Sex, gender and feminisms


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Slides from Studying Social Life. This week we are looking at sociological interpretations of Sex, Gender and introduce a few strands of feminism.

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  • Sex, gender and feminisms

    1. 1. Gender and Feminisms
    2. 2. Outline Social construction of gender (and sex) Gender inequality Multiple Feminisms Crisis of Masculinity
    3. 3. Sex and Gender Sex is the biologically based distinction between males and females Gender is the culturally based distinction between masculine and feminine
    4. 4. Social construction of sex and gender Gender differences presented as natural, this is wrong. This is fairly contentious, evolutionary psychology/ sociobiology would disagree with this! Even sex can be socially constructed Gender role socialisation
    5. 5. Gender as performative A27CF&index=32
    6. 6. Brainstorm gender stereotypes Masculine Feminine
    7. 7. How are gender differences created and reinforced? In groups, discuss gender role socialisation across Family, School Media
    8. 8. Problems with gender role socialisation • Ignores other differences (ie class, ethnicity) • Assumes that there are clear gender roles • And assumes only two genders (transgenderism) • Assumes women passively adopt their given roles • Does not explain the power differences
    9. 9. Gender Inequality Women tend to be paid less, more likely to work part-time, lower status jobs
    10. 10. Global Gender Gap Index • The index examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories (or sub indexes): • economic participation and opportunity, • educational attainment, • health and survival, • political empowerment. • 134 Countries assessed •
    11. 11. BREAK
    12. 12. Liberal feminism Neither gender benefits from inequality Aims for gradual change Equal opportunities (e.g. Equal Pay Act 1970)
    13. 13. Feminist critiques of sociology 1. Sociology has tended to only study men 2. And extrapolate for whole population 3. Areas of life of particular concern to women not studied (e.g. housework) 4. When included, women are studied in distorted way (e.g. female criminality) 5. Sex and gender rarely seen as explanatory variables (focus on class)
    14. 14. Sexual Division of Labour Masculine jobs Feminine jobs Public Private/ Domestic Paid Unpaid Physical Emotional Is this natural? Inevitable? Desirable?
    15. 15. Patriarchy and radical feminists Patriarchy is a society dominated and ruled by men. Family is key institution of oppression. Radical feminists want to overthrow patriarchy wide range of views on how to do this, from androgyny to matriarchy Problems Patriarchy is descriptive rather than explanatory Focuses on negative aspects of male-female relationships Unnecessarily sees men as the enemy
    16. 16. Marxist Feminism Capitalism is principal source of women’s oppression Mainly through women’s unpaid labour production of new workers Gender differences would be erased in communist society But this hasn’t happened
    17. 17. Crisis of Masculinity Decline of traditional male employment Decline of male power and influence in society (+ rise of women) Underachievement in education Medical technology, men aren’t even necessary any more
    18. 18. Group work Is there a crisis of masculinity? What might the following say about it: Liberal feminists Radical feminists Marxist feminists
    19. 19. Are the sexes equal today?