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Lina Samuel

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Chapter 1: the social construction of sex, gender and sexuality Sex:  refers to the condition of being male or female as identified from a biological stand point  Sex dimorphism: division of the human population into categories of male or female - rests on notion of dichotomy (division into two)  Dualism: in any domain of reality there are two separate and distinct underlying principles --> male/female, white/black Gender:  refers to femininity and masculinity as identified from a sociocultural standpoint  All expected and actual thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with masculinity and femininity  Gender has external ( expected) and internal ( actual) dimensions which is modified through social interaction  Four types of gender 1. Androgynous: individuals rank high on both femininity and masculinity 2. Feminine: individuals rank high on masculinity and low on masculinity 3. Masculine: individuals rank high on masculinity and low on femininity 4. Undifferentiated : individuals rank low on femininity and masculinity  Berdache: male prostitute--> aboriginal men dressed and performed as women , and had sex with men People who did not fit into berdaches dichotomous paradigm were described as homosexual, travesties etc. ( ethnocentric people) Nadleeh ( Navajo): masculine female body, and feminine male bodied Hijras ( Hindu): Hindu men who pray to Mata ( god of female creative power) --> biological men who wear female apparel and behave like women & who undergo emasculation to remove penis ( neither men or women ) Xanith (Islamic): Males, who enjoy all the rights of men under the law, worship in mosques with other men, have male names BUT perform the role of women within their households and their attractiveness is judged by female beauty --> homosexual male partners taking the passive role [nts. Bloody handkerchief to be reclassified as en from brides virginity] Mahu ( Hawaii): homosexuals - biologically male but adopts the social and occupational role voluntarily and publicly associated with women ( third gander) Sex and gender 1. Sex determines gender 2. Sex is arbitrarily related to gender 3. Sex influences gender 4. Possibility: gender determines or influence sex , exists only in exceptional cases  Biological determinism: the belief that biological sex determines masculinity or femininity and that in fact the terms sex and gender are interchangeable  The second position that sex and gender are related not intrinsically, but via social learning -- social constructionism  Third position - rejecting the “either/or “ reduction of the first two , maintains that both biology and the social environment combine to produce gender --> interactionist Sexuality  range of human activities designed to produce erotic response and pleasure  scripts are cultural created guidelines that embody the patterns of behaviour a society or group defines as appropriate in a given social situation  sexuality scripts: define how, where, what, with whom and under what conditions one is to behave a s a sexual being  Michael et al: focused on three measures of homosexuality 1. sexual attraction to others of the same sex ( desire) 2. Engaging in same- sexual acts ( behaviour) 3. Self- identification as homosexual ( identity)  Men were more likely than women to act on their desires and also to identify themselves as homosexual  Different concepts can be used to measure sexual orientation including behaviour , feelings , or concept of identity  A person maybe homosexual but that does not necessarily imply that he or she would be gay  Sexual behaviour is shaped by our social surroundings Gender stereotypes  structured set of beliefs about the personal attributes of women and men  personality traits, attitudes and beliefs, overt behaviour and behavioural prefences and physical appearance  stereotypes deny individuality  double or multiple jeopardies: stereotypes about men and women are enmeshed with stereotypes of race, social class, disability, sex orientation, age and attractiveness  three major methodologies used to learn respondents stereotypes 1. open ended questions: asks subjects to describe in their own words the qualities which they feel characterise women and men in general 2. rating scales : typically present a list of personality traits and they put which one suits each sex more 3. adjective checklists : indicate whether each adjective is more frequently associated with women, men and neither Constraints and limitations of gender upon sex  All such transformations of biological sex are generically referred to as sex (re)assignment --> describe it using the term transsexuals Sex (Re) assignment  Infants born with ambiguous genital configurations are assigned to one sex or the other  Biological condition of children born with ambiguous genitlia has been traditionally referred to as hermaphroditism --> intersex Transsexualism  Individuals with unambiguous genitilia who were assigned at birth to one biological sex and have been socialized in accordance with that assignment, yet choose to be surgically transformed to become as much a member of the other biological sex as p
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