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Chapter 4

social problems chapter 4 notes

7 pages34 viewsWinter 2011

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January 24
Gender Relations
-sex (the biological distinction between male and female) is a universal and ancient basis of social
obiological reality that women are child-bearing and physically smaller/weaker than men
has led to the widespread social practise of men as protectors/breadwinners and women
as procreators/caregivers
-this distinction varies among different societies show that women can be breadwinners and
men can be caregivers
-societies vary in the degree to which they make sex difference seem larger or small, important or
-study of gender relations had almost no presence in the field of sociology before mid-twentieth
onot until growth of the feminist movement
opushed forward by the large-scale entry of women into higher education
The Battle Over Gender Today
-norms of masculinity are as much of an impediment to men as norms of femininity are to women
ohistorically, however, women have suffered more disadvantages
- for the last 30 years, sociologists have focused on social constructionism over biological
essentialism to explain sexual inequality
orecently, however, there has been a turn back to biological essentialism
Defining Sexism and Gender Inequality
-sexism discrimination and insulting attitudes and beliefs that stereotype people because of their
oproblem for both men and women, however as men have traditionally occupied the
dominant role, sexism has harmed more women than men
-gender inequality – any difference between men and women in gaining access to valued societal
Sex and Gender
-sex – a biological concept that differentiates female and male
omost people are (mainly) male or (mainly) female from the moment of conception, with
biological difference between the sexes that are anatomic, genetic and hormonal
oresearch has not revealed any direct link between genetics and the behaviour of each sex
male/’female are not discrete biological categories, but more opposite poles
along a continuum of sexual variation
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owhatever biological differences exist between men and women have few (if any)
unavoidable effects on modern-day social life
-gender refers to culturally learned notions of masculinity and femininity
othe social enactment of a biological difference
ogender definitions are socially constructed
oprecise distinctions made between men and women, and the resulting division of labour,
have varied through time and across cultures
-gender rolesthe patterns of behaviour that a society expects of males and females and that all
members of the society learn, to a greater or lesser extent, as part of the socialization process
-masculinity a socially constructed idea of how boys and men should act; qualities that people in
our society expect to find in a typical man
-femininity a socially constructed idea of how girls and women should act, or the various
qualities that people expect to find in a typical female
-gender socializationthe process by which people learn the gender-based behaviour
Factors That Reinforce Gender Inequality
-most important difference between men and women (sociologically) is that women can bear
oNancy Chodorow, Reproduction of Mothering (1978) explains womens subordination
by the fact that women mother
At Home
- reproduction and child-bearing activities continue to be mainly female activities in Canada
ohowever, child-bearing is not longer unavoidable (ex. birth control pills)
as a result, men and women can lead more similar lives than ever before
today, women spend less time bearing and raising children than they did in the
past however, the family household remains a workplace for women more than
oremarkable how similar this division is across families and even across nations
domestic labour is gendered labour
-are some variations
oremarried couples report a less complete version of gendered inequality than first-time
married couple
ocouple who become parents in the 20s are more traditional in their gendering of domestic
work than couples who make this transition in their 30s
The Arrival of Children
-most babysitters and non-household family members who help’ with child care are female
-womens lives are complicated with the birth of a child
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