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SOC100H5 (498)

Sexuality and Gender.pdf

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Fiona Miller

Sexuality and Gender March 11- Ch 8 Sex versus Gender  Is It a Boy or a Girl? o Intersexed  Babies born with ambiguous genitals because of a hormone imbalance in the womb or some other cause Gender Identity & Gender Role  Sex o Depends on whether you were born with distinct male or female genitals and a genetic program that released either male or female hormones to stimulate the development of your reproductive system  Gender o Your sense of being male or female and your playing masculine and feminine roles in ways defined as appropriate by your culture and society  Gender Identity o A person’s identification with, or sense of belonging to a particular sex- biologically, psychologically and socially  Gender role o When behaving according to widely shared expectations about how males or females are supposed to act adopt gender role The social Learning of Gender  Biology is not destiny but that social learning of gender begins very early in life  Two perspectives o Gender is inherent in out biological makeup and that society must reinforce those tendencies if not functioning smoothly Functionalist Theory o Gender is constructed mainly by social influences and can be altered to benefit society’s members  Conflict, feminist and symbolic interactionist theory  Heterosexuality o The preference for members of the opposite sex as sexual partners  Many still resist or reject the gender roles that are assigned to them based on biological sex  Negative sanctions are placed (to conform/ punish for deviance)  Use emotional and physical violence to enforce conventional gender roles  Gender = creates and maintains social equality Theories of Gender  Essentialism o A school of thought that views gender differences as a reflection of biological differences between women and men = Functionalist  Men compete with other men for sexual access to many women = competitiveness and aggregation emerge  Gender differences in behaviour are based in biological differences btw men and women  Social Constructionism o A school of thought that views gender differences as a reflection of the different social positions occupied by women and men = Conflict, feminist and symbolic interactionist  Functionalism & Essentialism o Functionalists claim that traditional gender roles help to integrate society o Each generation learn these complementary roles by means of gender role socialization o The larger society also promotes gender role conformity  Learning the essential features of femininity and masculinity integrates society  function properly  A Critique of Essentialism From the Conflict & Feminist Perspectives o Essentialists ignore the historical and cultural variability of gender and sexuality  Low levels of gender equality = less stress on both gender roles  More competitive jobs = more aggressive role-related  Women developing traits that are considered masculine o Essentialism tends to generalize from the average, ignoring variations within gender groups  Many women are more aggressive than the average men  Many men are less aggressive than the average women o Little or no direct evidence directly supports the major claims  No genes cause male jealousy or female nurturance o Essentialists’ explanations for gender differences ignore the role of power  Assumption overlooks the fact that men are usually in a position of greater power and authority than women  Conflict o Engels two methods ensuring that their offspring would inherit the surplus  Imposed rule = men could only own property  Socialization and force ensured women remained faithful  Feminist o Male domination is rooted in patriarchal authority relations, family structures and patterns of socialization and culture that exist in societies Social Constructionism & Symbolic Interactionism  The view that apparently natural or innate features of life are sustained by social processes that vary historically and culturally  People attach meaning in what it means to be a man or a women  Gender Socialization o Ex/ Barbie Dolls – Toys and parents encourage  Gender Segregation and Interaction o Parents. Teachers and other authority figures impose their ideas of appropriate gender behaviour on children  But children creatively interpret, negotiate, resist and self-impose these ideas all the time  Groups often spontaneously crystallize along gender lines, but also boundary cross o Thorne’s conclusion  Children are actively engaged in the process of constructing gender roles (NOT PASSIVE RECIPIENTS OF ADULT DEMANDS)  Children segregate themselves by gender, boundaries vary in form of social circumstance = NOT FIXED GENDERED ACTIVITIES o Parents reinforce stereotypes in their evaluation of different activities o Gender ideology  A set of ideas about what constitutes as appropriate masculine and feminine roles and behaviour  Boys = choose career-oriented courses  Young women = Chose easier courses that lead to lower-paying jobs b/c expected to devote to domestic life o Seen within wage gap btw women and men The Mass Media & Body Image  The effects of the messages portrayed through mass media reinforce the normality of traditional gender roles people tend to shape themselves around these images  People’s body ideals are influenced by their gender o North American’s anxiety about their bodies increased greatly over the last 25 yrs o Advertisements perpetuate these anxiety and insecurities about appearances Male – Female Interaction  Glass ceiling o A social barrier that makes it difficult for women to rise to the top level of management  Factors  Interaction styles  lead to women not getting credit for competent performance  Outright discrimination  Women’s commitment to family responsibilities restrict women’s upward mobility Homosexuality  Transgendered o People who break society’s gender norms by defying the rigid distinction btw male and female. They may be hetero-sexual or homosexual  Transsexuals o People who want to alter their gender by changing their appearance or resorting to medical intervention  Believe born with the “wrong body”  Identify with and want to live fully as members of the opposite sex  Heterosexuals o People who prefer members of the opposite sex as sexual partners  Homosexuals o People who prefer sexual partners of the same sex. People usually call homosexual men gay and women lesbians  Bisexual o People who enjoy sexual partners of either sex  Sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience  NOT CHANGEABLE  Rejecti
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