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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 - Sexuality with Mappings for that chapter and lecture notes

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Mc Kinon

CHAPTER 11: SOCIOLOGY AND SEXUALITY Intersexed infants: babies born with ambiguous genitals because of a hormone imbalance in the womb Gender Identity and Gender Role A persons gender comprises the feelings, attitudes, and behaviors associated with being male or female Gender Identity a persons identification with a particular sex biologically, psychologically, and socially When you behave according to shared expectations about how males or females are supposed to act, you adopt a gender role If gender reassignment occurs before the age of 18 months- it will usually be successful but once the social learning of gender takes hold, it is difficult to undo social learning of gender begins very early in life Perspectives on gender differences o Gender is inherent in our biological makeup and society must reinforce those tendencies to function smoothly Functionalist theory is compatible with this assumption o Gender is constructed by social influences and may be altered to benefit societys members - Conflict, feminist, symbolic interactionist theories are compatible with this assumption People learn gender roles during socialization in the family and at school THEORIES OF GENDER Essentialism: views the gender as part of the nature of a persons biological makeup Gender differences as a reflection of the different social positions occupied by women and men is called social constuctionism because it views gender as constructed by social structure and culture Essentialism Freud Freud believed that differences in male and female anatomy account for the development of distinct masculine and feminine gender roles Freud says since women are never able to resolve their penis envy, they are naturally immature and dependent on men Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology According to sociobiologists and evolutionary theorists, all humans try to ensure that their genes are passed on Their point of view gender differences in behavior are based in biological differences in women and men (women look for a reliable man, man just wants sex) Functionalism and Essentialism Functionalists reinforce the essentialist viewpoint when they claim that traditional gender roles help to integrate society Women raise household and the men work in paid labor force people learn to perform these roles by means of gender role socialization Masculinity instrumental traits rationality, self-assuredness, and competitiveness www.notesolution.com Femininity expressive traits nurturance and sensitivity to others A Critique of Essentialism from the Conflict and Feminist Perspectives Conflict and feminist theories disagree with the essentialist account o Essentialists ignore the historical and cultural variability of gender and sexuality the variation between the sexes deflates the idea that there are essential and universal behavioral differences between men and women In societies with low level of gender inequality, the tendency for women to stress the good provider role in selecting male partners, as does the tendency for men to stress womens domestic skills When women become corporate lawyers or police officers, the production of testosterone hormone is stimulated, causing them to act more aggressively aggressive is role related. Women are developing traits that were considered masculine they have become more assertive, competitive o Gender differences are not constants and they are not inherent in men and women they vary with social conditions o The second problem with essentialism is that it tends to generalize from the average, ignoring variations within gender groups e.g. many women are more aggressive than the average man and many men are less aggressive than the average women o Third, there is little or no evidence directly supports the essentialists major claims there is no genes found that can cause male jealously, female nurturance, unequal division of labor o Finally, essentialists explanation for gender differences ignore the role of power they explain it in terms of survival of the species and dont take into consideration that man are usually in a position of greater power and authority than women are o Conflict theorists said that male domination came from in the beginning because men could own property and secondly, by means of socialization and force, they ensured that women remained sexually faithful to their husbands o Male domination increased because industrial capitalism made men still wealthier and powerful o Feminist theories says that male domination is rooted less in industrial capitalism than in the patriarchal authority relations, family structures, and patterns of socialization and culture o From the conflict and feminist viewpoints, functionalism, sociobiology, and evolutionary psychology can themselves be seen as examples of the exercise of male power rationalizations for male domination and sexual aggression Social Constructionism and Symbolic Interactionism Essentialism in the view that masculinity and femininity are inherent and universal traits of men and women In contrast, social constructionalism is the view that apparently natural or innate features of life, such as gender are sustained by social processes that vary culturally and historically Gender Socialization www.notesolution.com Barbie has served as an identifiable symbol of stereotypical female beauty Toys and mass popular culture are a part of gender socialization From birth, males and females are treated differently by parents girls are delicate, weak, cute while boys are strong, alert and well coordinate Gender Segregation and Interaction Contest, chasing games and other activities often involved self-segregation but they was quite a lot of boundary crossing which involved boys playing stereotypically girls games Activities requiring cooperation such as an art project lessened attention to gender Mixed gender interaction was also more common in less public and crowded settings e.g. neighborhood Children are ACTIVELY engaged in the process of constructing gender roles they are not passive recipients of adult demands In single sex schools girls experience faster cognitive development, higher occupational attention, respect, and encouragement in the classroom and develop more egalitarian attitudes toward the role of women in society Gender ideologies interrelated ideas about what constitutes appropriate masculine and feminine roles and behavior Adolescence make course choices with gender ideologies in mind most girls are inclined to consider both home responsibilities and careers The Mass Media and Body Image In the media, women are seen as cleaning, taking care of children, modeling clothes and men are seen in aggressive and authoritarian roles Women are more concerned than men with their stomach and men are more concerned about their chests than women are with their breasts Body dissatisfaction prompts some people to take dangerous and even life threatening measures to reduce their size e.g. smoking to control their weight, eating disorders. Male-Female Interaction The gender roles that children learn in their families at school and through mass media form the basis of their social interactions as adults girls are taught not to act bossy Gender specific instruction styles also have serious implications for who is heard and who gets credit at work (i.e. women tend to use We instead of I women arent getting the credit they deserve, and that may be a reason why they complain of a glass ceiling a social barrier that makes it difficult for women to rise to the top level of management HOMOSEXUALITY Transsexuals: individuals who want to alter their gender by changing their appearance Some say homosexuality is mainly genetic, some say its hormonal, while others point to life experiences during early childhood Research suggests that some anti-gay crimes may result from repressed homosexual urges on the part of the aggressor - aggressors are homophobic or afraid of homosexuals because they cannot cope their own, possibly subconscious, homosexual impulses but thats only one reason www.notesolution.com Social construction and conventional gender roles helps create and maintain social inequality between women and men GENDER INEQUALITY The Origins of Gender Inequality Long Distance Warfare and Conquest Anthropological record suggests that women and men were about equal in status in nomadic hunting and gathering societies, the dominant form of society for 90% of human history It was because women produced a large amount of food Back in Old Europe, between 7000 and 3500 BCE, men and women enjoyed equal status
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