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  • 1. GENDER IN SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS PRESENTATION Chapter Seven: Families ! By Nathan Davis
  • 2. Meet Sasha Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper attempted to raise their child, Sasha, free from the stereotypes of gender and took an extremely pro-active approach in trying to withhold their child’s sex until kindergarten (page 141). 
  • 3. When news of Sasha and the way the child was raised made news headlines, the response was overwhelmingly negative. The general public, having not been educated about intersectionality, assumed that gender can be defined as male or female and their associated stereotypical (binary) behaviors should follow their sex. These ideas about gender and roles, are defined as institutional social constructions (page 142).
  • 4. The text leads with this story because the authors feel it is a good introduction to two central myths about family (page 142) 1. There is only one normal form of family. ! 2. Variations of that norm will hurt the family and society.
  • 5. Well, what exactly is a family and what does it look like?
  • 6. like this and this and this
  • 7. Any group of people united by ties of marriage, blood, or adoption, or any sexually expressive relationship, in which: ! The adults cooperate financially for their mutual support, ! the people are committed to one another in an  intimate interpersonal relationship, ! the members see their individual identities as importantly attached to the group, and ! the group has an identity of its own. (DeGenova, Stinnett, & Stinnett, 2011, p. 5)
  • 9. “Families are not merely influenced by gender; rather, families are organized by gender” (Haddock, Zimmerman, & Lyness, 2003, p. 304). This organization is apparent in the prescribed roles played in many families: mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, in-laws. These roles are sex marked and designate responsibilities, expectations, and power.”
  • 10. While one may say “none of that stuff is true today, I do the laundry at my house and I’m a dude!” Well, the book points out that just knowing “noncompliance” means that the stereotype expectation is alive and well (page 143)
  • 11. FAMILY AS AN INSTITUTION; terms to know with examples:
  • 12. Micro-practices: whose chore is it to vacuum? Whose chore is it usually? Macrostructures: What chore gets done when, based on availability of time Law: How much do you get paid to vacuum vs. cook dinner?
  • 13. MYTH ONE: The Nuclear Family as the Norm.
  • 14. Two people of the opposite sex, married, who fit their gender roles and the wife is a homemakerand the husband the primary wage earner. Often this arrangement is viewed as “the best” and a foundation of society (page 144)
  • 15. Throughout history this family set up has not prevailed due to many factors but the reality is that few households with exception of middle, upper class, could pull it off. In fact, the nuclear arrangement also lead to the notion that a women’s worth was defined by her domestic achievements and submissiveness (page 144)
  • 16. This arrangement was further solidified in the 1950’s (shocking!) with the advent of many popular TV shows perpetuating the nuclear family model. The books points out that consumerism in the 1950’s actually increased and more women left the home to work. 
  • 17. Question: Why is the model, that seemed not to work, still around? Answer: Hetereonormativity Defined:The normality and “naturalization” of two sexes that are attracted to one another. Marriage and family is the “correct way to be,” “right thing to do” and same sex couples are “wrong.” This definition also encompasses “legal, cultural, organizational and interpersonal practices.”
  • 18. Friendship and heterosexual romance: Culture in the US emphasizes that marriage is the most important relationship and cross-sex friendships for heterosexuals and same- sex friendships for LGBTQ are discouraged (page 145).
  • 19. Take a brief inventory of your own personal friendships and take inventory of yourself about the traits that you share with your friends. These traits can include gender/sex, sexual orientation, race/ ethnicity, age, nationality and religion.
  • 20. What did you find?
  • 21. Dating: Movies have shaped our reality when it comes to dating in the United States. We are shown images of attractive men and women where the men are attracted to the beautiful woman and the woman has to make herself attractive for the man. The man is expected to initiate the sexual end of the relationship and them woman will take care of the “relationship maintenance.” 
  • 22. White Weddings Little kids are taught to play “weddings” from an early age and it has become a statement in US culture that when you get married, you become an adult. Young children are taught to flirt and date the opposite gender and not have cross-sex friendships. 
  • 23. MYTH #2: The US family is in decline
  • 24. Since the early 1990’s, the notion propagated by the religious right and conservative politicians is that America is “losing its family values.” (page 149) The fear is that the nuclear family is in decline and we are moving further away from that unsustainable model, which is true but as the text points out, probably for good reason.
  • 25. Parent-Child Communication: Parents have most commonly made up their mind on what sex they want their child to be even before they are born and start shaping their ideas on how they are going to interact with that child based on the child’s sex. Parents then start rewarding behavior that coincides with gender behavior based on their sex (page 152).
  • 26. Interestingly, it has been reported that little girls are encouraged to play and behave like a stereotypical boy while boys are discouraged to have stereotypical feminine traits for fear they will be mistreated by others.
  • 27. Children start to learn from their parent’s gender cues and actually start to play a role in constricting their play habits to fit their gender identity. They only want to play with certain people and certain toys that fit their prescribed gender role. (page 153)
  • 28. Couple Communication Who does the housework? If we were looking at the “perfect” 1950’s family, the man would go to work and the woman would stay home and do the house work but the reality is that many women didn’t stay home. They went to work, too. Even after women started working outside the home, they continued doing most of the housework while working a job.
  • 29. In recent years, this has become more balanced, but there is still a large housework deficit when it comes to equality of men and women. (page 154)
  • 30. Conflict Communication As a society, we have been taught certain ways to communicate based on our gender. For instance, men have been taught to withdraw from an argument while women have been taught to “demand.” (page 155) Because of these binary gender roles in relationships, it has led to more marital/relationship problems.
  • 31. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Domestic Violence can be defined as physical, psychological, and/or sexual abuse within a couple or family unit.
  • 32. Domestic violence is in direct conflict with the notion of a couple or family unit. A relationship should shield one from such things and because of the intimacy of the problem, domestic violence is often not talked about. (page 156)
  • 34. Coercive Controlling Violence Men who feel they are not effectively being represented as head of the household (gender expectation) will turn to physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. Often one of their main goals is to ruin the self-esteem of the partner (page 156).
  • 35. Violent Resistance: The partner takes protecting themselves into their own hands. Example: A woman murders her partner in self defense.
  • 36. Situational Couple Violence: Unplanned violence against each other that can be brought on by a number of factors. Stress, bickering, flirting, etc.
  • 37. Flexible and Diverse Family Structures: Singles: People who are not in a relationship and may or may not have children. There is a stereotype that raising a child in this situation is negative, especially if the child is of the opposite sex of the parent. Singles report that once they have a child, they face societal pressure to find a partner for marriage.
  • 38. Engaged Fatherhood The idea that the man should be out earning money for the family and be “distant” emotionally at home continues in American society even when men are playing a larger role as primary caregivers. ~a 2010 census.
  • 39. Bureau report shows nearly 3 million men report being single fathers, up from 393,000 in 1970. A growing body of research documents men’s increased efforts at engaged parenting. (page 159)
  • 40. The authors of the book cite work that examines how masculinity and gendered violence, i.e. the idea of “fight like a man!” has created a social reality where men are EXPECTED to be aggressive and women to be submissive, is having an impact on men’s relationships with their children.
  • 41. Perhaps this can. Watch this amazing 19 year old man speak about his experience living with his two moms: ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMLZO-sObzQ Same Sex Parents: News flash, children raised by homosexual parents are just as successful as children raised by straight parents. A common objection to “allowing” homosexuals to be parents is they will raise their children to be gay. If you can’t figure out what is wrong with that argument, then I can’t help you.
  • 42. Conclusion: Make an effort to not use or rely on gender stereotypes. At the end of the day, we are all human and should be treated with respect no matter where a person falls on the gender spectrum. Don’t judge others because they don’t fit what you have been taught or they don’t act how you feel they should based on their gender. Most of what you think is right and “normal” is a learned behavior and is detrimental to our society. The sooner we start accepting people for who they are, move away from gendered behaviors and stereotypes, the better the world will become.