Chapter 8: Sexuality and Gender
SEX VERSUS GENDER
Is it a boy or girl?
• Although biology determines sex, social structure and culture largely determine gender
• Expression of culturally appropriate masculine and feminine roles
• Intersexed: babies born with ambiguous genitals
What is gender role and Gender identity?
• Gender: your sense of being male or female, and playing whatever role in ways defined by
• Gender identity: a person identification with a sex, biologically, physically, and socially
• social construction of gender is evident in the ways parents treat babies, teacthers treat pupils and
THEORIES OF GENDER
What is essentialism?
• Views gender differences as a reflection of biological differences between men and women
• There are universal features of our evolved selves (men want casual sex, women are greedy for
Functionalism relates to essentialism?
• Claim traditional gender roles help integrate society.
• Women have expressive traits generally take care of the family
• Men have instrumental traits and work in paid labour
Critiques from the conflict and feminism perspectives?
1. Essentialist ignores the historical and cultural variability of gender and sexuality.
2. Essentialist tend to generalise from the average, ignoring variations within gender groups
3. Little or no direct evidence directly support the essentialist “major claim”
4. Essentialists explanations for gender differences ignore the role of power
Symbolic interactionism relates to social constructionism?
• Views gender difference as a reflection of the different social position
• So that apparently natural features of life such as gender is sustained by social processes
• Symbolic interactionism is attaching meaning to things through communication ad we learn it
through school and family
• Social forces pushing people to assume conventionally masculine or feminine roles
Gender segregation a