Textbook Notes (368,566)
Canada (161,966)
Sociology (1,513)
SOC100H5 (538)
Chapter 8

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Nathan Innocente

Chapter 8 NotesIntersexedinfants babies born with ambiguous genitals because of a hormone imbalance in the womb or some other causeYour sexdepends on whether you are born with distinct male or female genitals and a genetic program that releases male or female hormones to stimulate the development of your reproductive systemAccordingly sociologists distinguish biological sex from sociological genderYour gender comprises the feelings attitudes and behaviours typically associated with being male or female Gender identityis your identification with or sense of belonging to a particular sexbiologically psychologically and socially When you behave according to widely shared expectations about how males or females are supposed to act you adopt a gender roleContrary to first impressions the case of BruceBrendaDavid suggests that unlike sex gender is not determined solely by biology However once the social learning of gender takes hold as with baby Bruce it is apparently very difficult to undo even by means of reconstructive surgery hormones and parental and professional pressure The main lesson we draw from this story is not that biology is destiny but that the social learning of gender begins very early in lifeSome analysts see gender differences as a reflection of naturally evolved tendencies and argue that society must reinforce those tendencies if it is to function smoothly Sociologists call this perspective essentialismbecause it views gender as part of the nature or essence of ones biological and social makeupFunctionalists typically view gender in essentialist terms Other analysts see gender differences mainly as a reflection of the different social positions occupied by women and men Sociologists call this perspective social constructionismbecause it views gender as constructed by social structure and culture Conflict feminist and symbolic interactionist theories focus on various aspects of the social construction of genderSociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists have proposed one popular essentialist theory They argue that humans instinctively try to ensure that their genes are passed on to future generations However they say men and women develop different strategies for achieving that goal A woman has a bigger investment than a man does in ensuring the survival of their offspring because she produces only a small number of eggs during her reproductive life At most she can give birth to about 20 children It is therefore in a womans best interest to maintain primary responsibility for her genetic children and to seek out the single mate who can best help support and protect them In
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