Chapter 7: Gender Relations
Biological and Social Determinism
→ Nurture implies a possibility of change, nature is m ore fixed-and how the weight
assigned to one factor or the other varies with the specific behaviour being
→ Biology and social effects affect the gender gap (i.e., the likelihood of a man
outliving a woman and vice versa)
Numeracy and Literacy Differences
→ Gender imbalances in postsecondary education are well documented.
→ Female students are overrepresented in the humanities and social sciences while
male students are the majority in mathematics, technology and sciences
→ Growing gender differences in literacy: some think that the greater physical
activity among boys (biological factor?) discourages parents from reading to them
as often as they do to girls (a social factor).
→ Girls told that they may not do well on a math test actually do less well, while boys
given the same message do better, perhaps in an “I’ll show you” fashion.
→ Positive expectations thus may be ever more important for girls than for boys
→ Different brain structures
Sex and Gender: Some definitions
→ Sex and gender are not the same
→ A person’s sex is a biological trait characterized by the XX chromosomes and
estrogen for a female and the XY chromosomes Transgendered: those who
and testosterone for a male includes aspects of both genders.
Transvestite, is a common term for
→ Gender is a social construct based on definitions a cross-dresser and is applied more
often to males than females.
of masculinity and femininity and consisting Transsexuals, automatically are
one sex, but feel like and want to
largely of the norms and expectations that be treated as a member of the
encourage people to behave in a “Sex- other sex. So inconsistent are their
appropriate” manner gender identity and their sex that
some may seek medical
→ learning masculine and feminine gender roles procedures to change their sex.
occurs early in the socialization process and the specific content of that learning
varies across cultures over time
→ Gender identity is the perception, developed probably by age three, of oneself as male or female. It is not to be confused with sexual orientation, and is not
necessarily consistent with a person’s sex.
→ Gendered order is a macro-level concept and refers not to individuals but to
social structure. It includes gendered norms, gendered roles, and a gendered
ideology, which together make social life gendered, directing how males and
females should act. Its biggest influence is to create a gendered division of
labour in which males and females, in both the unpaid and paid labour arenas,
tend to act “gender-appropriately”
→ Gender roles are socially created and then learned; people are not born with them
Major Theoretical Perspectives on gender
→ Gender is just another of the social conventions that maintain order and promote
→ Public realm: paid labour and the instrumental tasks needed for survival; the
domain of men in functionalist thought
→ Rationality is preferred over emotionality
→ In the traditional functional argument, women are delegated to the private realm
of the home, providing unpaid domestic labour and responsible for expressive
tasks like nurturing and providing emotional support
→ The private sphere is valued less than the public one, and its inhabitants are
generally dependent on inhabitants of the public realm
→ Women, especially work a double shift as paid employees and unpaid homemakers
→ Gender differences are relative, not absolute
The symbolic interactionist perspective
→ See the world as socially constructed and changeable
→ Definitions of masculinity and femininity, gender roles, and gender norms are all
→ Brown and Gilligan argued that children learn gendered behaviour through a
variety of processes, such as imitating others an-Extent to which language
receiving rewards and punishments for behaviour communicates cultural values that
defined as gender-appropriate or inappropriate in turn may affect behaviour.
-What is the role of language in
→ Gender is more a product of social and cultural, the ideology of gender inequality?
-“Man and wife”: does this
encourage differential treatment
of men and women? rather than biological influences
→ Parents, siblings, peers, schools, religion and the mass media