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Questioning Sociology.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Questioning Sociology Chapter 3:Am I a Woman, Myra J. Hird Introduction -Purpose: discuss the importance of gender and sex (sexual differences) in Canadian Society -sex and gender matter -socially, economically, politically, medically and culturally -Roberta Hamilton: People experience different realities due to their gender -ex: Women end up with lower pay then men for equal work -certain professions are gender segregated -women do bulk on non-paid work -gender also interacts with other characteristics -education, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality -Everyday language definitions -sex: anatomical differences -genitals, chromosomes, hormones, gonads -differences are assumed natural (cannot change) -gender: external practices that correspond to social expectations for a particular sex -ex: behaviour, clothing -Sexuality: constitutive feature of personality, desire, pleasures and sexual acts -Identity: Other things that define us (socially, economically etc) -Sex/Gender Distinction base on 3 assumptions 1)distinctions can be made between men and women base on biology (sex) and culture (gneder) 2) while gender is interchangeable, sex is immutable 3) biology consistently distinguishes between male and females Dividing Sex and Gender -Sex/Gender Distinction was a post-warAnglo-saxon invention -In the past, thought men and women had same bodies -males were of superior form -during 16th, 17th and 18th century -men considered to stronger and have heat to display sexual anatomy outwards -women were weak, anatomy was inside their body -thought sex was a continuum with fluid movement -medical accounts of people changing sex -was thought genitals suited a person's disposition and behaviour -men enjoyed social privileges -magistrates focused on sex boundaries -didn't care much about determining an individual's authentic sex -As a result, sex is also a social construct like gender -bodies are made meaningful through interpretation (natural differences) -today we think sex is not changeable -there are still people who think we can change sex The Two-Sex Distinction: Sex -intersex condition provide a good observations between sex and gender relation -can see how the differences between them is socially created -is basically a condition where the anatomy of a child at birth results in questions of its sex -have cases where a child with the genetics of one sex does not respond to hormones -ends up producing genitals of opposite sex -John Money: founded practice of surgical sex reassignment of infants and children with intersex conditions in the US. -protocols remain standard in modern practice -core gender identity is determined by interaction with parents and perception of own genitals -believed gender must align with sex -advocated for invasive surgery as soon as possible ex: David Reimer -underwent surgery and was converted into a girl -was raised as a girl but at the end ended up acting like a man -contrary to what Money proposed -thought culture would determine gender identity -to this day, there is still ongoing politics over this subject matter -used a social definition to identify the sex (biological) of an intersex individual -politics identify many problems -variability of sexual identification -the a priori definition of F and M behaviour -phallocentric bias in sex reassignment -the problem intersex individuals face due to high demands of gender ID by society -modern psychiatric response to intersex reinscribes the normative belief that sex creates gender -physical evidence that this taxonomy is not mandated by biology The Two-Sex Distinction: Gender -Trans-gendered individuals claim they know themselves to be of the opposite sex -issue is, they've never experienced life in the other gender prior -lack physical appearance and have been socialized to act their original gender -when trans-gender operation brought to public, idea of opposite sex trapped in another was socially constructed by the media (trope) -Bolin: trope made to create an origin story -medical and psychiatrics wanted it to regulate access to surgery -transgendered identity that we know of was socially constructed -by doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and transgender individuals -claimed distinct temporary ID before full woman-hood or man-hood Janice Raymond: wrote The Transsexual Empire. -argued trans-women were inauthentic -argued that biologically, they are natural women. -Most importantly, identified the fact that their innate female behaviours are the product of patriarchy -trans women do not have such history (since they were men) -many feminists agreed Sheila Jeffreys: behaviour of trans women simply a performance of extreme female stereotypes. -grossly overdress in female clothing -unable to understand that those behaviours are ways women avoid societal censure -their actions symbolizes/signifies women's oppression -confo
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