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Chapter 1

WGS101H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Mary Wollstonecraft, Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill, Gender Binary


Department
Women and Gender Studies
Course Code
WGS101H5
Professor
Joan Simalchik
Chapter
1

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Thursday, 13 December 2018
Chapter 1
WGS101!
1. Culture, Representation and Gender:!
-Experience, perception and the construction of reality: !
Culture is a concept that embraces the behaviours and attitudes that are
learned from communities, system of symbols like language and religious
practices. !
Culture representation: through myths, books, music, tv, movies etc.!
It is fluid, changeable. It is not genetic, it is learned. !
Earliest learning comes from through imitation: babies watch and imitate parents
and other children, a pattern that counties throughout childhood. !
In order to make sense of the world people absorb their culture’s literal and
figurative language: not just words like women and girl, but the concepts of
womanhood, girlhood, and femininity similar for the guys. !
-The construction of Gender in Culture and Individuals: !
Images shape expectation of how the world should be, how women should look,
behave, and interact with each other and with men and children. !
Representation is also culturally specific for example: skirts and dresses are
associated with women in North America however, this might be shocking for men
in Egypt and Scotland. !
While representation of of gender may feel self- evident and natural, they are on
the whole constructed and sometimes even arbitrary(based of personal choice,
rather than reason or logic). For example: before WW1; pink for boys and blue for
girls. The reason: pink being a more decided and stronger colour is more suitable
for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is seen as prettier for
the girl. !
External eect of images of women and men, representation she inner lives as
well. Overall place in society shape the ways women understand their own lives.
For example: Disney movies: princesses would also be rescued by men and live a
happy life hence this showcased that women’s satisfaction depended upon love
and marriage. Also, the ways in which women experience their bodies are
powerfully shaped by the images of female beauty and attractiveness, in that
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Thursday, 13 December 2018
idealised bodies- slim hairless- are represented not just as the ideal but as the
norm. !
For decades, almost all images of idealised woman and men were of white
people: could not even imagine that people of colour should be represented. The
wake of civil rights movements that the popular media represented people of
colour in any meaningful way. !
These images act as norms: sets fo social and cultural rules that normalise
behaviour and that everyone is expected to follow, they are enforced internally
through self-discipline to replicate to follow. !
Norm defines an activity and erases the possibility of other definition, so that
mopping a floor becomes an activity identified only with women and femininity.
Cultural representation reinforce the norms. !
2. Language as a cultural System:!
-The relationship between Language and Culture: !
Language is one the most basic system of representation !
Language is both descriptive and normative. !
Since people live in a male-dominated society where English is the dominant
language, man has mean all people, rather than just male people, whereas woman
means only female people. !
Patrimony describes an inheritance from one’s ancestors (includes women), while
matrimony refers to marriage. !
When language operates in this way, the message about gender and its norms are
clear; men are doers and producers; women are watchers, caretakers and
consumers. Men act in the public world while women are relegated to the private
and domestic sphere. !
These assumption stretches from adults down to children, reproduced in
children’s games. !
Language that reflects an exclusive gender binary based on female and male are
exclusionary to trans and intersex. To remedy this, some propose a new pronoun
that would not refer to an essentialized notion of a constructed male or female
gender. !
The prevalence of cisgender( language based on individuals’ experience of their
own gender that agrees with the sex they were assigned at birth) poses important
challenges for an inclusive society. This binary can be resisted by having people
designate their ‘preferred pronoun’. !
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