Gender and Society (Chapter 8, "You May Ask Yourself")

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A review of the impact of society on sex and gender, particularly in America. Appropriate for 100-level sociology courses. If you like it, feel free to use it! …

A review of the impact of society on sex and gender, particularly in America. Appropriate for 100-level sociology courses. If you like it, feel free to use it!
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"You May Ask Yourself" second edition (2011), D. Conley, W.W. Norton - Chapter 8
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*** This is only my "reworking" of pre-packaged PPT files included with Dalton Conley's "You May Ask Yourself" second edition, published by W.W. Norton. Some materials copyright by W.W.Norton.

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  • Understanding the differences between these terms is essential for understanding the concepts throughout the section, so we will spend the next few minutes making sure we’re all clear about the three terms.Sometimes in our society, we see the terms sex and gender used interchangeably. For instance, on a job application, you might see a checkbox that says to select your gender, followed by the words “male or female.” This is actually an inappropriate use of the term gender – the application is actually referring to sex. Why do you think someone might use the term gender rather than sex? (Your students might talk about political correctness or the connotations associated with the term sex.)
  • The study of gender involves looking very closely at the relationship between nature and nurture, and not assuming that one overshadows the other or that there is a clear line separating the two. It is common to think that there are only two sexes—male and female—and that all people fall into one group or the other, and indeed this is a way of imposing order in a chaotic world. But there is evidence to suggest that we need to embrace a more expansive definition of sex, one that goes beyond two rigid and distinct categories.About 1 babies in 1,000 are born intersexed, or hermaphroditic, which means having an abnormal chromosomal makeup and mixed or indeterminate male and female sex characteristics. This is a function of biological sex. Gender is different because it relates to the way that a person behaves and is based on biological sex. In other words, we learn how to act manly or womanly based on the sex that we’re born as.
  • Another influential book by Mead was Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. This became a major cornerstone of the feminist movement, since it claimed that females are dominant in the Tchambuli (now spelled Chambri) Lake region of the Sepik basin of Papua New Guinea (in the western Pacific) without causing any special problems. The lack of male dominance may have been the result of the Australian administration's outlawing of warfare. According to contemporary research, males are dominant throughout Melanesia (although some believe that female witches have special powers). Others have argued that there is still much cultural variation throughout Melanesia, and especially in the large island of New Guinea. Moreover, anthropologists often overlook the significance of networks of political influence among females. The formal male dominated institutions typical of some areas of high population density were not, for example, present in the same way in Oksapmin, West Sepik Province, a more sparsely populated area. Cultural patterns there were different from, say, Mt. Hagen. They were closer to those described by Mead.Mead stated that the Arapesh people, also in the Sepik, were pacifists, although she noted that they do on occasion engage in warfare. Her observations about the sharing of garden plots amongst the Arapesh, the egalitarian emphasis in child rearing, and her documentation of predominantly peaceful relations among relatives are very different from the "big man" displays of dominance that were documented in more stratified New Guinea cultures — e.g., by Andrew Strathern. They are a different cultural pattern.In brief, her comparative study revealed a full range of contrasting gender roles:"Among the Arapesh, both men and women were peaceful in temperament and neither men nor women made war."Among the Mundugumor, the opposite was true: both men and women were warlike in temperament."And the Tchambuli were different from both. The men 'primped' and spent their time decorating themselves while the women worked and were the practical ones — the opposite of how it seemed in early 20th century America."[citation needed]
  • From the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists“So-called "vaginal rejuvenation", "designer vaginoplasty", "revirgination", and "G-spot amplification" are vaginal surgical procedures being offered by some practitioners. These procedures are not medically indicated, and the safety and effectiveness of these procedures have not been documented. Clinicians who receive requests from patients for such procedures should discuss with the patient the reason for her request and perform an evaluation for any physical signs or symptoms that may indicate the need for surgical intervention. Women should be informed about the lack of data supporting the efficacy of these procedures and their potential complications, including infection, altered sensation, dyspareunia, adhesions, and scarring.”
  • Each perspective has contributed to our understanding of gender differences and gender roles, and no doubt other theories or approaches will emerge in the future.When assessing these various approaches, it is important to ask how useful each one is for explaining people’s experiences and behavior.
  • An example of structural functionalism in gender studies is Talcott Parsons’s sex role theory. This theory suggests that men and women perform their sex roles as breadwinners and wives and mothers, respectively, because the nuclear family is the ideal arrangement in modern societies.Functionalists tend to believe that society functions the way it does as a result of men and women having different roles and tasks. Functionalists would likely agree that sometimes these differences result in inequalities, but that there is a purpose for this division in the society.
  • The father of psychoanalytic theories is Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). Freudian theorists have provided an overly individualistic, psychoanalytic account of sex roles. Although biological determinism plays a major role in Freudian theory, so does the idea that gender develops through family socialization
  • Conflict theorists point out that men stand to lose a great deal if gender inequality disappears. For example, they would have to do more unpaid work or pay to have their homes kept up and children cared for. Conflict theorists are interested in the imbalance of power in society and the struggles that people go through trying to gain access to power that they traditionally have not had access to. In many societies, it is clear that women have not had access to power, and oftentimes, they still lack access to power. Gender inequality can be found in all past and present societies. It invariably takes the form of patriarchy , or male domination
  • In the United States, the history of the women’s movement can be divided into three historical waves.The first wave was the earliest period of feminist activism and included the period from the mid-nineteenth century until American women won the right to vote in 1920. The campaign organized around gaining voting rights for women was called the suffrage movement.The second wave was the period of feminist activity during the 1960s and 1970s, which is often associated with the issues of women’s equal access to employment and education.The third wave is the most recent period of feminist activity and focuses on issues of diversity and the variety of identities that women can possess.
  • Essentially, social feminists try to get people to understand that all aspects of our lives are influenced by gender. Social constructionists argue that gender and its importance and meaning in a society are constructed by that society. In other words, society assigns the meanings to gender and then we hold people accountable to those meanings. This is related to the concept of “double jeopardy.” Frances Beal was a black feminist who, in 1969, wrote: "Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female.” What she means is that being a member of one minority group may have certain disadvantages, but being a member of multiple minority groups amplifies those disadvantages even more. While black feminists might focus on the disadvantages of being a racial minority and a woman, there are other disadvantaged groups that should be considered as well. For instance, advantages might be available to able-bodied people, native English speakers, people who are bilingual, people who are attractive, people who are affluent, and so on.
  • Did you ever think about this when you applied for a job or for school? You might wonder why you have to check a box to tell someone your sex or your race. Postmodern theorists wonder about this, too. Why do we want to differentiate between groups of people unless we want to treat them differently? Essentially, social feminists try to get people to understand that all aspects of our lives are influenced by gender. Social constructionists argue that gender and its importance and meaning in a society are constructed by that society. In other words, society assigns the meanings to gender and then we hold people accountable to those meanings. This is related to the concept of “double jeopardy.” Frances Beal was a black feminist who, in 1969, wrote: "Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female.” What she means is that being a member of one minority group may have certain disadvantages, but being a member of multiple minority groups amplifies those disadvantages even more. While black feminists might focus on the disadvantages of being a racial minority and a woman, there are other disadvantaged groups that should be considered as well. For instance, advantages might be available to able-bodied people, native English speakers, people who are bilingual, people who are attractive, people who are affluent, and so on.
  • Schools are generally the first agent of socialization that children experience outside of their immediate families. This may be the first time that children are introduced to thoughts and ideas that contradict those of their families. Therefore, schools are a very important agent of socialization, and the messages that students receive in schools can certainly have a big impact on the way children think about themselves. Research shows that in school, teachers tend to favor boys in several ways: boys receive more attention and instructional time, are more likely to be called on in class, are posed with more challenging questions or tasks, and are given more praise for the quality of their work. What message does that send to the boys? To the girls?
  • The income gap is getting narrower, but it is still not equal. It is crucial to understand that what this means is that for a man and a woman who are equally qualified (same education, same skills, same experience), the woman is likely to be paid almost 25 percent less than a man applying for the same position. Although 23 cents on a dollar may not seem like a lot of money, if you are looking at annual salaries it is huge a man would be making $50,000 doing the same job as a woman getting only $38,500.When women do obtain positions that are typically dominated by men, they face enormous pressure. There is a sense that all women will be judged based on their performance, and they are often caught in a Catch-22 with regard to their behavior. If they “act just like a man,” they are seen as unfeminine and somehow unattractive; if they exhibit more feminine qualities, they are seen as “not tough enough.”Men working in female-dominated fields don’t seem to face the same scrutiny and challenges. In fact, studies show that such men advance more quickly (advance via the “glass escalator”) than their female counterparts.
  • Of course, as the cost of living continues to increase, this option becomes more and more difficult as many families depend on dual incomes to support their household expenses.

Transcript

  • 1. SECOND EDITION You May Ask Yourself Dalton Conley An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist Chapter 8 Gender
  • 2. Sex, Sexuality, and Gender •Sex - the natural or biological differences that distinguish males and females. •Sexuality – desire, sexual preference, sexual identity, and behavior. •Gender - social construct that consists of a set of social arrangements that are built around sex.
  • 3. Falling In Between •American perceptions of sex: – Sex = gender – Sex (and gender) are dichotomous • Intersexed – person born with genitals of both sexes, or with genitalia that looks like neither sex. • Transgendered – person who has “normal” genitalia of one sex, but identifies as another gender.
  • 4. Gender: What Does It Take to Be a Woman (or a Man)? • Ancient Greece: – “One-sex” model – Women were just males with inverted genitals. – Females were lesser, but not so different. – Both male and female orgasm were thought to be necessary for conception.
  • 5. Differences in Other Cultures • Navajo: – Masculine, feminine, and nadle • India: – Hijras • Brazil – Travesti • Margaret Mead – Arapesh, Mundugumor, and Tchambuli
  • 6. Differences across Time • Changes in feminine “beauty” – 17th Century • Fat = rich and healthy – By 1920's • Medical standards for healthy weight – 1950's • Beautiful, perfectly coiffed stay-at-home mom – 1980's • Sporty, independent working woman – Modern era • Supermom, who cooks, cleans, and still makes it to soccer practice
  • 7. Differences across Time • Masculinity is also contested, but not as strongly. • Masculine ideals have changed more often to reflect what is viewed as “powerful” at the time.
  • 8. Differences across Time
  • 9. Gender Differences Today • The Pain of Beauty – 8 million Americans have an eating disorder. •Of those, 90% are female. – 10.7 million women had cosmetic surgery •Women constitute 90% of cosmetic medical patients. •$12.5 billion on cosmetic surgery in 2004 in AMERICA ALONE! •Vulvoplasty and “vaginal rejuevination”
  • 10. Gender Differences Today
  • 11. Gender Differences Today • Hegemonic masculinity – dominant and privileged, if invisible, category of men. – So dominant that it easily escapes our attention. – Regarded as the norm against which all others are judged. • Gender roles - sets of behavioral norms assumed to accompany one’s status as a male or female.
  • 12. The Woman Question •A wide range of theories and approaches have been applied to the study of gender, including structural functionalism, psychoanalytic theory, conflict theory, microinteractionist theory, postmodern theory, middle-range theories, and ideas from black feminists.
  • 13. The Woman Question • Essentialism – line of thought that explains social phenomena in terms of natural ones. • Biological determinism – line of thought that explains social behavior in terms of biological givens.
  • 14. The Woman Question • “What explains the nearly universal dominance of men over women? What is the root of patriarchy?” • Patriarchy – a nearly universal system involving the subordination of femininity to masculinity.
  • 15. The Woman Question • Rubin's Sex/Gender System – Biological sex is transformed through kinship into asymmetrical gender statuses. – Incest taboos lead to commodification and trafficking of women. – Every society participates in some form; it is not a given, but the result of human interaction.
  • 16. The Woman Question • Parson's Sex Role Theory – Structural functionalism – Nuclear family is ideal arrangement. – Nuclear families reproduce workers to keep society going. – Sex, sexuality, and gender are stable and dichotomous, and each sex has a role to play. – Generally viewed as a flawed theory.
  • 17. The Woman Question • Psychoanalytic Theories – Freud's Developmental Psych •Masculinity and femininity developed through interactions with parents. •Oedipal complexes and penis envy – Nancy Chodorow •Parents' unequal childrearing leads little girls to identify as mothers and little boys as fathers. •Egalitarian gender relations would come from equal childrearing.
  • 18. The Woman Question • Psychoanalytic Theories (cont) – Carol Gilligan •Women – ethics of care •Men – System of rules – Janet Lever •Boys – competitive, rule-intensive •Girls – cooperative, shorter, less complex games
  • 19. The Woman Question • Psychoanalytic Theories (cont) – Melanie Klein •Boys suffer breast envy. – Jacequeline Stevens •Boys suffer pregnancy envy, and use career, power, and money to replace the baby they cannot have.
  • 20. The Woman Question • Conflict Theories – Socialist (or radical) feminists •Gender, not class, was the driving force of conflict and change. •All social relations stem from unequal gender relations. – Hartmann & MacKinnon •Capitalism combines with patriarchy to keep women in a dependent position.
  • 21. The Woman Question • Micro-level Interactionist – West and Zimmerman •Gender comes from interactions with others. •We don't exist as a gendered person; we “do” gender. – Social constructionism •Gender roles have open-ended scripts. •Individuals are always free to act, sometimes in unexpected ways. •Usually affirm expected gender scripts
  • 22. The Woman Question •Feminism - an intellectual, consciousness- raising movement based on the idea that women and men should be accorded equal opportunities and respect.
  • 23. The Woman Question •Gender is an organizing principle of life. •Gender structures social relations on unequal ground, and thus power is fundamentally at play when we talk about gender differences. •Black Feminism: – Discussions of feminism are framed in white, middle-class women's voices. – Patricia Hill Collins • Matrix of domination - intersections of race, class, and gender
  • 24. The Woman Question • Postmodern Theories – Oyeronke Oyewumi •The “woman question” is product of Western thought and cannot be applied to African (and maybe other) societies. •Yoruban society in West Africa •“Bio-logic”
  • 25. The Woman Question • Middle-range Approaches – Robert Connell •The social and the personal always depend on one another. •Gender structures are a feedback loop •The “woman question” is more about accounting for how people navigate within structures like gender.
  • 26. Growing Up, Getting Ahead, and Falling Behind • Sexism – occurs when a person's sex or gender is the basis for judgment, discrimination, and hatred against him or her. • Gendered differences – Career tracks – Birthweight and infant mortality – Adolescence and self-esteem – Mental Health
  • 27. Growing Up, Getting Ahead, and Falling Behind •Academic Differences – Behavior • Boys - called on more, interrupt girls, and are expected to be better at math and science. • Girls - bullied, put down, and expected to be better and language arts and social sciences. – Textbooks • U.S. Dept of Health, Education and Welfare (1975) – Boys – outdoors, active, important adventures – Girls – omitted or passive, dependent, and bored
  • 28. Gender in the Workplace •Workforce Participation – In 1970, 43% of women worked. – In 2008, 60% of women worked. • Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act • Sexual harassment – an illegal form of discrimination, involving everything from inappropriate jokes on the job to outright sexual assault to sexual “barter” - all intended to make women feel uncomfortable and unwelcome on the job – 1982 – Supreme Court ruled that sexual harassment is violation of Title VII.
  • 29. Gender in the Workplace • Wage gap – – 81 cents to every $1 – May be shrinking in some markets • “Pink collar” jobs • Male flight and female occupation of careers • Glass ceilings • Glass escalators
  • 30. Gender in the Workplace •“Opting out” – Perceived trend among mostly middle- class women. – Leaving the workforce to be full-time wives and mothers. – Popular in media, but little evidence to support it.
  • 31. Gender in the Workplace • Nijole Benokraitis & Joe Feagan – Nine types of subtle sexism • Condescending chivalry • Supportive discouragement • Friendly harassment • Subjective objectification • Radiant devaluation • Liberated sexism • Benevolent exploitation • Considerate domination • Collegial exclusion
  • 32. Gender in the Media
  • 33. Gender in the Dairy Section
  • 34. W. W. Norton & Company Independent and Employee-Owned This concludes the Lecture PowerPoint Presentation for For more learning resources, please visit our online StudySpace at: http://www.wwnorton.com/college/soc/conley2/ Chapter 8: Gender 34