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Chapter 9

SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Gender Inequality, Hegemonic Masculinity, Sexual Assault


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Ivanka Knezevic
Chapter
9

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SOCA01
SOCIOLOGY 1
CHAPTER 9 GENDER RELATIONS
INTRODUCTION: GENDER RELATIONS AND YOU
What you see yourself as and how you see yourself is shaped by social norms, institutions, culturally
defined roles, and dominant ideologies
o Social construction of gender
Person versus gendered/racialized/classed person
o Someone may see themselves as a person if they have taken-for-granted privileges, while those
who are faced with discrimination will see themselves as gendered, racialized, or classed
o These qualities are noticed because they stand out as marginal to the norm (male, white, middle-
class)
Usually it is men who are privileged and the women who are marginalized
Gender is about how society is structured by gender and how gender works in social institutions
Those in privileged positions rarely interpret their privilege
o However, gender inequality is now gaining interest even by men because it is accepted as an
important sociological issue
There are continuing gender inequalities that women may not realize exist
Study Gender Issues With At Least Four Benchmark ideas
1. Gender is a vantage point of critique
2. Gender is a social construction
3. Gender is realized in social roles and institutions
4. Gender is a relation of power and inequality
THINKING SOCIOLOGICALLY
GENDER IS A VANTAGE POINT OF CRITIQUE
Sociology used to be a male-dominated and centred discipline
o It was primarily men who studied social life, and those areas of social life were male dominant
and women were more or less absent
o Women were invisible within the content of sociology (their social lives were not studied)
o Women were invisible within the profession of sociology
It was assumed women would fit into the male perspectives
Vantage Point: A place or position affording a good view of something
See ourselves, the social institutions around us and our social worlds in ways that attend to both women’s
are men’s experiences
In the past, female sociologists were caught up in a politics that reflected the problems and issues of their
time. Now, the issues are salient to the social and cultural agendas of more recent times (Generational
divides)
o Body Image
o Transgressive Sexualities
o Eating Disorders
o Male Sexual Responsibility
There is a fight over ‘feminism is dead’. Feminists are trying to remind young women that gender
inequality still exists. The pop-culture depicts female empowerment, however those images are also
demeaning
o Raunchy and liberated are not synonymous
There has been growing recognition on the men’s views and struggles with masculinity

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SOCA01
SOCIOLOGY 1
More and more men are included into feminism and gender relations as a whole
Example of ambivalence
o Sexual violence
o Sexual violence can sometimes only be seen as a women’s issue and this men are not involved in
events to discuss sexual violence.
o If sexual violence is understood as a women only problem, this means that men are not called
upon to acknowledge or take responsibility for their role
Men do play a strong role in perpetuating sexual violence, they should also be involved
in helping to solve the issue of sexual violence
Hegemonic masculinity: Refer to a dominant form of masculinity in society
o Strong, assertive, aggressive, self-reliant, and free of traditional feminine characteristics (display
emotion and caring)
GENDER IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION
Challenge the notion that gender identities (masculine, feminine) could be easily mapped onto biological
identities (male, female)
o Gender identities have a social foundation independent of biological necessity
o Sex: Biologically based differences
o Gender: Socially produced differences
By taking a gender perspective, we recognize that being masculine or feminine is not a natural
occurrence, but rather a socially constructed one. Therefore, the inequality is also socially constructed
through the way society is organized.
Gender as a social phenomenon can be distinguished from sex as a biological phenomenon.
o Gender identities are fluid and diverse
o Released from limited notions of heterosexuality and reproduction -> more varied relationship
between sexual orientation and the gendered/sexed body
Social experience of gender and the embodiment
\\\\
GENDER IS REALIZED IN SOCIAL ROLES AND INSITITUTIONS
Issue of how gender relations are socially produced in practice
Feminists used social roles and social institutions to assist them in identifying gender both as an identity
and as a property of social structures
Society provides different genders roles or scripts, and boys and girls are socialized into these roles
through a process of subtle or explicit sanctions and rewards
POTATOES AND RICE: HOW DESIRABILITY IS RACIALIZED IN THE GAY COMMUNITY
White, masculine, muscular males are seen as the desirable gays
‘Rice Queen’: A white male who goes after Asian men, presumably because they are old and no longer attractive and
thus can only attract the likes of Asian men.
‘Potato Queen’: An Asian man who is attracted to white men -> settling
SEXUAL ASSAULT ON CAMPUS
Sexual assault posters always target women as if to say that women are passive and fails to protect
themselves -> They’re inviting it
Victim-blaming, and forgetting the men’s role
Also needs to place men as part of the solution and not treat them all as potential rapists
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