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Sociology Notes Week 16

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Queen's University
SOCY 122
Rob Beamish

Sociology Notes Week 16 Gender Inequality and Feminist Sociology o One is not born but one becomes a woman see book o Systemic / institutional racism: Discrimination based off colour based in legal, educational / employment o The critique of the functionalist theory of social stratification was a result of: The breakdown of the post-WWII consensus on social values The smooth functioning of post-industrial societys major institutions o Social dissent began to merge in various forms: Civil rights movement in the US Quiet revolution in Quebec American and Canadian anti-war movements Canadas anti-nuclear missiles and peace movement Disenchantment with Trudeaus inability to create the just society American governments war on poverty Student Movements Challenged direction of university studies Simply preparing them for the workforce Students felt they needed answers to lifes big questions Monotonous white-collar positions o Popular culture had an impact politicized nature of popular music, television and the nature of the news led to social change o Movements sought to change the law or enshrine new fundamental rights and create a new culture of values o Women were not receiving of feeling equal treatment from their comrades invisible stereotypes were operating Goal became to eliminate gender discrimination and inequality too o Three key books resonated with women in social movements stimulated the movement that would seek to end gender inequality post WWII: The Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir The Feminine Mystique Betty Friedan Sexual Politics Kate Milletts The Second Sex o Moving and powerful account of womens subordination across cultures and throughout history o First question: What is a woman? All further truths must be based on what a woman is o Femininity and masculinity are not quite like two electrical poles Man represents both positive and neutral Woman represents only the negative defined by limiting criteria without reciprocity o One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman Civilization as a whole produces women intermediate between male and eunuch Children do not apprehend the universe through sexual parts Up to the age of 12 a little girl is stronger than her brother and shows the same mental powers The influence of others doom her to passivity, coquetry and maternity indoctrinated with her vocation from early years o Woman is socially constructed as a mans other woman is what a man is not i.e. the second sex o Because gender identities are socially constructed they are not eternal and unchanging women and men could and would broaden gender identities o Male/females are not binary opposite at the level of sex and at the level of gender Comprehensible overlap between the sexes and an even greater overlap between female and male gender identity o Feminists argue that the notion of female and male sexes is too limited biology of sex, sexual interest and sexual orientation is more complex Presence of intersexuals demonstrates that the two sex system does not encompass the full spectrum of human sexuality Hermaphrodites (herm) Male Pseudohermaphrodites (merm) Female Pseudohermaphrodites (ferm) Sexual characteristics vary between members of the same subgroup Inner lives of people in each subgroup have gone unexplored by science Three categories should be considered their own sex sex is a continuum that defies the constraints of categories Very controversial change and resistance o Social construction of a binary is now undermined by attention to the chromosomal structure and its manifestation among different individuals There is no biological basis for the division of gender identities into binary opposites o Butler argued that the conception of sex is a form of discourage that organizes an explanation about chromosomes and biological entities XX and XY o There is a natural coherence between biological bases of sex and what sex means result of discursive formation about sex at onset shaped by language Natural coherence of a discursive formation stems from and reinforces interpretation of stylized acts over time Actions that are repetitive suggest they are deeply rooted in on created by biologyo The notion of a sexual constitution reflects a deeply embedded discursively created connection between biology and socially constructed stylized acts over time o Butlers position challenges the notion that there is a particular essential core to individuals or humanity as a whole People see what they are led to understand through organizing, guiding, restricting processes The Feminine Mystique o Friedans work addressed the problem that has no name Widespread malaise, unease and depression among the middle class suburban woman classmates Felt identity was tied to the lives of their husbands and children Spoke to white middle class women who committed themselves to social change but found their circumstances untouched Helped galvanize a movement that transformed womens lives and social perceptions o Woman was defined by her relationship to a man and children wife, mother, housekeeper, sex object, sever of needs Not defined by her own actions in society This is the feminine mystique o Breaking through veneration of femininity freed women from feeling
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