Ch.4&Ch.7: Gender and Sexuality & Gender Inequality
Social Conflict theory and social stratification
1. Conflict occurring over scarce resources, this perspective suggests that
active groups in society are actively competing against each other. Therefore,
in this group there are both winners and losers. Shows the privileges of
stronger group of people
2. Class system is actually characterized by institutionalization. Moving up and
down social ladder is exaggerated. Argues that few people tend to succeed
even if they do work very hard. Those who break through this barrier tend to
3. Karl Marx- argued that the capitalist system reproduces ineqaulity. He states
that there are two classes: bourgeoisie--capitalist group. They operate the
means of productions.
a. Proletariat: workers that sell their time and labour in order to survive
b. In interest of bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat, getting them to
work as hard and long hours for the least amount of pay.
c. No revolution happened b/c unions sprang up to protect the proletariat
group. Rise of large corporations was an issue. Rise of the middle class
was a big influence.
d. Blue collar work: lower prestige, mostly manual labour--can be
• White collar work: higher prestige jobs involving mental labour
4. Max Weber- argued that there are actually 3 dimensions of inequality:
wealth(referring to accumulated assets and income one may have),
power(ability to pose one will on another person, able to mobilize resources
despite resistent, based on political power), prestige ( the ability to impress or
influence, differs from power. Prestige based on personal character and
• Mother Teresa - one who did not have a lot of wealth but lots of
prestige. ---Drug dealers- do not have high prestige, like mother teresa,
when it comes to higher society
• Weber argues that you cannot just look at economics and wealth
• Socioeconomic status: A persons general status in the economic
hierarchy. --it is determined by a variety of social and economic
indicators(occupation, # of children, type of house you own) which ties
into how people perceive their own class position
Sex, Gender and Sociology
1. Sex: bilogical distinction between females and males. Secondary sex
characteristics--development of adams apple, menstruation etc..
• Gender: behaviour and social positions members of a society attach to
being female or male . (the social and cultural characteristics of ideas
around what it means being male or female)
• thinking of men and woman and polar opposites. Traits associated
with masculine, not supposed to be emotional, more aggressive. Traits
associated with femininity, being delicate, nurturing, passive. --> these
meanings infer different things such as social prestige and social power 2. Conforming to gender norms. Ex. in HS boys labelled as feminine will face
bullying and the opposite with female gender.
3. Tease out biological ideas of sex and biological ideas of gender. This is why
theorists pay attention to cultural variation
• Margret Mead: Cultural Variation--gender and ideas of gender are not
biologically rooted and are just socially constructed. Research in New
Guinea demonstrated that there are lots of cross cultural variation--found
3 diff cultures, each of which had a distinctive approach to gender. In
akarach, found that men and women conformed to our ideas of
femininity. Both men and women adopted traits that our society
associates with femininity.
• With another group. Males tend to engage in more aggressive
• In Chambouli, there are strong distinctions for men and women
behaviour. Gender expressions were reversed from what we consider
normal in western society. Women were rational and dominant. Men were
nurturing and admissive
4. Historical variation-- America, Siberia and Israel. Cultural roots of gender also
• For ex. figure skating was once a male directed sport. And that pink
was associated with young boys and blue associated with young boys.
• Gender is socially constructed -->(meaning we learn ideas of gender
through culture and society )and the ideas of gender have great impacts
on people lives.
5. Patriarchy: a form of social organization in which males dominate females
6. Matriarchy: form of social organization in which females dominate males.
• No matriarchy operating today. But that
• If our own culture was matrilineal: children take the last name (ex.
7. Gender ambiguity (e.g. women who are soldiers)
• Traditionally school was premised on the notion that most women
would be home makers and that schools were made mostly for men.
Gender socialization in schools is actually a part of the hidden curriculum.
Textbooks can reinforce gender stereotypes
8. Gender stereotypes
• How textbooks describe sperm in masculine language and egg
described in a passive manner. Specific adjectives that are used in
9. Intersexuality: People with both female and male organs and biological
characteristics, including genitalia. These people are referred to as abnormal.
About 2 in every babies are intersexual
• Caster Semenya. After her win in the Olympic sport, she was
disqualified because questions of her gender were raised. Decided that
her unknown biological state gave her an advantage.
• Another male athlete who has better lung capacity to absorb 2-
3%more oxygen than normal males. Yet he was not disqualified from his
10. David Reimer -Case study
• Gender reassignment even though one of the identical twins was
physiologically a male • This study implies that Dr. Money ignore the social aspects and implies
that the gender switch of this little boy would just successfully be
converted into a girl. However, Brenda repeatedly denied her gender,
complaining that she didn’t feel like a girl. Brenda was not viewed as a
girl due to masculine walk and features. Finally told the truth at age 14
and ceased previous hormone treatments . Named himself David to
represent the "David and goliath struggle" Then David met Milton
Diamond, who revealed David's real story, resulting in repercussions to
Dr. Moneys career. -->troubled family dynamics that was rooted from the
procedures that Dr. Money attempted to use to gender socialize
"Brenda". - shows us the complexity of social context
• Social change: the transformation of culture and social institutions over time.
• First two years of life are crucial for social and biological development.
Why are gender differences biologically rooted?
• How men are meant to be protect their lineage and more aggressive
• The body type of men, who are built to be assert their dominance by size and
strength. Men having more testosterone than women, leading to more muscle
• Boys encouraged to run and play where girls encouraged to sit and be quiet.
• " " to eat and grow " " to watch
Characteristics of a critical thinker
• Objectivity : idea of neutrality