SOC100H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Matriarchy, Infibulation

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10 Feb 2011
Chapter 13: Gender Stratification
Gender and Inequality
Gender: personal traits and social positions that members of a society attach to being female or
Gender shapes how we interact with others and how we think about ourselves
Involves hierarchy- ranking men and women differently in terms of power, wealth and other
Gender Stratification: unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and
Male/Female Differences
not to think of social differences in biological terms
oex. Women denied vole because they were assumed to be not smart enough nor to have
interest in politics to make good decisions. This attitude reflected cultural patterns, not
biological reasoning
most of the differences between men and women turn out to be socially constructer
some differences in physical ability between men and women
omen (on average), 10% taller, 20% heavier and 30% stronger
research doesnt point to any difference in overall intelligence between sexes
biologically men and women differ in limited ways, neither is naturally superior.
oCulture defines two sexes very differently
Gender in Global Perspective
The Israeli Kibbutz
Collective settlements called kibbutzim ; kibbutz (singular form)
Gender equality is one of its stated goals; men and women share in both work and decision
Both sexes share most everyday jobs
Girls and boys raised in the same way
This provides evidence that cultures define what if feminine and what is masculine
Margaret Mead’s Research
Research on gender
Hypothesis: if gender is based on biological differences between men and women, people
everywhere should define feminine and masculine the same way; if gender is cultural, theses
conceptions should vary
Studied three societies in New Guinea
1. The Arapesh
-men and women have remarkably similar attitudes and behavior
-both sexes were co-operative and sensitiveto others
-in short, what North American culture would label as feminine
2. Mundugumor
-both sexes typically selfish and aggressive
-traits that North Americans would define as masculine
3. Tchambuli
-defines females and males differently
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-Tchambuli reversed many of our notions of gender
-females were dominant and rational
-males were submissive, emotional and nurturing towards children
Mead concluded that culture is the key to gender differences, because what one society defines as
masculine, another may see as feminine
Challenge to Mead: Deborah Gewertz
George Murdocks Research
Broader study of more than 200 pre-industrial societies
Found some global agreement about which tasks are feminine and which are masculine
Hunting and warfare- men
Home centered tasks- women
Depends on the task at hand
Patriarchy and Sexism
Some degree of patriarchy everywhere in the world
Patriarchy: the rule of fathers; form of social organization in which males dominate females
Matriarchy: form of social organization in which females dominate males
oNever been documented in human history
oThus, some degree of patriarchy is universal
Significant variation in relative power and privilege of females and males around the world
Justification of patriarchy- Sexism
Sexism: belief that one ex is innately superior to the other
oNot just a matter of individual attitudes; it is built into institutions of society
Legal system has long excuses violence against women
The Costs of Sexism
Limits the talents and ambitions of women
Men benefit in some respects from sexism but at a high price
Masculinity encourages men to engage in many high-risk behaviors (drug and alcohol use,
playing dangerous sports, driving recklessly)
Marilyn French- argues that patriarchy leads men to seek control not only of women but also of
themselves and their world
oas men seek control over others, they lose opportunities for intimacy and trust
Is Patriarchy Inevitable?
Industrialization an birth control technology give people real choices in life so that in modern
society, biological differences have little justification for patriarchy
Some researchers claim that biological factors (difference in hormones and differences in brain
structure) wire the two sexes with different motivations and behavior
Gender and Socialization
gender shapes human feelings, thoughts and actions
by about age three, children recognize gender differences and see themselves in these terms
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in the past, women were described as emotional, passive and co-operative; men are described as
rational, active and competitive
taught to think of gender in terms of opposition (one sex being the opposite of the other)-despite
the fact that women and men have much in common and that most young people develop
personalities that are a mix of feminine and masculine traits
gender teaches us how to behave
Gender Roles/ Sex Roles: attitudes and activities that society links to each sex
Gender and the Family
pink world of girls and blue world of boys
Most families in low-income countries want a male rather than a female
Adults handle infants differently depending on their gender
Female world revolves around co-operation and emotion whereas the male world revolves around
independence and action
Gender and the Peer Group
research shows that young children tend to form single-sex play groups
Janet Lever- concluded that boys favour team sports that have complex rules and clear objectives;
often have winners and losers
oGirls play games with few rules and not for the goal of victory
oFemale peer groups promote interpersonal skills and co-operation
Gender and Schooling
How characters are portrayed in books at a really young age
oEx. Building Bob
oMax and Ruby
Gender and the Mass Media
Even on camera, men play generally more interesting roles as opposed to women
Women are usually used for sexual or romantic interest
Advertising also shows gender stratification
oEx. Men used in commercials for cars, banking services and alcohol; whereas women are
used to promote cleaning products, food and appliances
Gender and Social Stratification
Gender determines ones place in social hierarchy
Working Women and Men
Majority of women were not employed even in their prime working years
Factors that changed Canadas employment rates include decline of farming, growth of cities,
post-industrial economy, increasing education, shrinking family size and rising divorce rater
65% of married couples depend on two incomes
Women working for income today is normal
Women represent 47%of our paid labour force
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