Reading for Week 3. Book: Social Problems, Chapter: 4
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Chapter 4: Gender Relations
Men are protector/bredwinner and woman are procreators/caregivers. The degree to which diff societies
enact these roles varies greatly (low-fertile societies; distinction fades, women also breadwinners) based
on their rationalization (bible says..., everyone is equal...., evolutionary biology dictates...). Until recently
were women not allowed to attend university (unlike men. Only few women were well-educated), later
women emerged as thinkers of social matters (poverty) and slowly were due to feminists pushing were
granted rights (to vote, etc). Waves of feminism had influence over the status women received, include:
Oakley’s book on the sociology of housework, looking to acknowledge its economic value. Some
sociologist embraced the upheaval of feminism while others ignored it.
The battle over gender today
Defining Sexism and Gender Inequality
Sexism: discrimination and insulting attitudes and beliefs that stereotype ppl because of their gender.
Affect women, because men occupy the dominant role.
Gender inequality: diff between men/women in gaining access to valued societal rewards. (from struct
arrangements, discrimination, cultural beliefs)
Sex and gender
Sex: biological concept that distinguishes fe/males from conception, with biological differences between
the sexes that are anatomic, genetic and hormonal.
Assume: fe/male are not discrete categories, but rather opposite poles on a continuous line of sexual
variation (weird). Androgenital syndrome (womb exposed to androgen: male hormone): development of
male genitalia features in females.
Gender: culturally learned notions of masculi/femininity. Fe/males are treated as fe/males for their
masculine/feminine roles. The distinction between fe/male varies across cultures and time. Social
construction of gender roles. Sociologists use ‘gender’ when referring to these sex-based social
constructions (suggesting biology is irrelevant to understanding social distinctions ppl make between
Masculinity and Femininity
Gender roles: patterns of behaviour that a society expects of fe/males (everyone learns them during
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