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 .)
Hegemonic masculinity in this case refers to dominant socially constructed norms and values upheld as ideal for all males in a society. A hegemonically masculine man is an ideal one – and in Western societies, this often means being strong, aggressive, tall, lean, able-bodied, a breadwinner, possessing incredible sexual prowess, being a “man’s man”. Framed within an understanding of systems of oppression as interlocking, this hegemonic male is also white, middle-class, heterosexual, and Christian.
Essentialism explains social phenomenon in terms of natural one. It is fixed and absolute Biologic determinism – your social world is the direct result of your biological world. If you are born with male parts then you are a man and you will be attracted to women. There is a biologic reality but it ignores factors of social consturction.
If you ask experts at medical centers how often a child is born so noticeably atypical in terms of genitalia that a specialist in sex differentiation is called in, the number comes out to about 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 births. But a lot more people than that are born with subtler forms of sex anatomy variations, some of which won ’t show up until later in life. The words “hermaphrodite” and “pseudo-hermaphrodite” are stigmatizing and misleading words. Unfortunately, some medical personnel still use them to refer to people with certain intersex conditions, because they still subscribe to an outdated nomenclature that uses gonadal anatomy as the basis of sex classification. In a paper titled Changing the Nomenclature/Taxonomy for Intersex: A Scientific and Clinical Rationale , five ISNA-associated experts recommend that all terms based on the root “hermaphrodite” be abandoned because they are scientifically specious and clinically problematic. The terms fail to reflect modern scientific understandings of intersex conditions, confuse clinicians, harm patients, and panic parents. We think it is much better for everyone involved when specific condition names are used in medical research and practice.
These questions might get you into a discussion about scripts and gender roles.
My score – 78 masculine 81 feminine 63 androgenous Ask your students if they can identify specific examples of gender role socialization in their own lives. For instance, were they ever told that a specific behavior wasn ’t appropriate because they were either a boy or a girl? Did they ever receive a harsher or more lenient punishment because they either were a boy or a girl? Students are sometimes hesitant to think that the way that they act out their gender has been socially constructed, yet they are remarkably astute in noticing differences in the ways they have been treated in their own lives as a result of their biological sex and subsequent gender role socialization.
Do you think this will encourage a healthy discussion with parents? Should Ken have penis? Should there be a pregnant Barbie? A lesbian Barbie?
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.
Figure 8.4 Pay Discrepancy Based on Gender
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.
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.
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.
Some feminists see sexuality as an expression of the unequal distribution of power between men and women and argue that women don ’t really choose heterosexuality but have it imposed on them by a male-dominated society. Alfred Kinsey suggested that human sexuality was far more diverse than was commonly assumed. His own studies led him to believe that people were not exclusively heterosexual or homosexual but could fall along a wide spectrum.
Michel Foucault relates the emergence of the homosexual identity to the development of scientific disciplines and a desire to monitor and categorize people and behavior. Foucault also introduced the notion that self-surveillance is a form of social control.
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender2 Sex refers to the natural or biological differences that distinguish males and females. Sexuality refers to desire, sexual preference, sexual identity, and behavior. Gender is a social construct that consists of a set of social arrangements that are built around sex.
Discussion Questions7 Let’s say you are on a first date with a person of the opposite sex. Who should pay? a) the man b) the woman c) The person who did the inviting should pay. d) The man and woman should split the bill.
Gender: What Does It Take to Be a Woman (or a Man)?8 Gender roles are sets of behavioral norms assumed to accompany one’s status as a male or female. Evidence shows that gender roles have more to do with social status than biology.
What critics say Allows girls to Is known as a believe they can do “sexual idol” anything, only to be let down later in life Portrays an unrealistic image Supports the idea of through body never failing which measurements will confuse children later on
Cindy Jackson Spent $55,000 to look like Barbie Went through 20 plastic surgeries Purpose: wanted to be a real-life Barbie
Measurements Barbie in real life; Chest: 38 in. Waist: 18 in. Hips: 34 in. Height: 5’6” Weight: 120 lbs.
Role modeling Due to a lack of body fat, Barbie would not be capable to menstruate
Toy manufactures and genderstereotyping. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MDZeSeaRk4&list=PLC74BA4B0EF445F8C&feature=plcp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaXEWSCCOUM&feature=context-chf&playnext=1&list=PL1E2EC6AAAD0C422B
TV adds directed at children http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3zBgmDjEc8&feature=context-chf&playnext=1&list=PLD554CF6753FC64AF http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce5-EA2issk&feature=context-chf&playnext=1&list=PL09AB2DD264EB5C1C
Feminism19 Feminism is an intellectual, consciousness- raising movement based on the idea that women and men should be accorded equal opportunities and respect.
Feminism21 Feminism seeks to get people to understand that 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.
The Woman Question22 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.
The Woman Question23 Structural Functionalist Approach of studying gender: Assumes that gender differences exist to fulfill necessary functions in society Doesn’t allow for the possibility that other structures could fulfill the same function or for the fact that structures change throughout history
The Woman Question25 Psychoanalytic theories of studying gender: focus on individualistic explanations for gender differences as opposed to societal ones. Inherent in these theories is the notion that there are natural differences between men and women that dictate how they behave.
The Woman Question26 Conflict theories argue that patriarchal capitalists benefit through systems that subordinate women.
Gender in the Workplace28 Women still face many challenges in the working world today, including unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexism, tracking to certain kinds of jobs, the “feminization” of jobs, the glass ceiling, and more.
The Woman Question29 Socialist feminists argue that all social relations, including relations between workers and the owners of the means of production, stem from unequal gender relations. Social constructionists argue that gender is a process that people participate in with every social interaction they have.
The Woman Question30 Black feminists pointed out that gender doesn’t function in a vacuum and that gender studies must take into account that there is no single category of women or men They also pointed out that some women are not only more privileged than other women but also more privileged than some men.
The Woman Question32 Middle-range theories may be the most useful in addressing the complicated subject of gender because they connect people’s day-to- day experiences to larger social forces.
The Demise of Guys? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVEHeY8sY5Q33
Sociology in the Bedroom34 Much like gender differences, sexual practices vary across time and place, supporting the notion that sexuality is as much a social construct as gender.
Sociology in the Bedroom35 Homosexuality, which refers to the social identity of a person who has sexual attraction to and/or relations with people of the same sex, is a concept or identity that emerged in the mid- nineteenth century.
Will social media be a liberatinginfluence? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR4LdnFGzPk36
37 Sexual harassment is an illegal form of discrimination that can be manifested through ___________, with the intent of making a person, usually a woman, feel uncomfortable or unsafe, particularly in a work setting. a) inappropriate jokes b) sexual assault c) requests for sexual favors d) all of the above
38 Women working in male-dominated professions often find that there are ________ opportunities for advancement, and men working in female-dominated professions often advance _________ their female colleagues. a) limited; more slowly than b) limited; as quickly as c) ample; as quickly as d) limited; more quickly than