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Sc2218 lecture 6 (2010)

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SC2218 Lecture 6: Gender and Sexuality (2010)

SC2218 Lecture 6: Gender and Sexuality (2010)

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  • 1. SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 6: Gender and Sexuality Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2008/2009
  • 2. Where Are We Going?
    • Part 1: What is Anthropology?
      • Strangers Abroad, Race, Culture
    • Part 2: What do Anthropologists Study?
      • Kinship
      • Gender
      • Economy
      • Community
    • Part 3: Current Debates and Trends
      • Representing Others, The Poetry of Culture, World Anthropologies
    YOU ARE HERE
  • 3. Lecture Outline: Gender and Sexuality
    • Gender, Kinship, Social Organization and Power.
      • Patrilineality, Partrilocality, and Patriarchy
      • Matrilineality, Matrilocality, and Egalitarianism
    • Sex, Gender, Sexuality – What’s the Difference?
    • Gender Pluralism and Third Genders
    • Ways in which Sex/Sexuality influences Gender
      • Dedicated Heterosexuality
      • Sex for social bonding
  • 4. Patri- and Matri- (Some Terminology) Patri- (male) Matri- (female) -archy (rule, govern) -lineal (in the line of) -local (residence, location) Patriarchy: society in which power is disproportionately held by men Examples: Matrilineal: society in which property, names, status, etc. is inherited through women Patrilocal: society in which married couples live with the man’s side of the family *These are all different things; a society can be matrilineal but patriarchal
  • 5. Words You Should Know
    • Patrilineal – inheritance through fathers
    • Matrilineal – inheritance through mothers
    • Bilateral – inheritance through both
    • Patrilocal – living with father’s side
    • Martilocal – living with mother’s side
    • Neolocal – living in a new place
    • Patriarchal – society in which men more empowered
    • Matriarchal – society in which women are more empowered
    • Egalitarian – society in which men and women are (more-or-less) equally empowered
  • 6. Patrilineal, Patrilocal* Systems
    • Patrilineal inheritance (a cultural rule):
      • Property passes from fathers to sons
    • Patrilocal residence (a cultural rule):
      • Women live with husband’s family
    • Common in China, India, Europe
      • While the cultural basis of much “Asian Values” talk, it is clearly not exclusively “Asian”
    *Also called “virilocal”: living with the man/husband
  • 7. Matrilineal, Matrilocal* Systems
    • Matrilineal inheritance (a cultural rule):
      • Property passes from mothers to daughters
    • Matrilocal residence (a cultural rule):
      • Men live with wife’s family
    • Common in Southeast Asia, Africa (including !Kung San), Native America
    • Found in China (Yunnan, Sichuan), India
    *Also called “uxorilocal”: living with the uncle/mother’s-brother
  • 8. Why have patrilineal or matrilineal inheritance? What are the social effects of these cultural rules?
  • 9. Thought Question
    • Why would any parents or any society be so mean as to give all their property to only one child or only to one gender?
    Parents 4 Children 16 Grandchildren 32 Great- Grandchildren Large Plot Medium Plot Small Plot Tiny Plot!
  • 10. “ Dadi’s Family”
    • What cultural patterns can you identify in the marriage and kinship structures of “Dadi’s Family”?
    • What conflicts emerge because of those patterns?
    • How are those patterns changing? What social and economic forces are putting pressure on the kinship system of Dadi’s family?
    • What roles to different people in the family play? How does the cultural model of kinship influence what individuals in the family say and do?
  • 11. Creating Mothers-in-law
    • Kinship (cultural rules) turns biological reproduction into social reality.
    • “ Mother-in-law” = mother of your spouse.
    • Mothers-in-law are very important in patrilineal, patrilocal systems; but not so much in matrilineal, matrilocal systems.
    • WHY?
  • 12. Mothers-in-law & Daughters-in-law
    • As daughters-in-law, women move into families where they are newcomers, without connections and social support. They have little power.
    • Women gain power by producing sons; who in turn marry, creating new daughters-in-law.
    • Over their life cycle, vulnerable daughters-in-law become powerful mothers-in-law. (But only by giving birth to sons.)
  • 13. Patrilineal, Patrilocal Rules produce Patriarchal Relationships
    • Women are dependent on men. Their social status (and livelihood) depends on marrying a husband and producing sons.
    • Girls are of little value to their families; they are “married off” and join husband’s family.
    • Structurally and functionally , the system provides an incentive for women to support it (becoming a mother-in-law); even though it is systemically oppressive to women.
  • 14. Matrilineal Systems: Minangkabau
    • Daughters inherit land and houses from Mothers.
    • Sons “merantau” – leave the community, go abroad to seek their fortune.
    • Men return with wealth, marry into women’s families.
  • 15. Matrilineal, Matrilocal Rules produce Egalitarian Relationships
    • Women are not dependent on husbands or sons – they own property in their own right. Girls are of value to their parents.
    • Men are not dependent on women; they must “make their fortune” to be eligible husbands – but that wealth is “theirs”.
    • Mother’s-brothers (uncles) are more important figures of authority than fathers.
  • 16. Other Effects of Matrilineality
    • Minangkabau men are renowned traders (Matrilineality inspires entrepreneurship!).
    • Much less rape and domestic violence.
      • Gender relationships are more equal.
      • Authority figures in boy’s lives (uncles) are not their mother’s sexual partners (father/husband); sex and power are not as strongly linked in men’s sense of masculinity.
    • Divorce more common (marriage less enduring).
      • Easier for both men and women to “walk away”.
  • 17. Bilateral, Neolocal Systems
    • Bilateral inheritance (a cultural rule):
      • Property passes from parents to children (without respect to gender)
    • Neolocal residence (a cultural rule):
      • Couples live in a new place; away from parents
    • Common in Industrial and Post-Industrial Societies around the World
      • Very commonly accompanied everywhere with talk about the loss of “traditional family values”
  • 18. Why the Shift to Bilateral, Neolocal Systems?
    • Shift away from need to maintain large plots of land for agriculture (most people work in cities).
    • Without this need, parents are not inclined to discriminate between their children based on gender (bilateral inheritance).
    • Systems of mass production and mass consumption reorganize society (e.g. factories).
    • Children are incorporated into new institutions (e.g. companies, nation-states) and rely less on kinship systems (neolocal residence).
  • 19. Sex, Gender and Sexuality What is the difference?
  • 20. What makes boys and girls different?
  • 21.  
  • 22.  
  • 23. Boy Meets Girl?
  • 24. Sex / Gender / Sexuality
    • Sex refers to the bodies we have as a result of biological processes (e.g. genetics); Genitalia, Hormones, Baldness, Facial Hair, Breasts, etc.
    • Gender refers to social-cultural elaborations of sex ; social practices and cultural roles associated with sex characteristics.
    • Sexuality refers to social-cultural elaborations (especially identities) related to sexual behavior ; activities (ways of ‘having sex’), desires, relational identities (gay, straight, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, etc.)
  • 25. Examples of Gender and Sexuality (“elaborations on” Biological Sex)
    • Example 1: Marriage systems
    • Example 2: Gendered inheritance systems
  • 26. Example 1: Marriage
    • What is Marriage?
    • All human societies have something that looks like marriage…
    • But from the perspective of every society, the concept of “marriage” in other societies seems not quite right …
    • Marriage is a culturally sanctioned sexual relationship (and even then, you can be “married” but not have sex!!)
  • 27. Example 2: Inheritance Patterns
    • From last lecture: Patrilineal, Matrilineal and Bilateral inheritance
    • Patrilineal and Matrilineal both “use sex difference” (male/female) to culturally sanction inheritance.
    • Two different rules solve the same problem (inheritance of land), but have very different consequences.
    • The cultural rules are not determined by the facts of sexual difference; they are “built upon” those facts.
  • 28. More Examples (“elaborations on” Biological Sex)
    • Ideas about Masculinity and Femininity
      • “ Structures of Appropriate Behavior”
    • Male initiation rituals
    • Gendered division of labor & gender roles.
    • Patriarchy
    • Key point: None of these are “caused” by sex differences. They are all elaborations on sex differences and vary widely cross-culturally
  • 29. INTERMISSION… For your consideration: “Best Gender Song” Voted by the Gender Studies Class of 2008/2009
  • 30. Third Genders & Gender Pluralism
    • Binary (Two) Gender systems reflect the strong “bimodal” distribution of sex (most people are by-and-large “male” or “female”)
    • Third Genders and Gender Pluralism reflect the both the cultural flexibility of ascribing gender and the fact that sex and sexuality are not strictly “bimodal” or strictly heterosexual.
  • 31. Examples of Gender Pluralism
    • Berdache or “Two Spirit People”
      • Common in native North America (see: The Gender Tango).
    • Billy Tipton (see: The Gender Tango)
    • Gender Pluralism in Southeast Asia
      • Pondan, Banci (Malaysia, Indonesia)
      • Transgender ritual specialists (e.g. Bugis)
      • Katoey (Thailand)
      • See: Michael Peletz, Current Anthropology (2006)
  • 32. Common Terms
    • Binary (Two) Gender Systems: Cultures in which only two genders (e.g. “man” and “woman” are recognized or legitimized)
    • Third Genders: Gender identities beyond two ( katoey in Thailand; pondan in Malaysia; berdache in Native America…)
    • Gender Pluralism: Cultural acceptance of more than two genders.
  • 33. Gender versus Sexuality
    • Gender and Sexuality are very closely related, but not the same.
    • “ Gay” and “Straight” – refers to sexuality (sexual practices)
    • Pondan, Katoey, Berdache, Man, Woman, etc. are “gender” identities (a broader category than mere sexual practices).
  • 34. “ The Gender Tango”
    • What sex was Billy Tipton? What gender was Billy Tipton?
    • What gender are Berdache (among Native Americans)?
    • What are common characteristics of women cross-culturally?
    • What are common characteristics of men cross-culturally?
    • What does it mean to say that masculinity (or femininity ) is a “structure of appropriate behavior”? Give examples from the film.
  • 35. Ways in which the Human Sex/Sexuality Shapes Gender
    • Two Examples:
    • “ Dedicated” Heterosexuality
    • Sex for Social Bonding
      • Incorporating men into parental care (the sexual exchange system)
  • 36. How Sex Came About…
  • 37. The Human Sexual System
    • Humans are “dedicated heterosexuals”.
    • By the time we are born, our bodies are sexually differentiated – either female or male – and remain so throughout our lives.
    Homo sapiens sapiens
    • Hydra reproduce asexually by budding (clones).
    • “ Gender” would have no basis in such a system.
    • Clown fish are male-to-female hermaphrodites.
    • “ Gender” would perhaps be an aspirational system…
    • Every male would aspire to one day become female.
  • 38. Human Hermaphrodites
    • A small percentage of all humans born are hermaphrodites or “intersexed”
    • Intersexed individuals are born with ‘ambiguous’ sexual characteristics; they have both male and female characteristics.
    • Transsexuals and transvestites create ‘ambiguity’. Some are born intersexed; some are not.
    • Sometimes, a person’s body is masculinized but his/her brain is not (or vis-a-versa)… “A woman stuck in a man’s body.”
    The Reclining Hermaphrodite 1 st century BCE sculpture Transvestite/Transsexual Girl Band: Venus Fly Trap
  • 39. Effects of “Dedicated Heterosexuality”
    • Gender can exist. (With clones, it wouldn’t)
    • Gender is perceived by individuals as relatively “unchanging” because our sexual biology is “unchanging”
    • The small numbers of “hermaphrodites” mean:
      • Most individuals fall at one of two poles: Male or Female (= tendency to “two gender system”)
      • Some individuals biologically do not fall easily into one of these categories (= a biological argument for “third genders”)
  • 40. Sex for Social Bonding
    • Sex is costly – time, energy, danger of getting caught (by predators or competitors; not mom and dad!).
    • Poor reproductive efficiency (lots and lots of sex, but relatively few offspring) does not make sense… unless something else is going on .
    • In humans, sexuality has evolved to be at least as much about social (pair) bonding as about reproduction.*
    *Not only in humans, this is true in other species as well, such as Bonobo Chimpanzees. (Compared to bonobos, human use of sex for social bonding is simple and primitive!)
  • 41. The Oddity of Human Sexuality
    • Hidden Ovulation
    • Sex for bonding as much as for biological reproduction.
    • And, by the way… homosexual activity is not an oddity of human sexuality, it is very common among other animals .
  • 42. Hidden Ovulation
    • Almost all female mammals have an estrous cycle, allowing both females and males to know when a female is ovulating.
    • This allows for greater reproductive efficiency.
    • Humans have hidden ovulation (no estrus).
    • Neither males nor females know when a female is ovulating.
    • Humans have VERY poor reproductive efficiency!
    • WHY?
    Baboon in Estrus
  • 43. Fact: Human Offspring Require Substantial Care, Feeding and Investment of Resources Who is going to do this?
  • 44. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!?
    • Mommy. Very good choice. But NEEDS HELP!
    • Family Dog. Not Recommended.
  • 45. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!?
    • Grandma. Good, if not reproductive & still alive.
    • The Grandmother Hypothesis: Why we live so long.
  • 46. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!?
    • Siblings. Ok but… Must be old enough to do childcare, but not yet having babies themselves.
  • 47. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!?
    • Aunts, Uncles, Friends & Neighbors. Ok but…
    • They are busy taking care of their own kids!
  • 48. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!?
    • Non-reproducing females (or males). Example: Maids
    • Only possible in complex, hierarchical societies.
  • 49. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!?
    • Daddy. Good, but . . .
    • How to overcome the disincentives to fathering?
    • How to get daddy to stick around and help out?
  • 50. Adult Male Adult Female Infant Surplus Resources Sexual Gratification Surplus Resources Human Pair Bonding & Sexual Exchange System This is only one part of human exchange, sexuality, and bonding systems. For example, Fathers very commonly give resources to children (in the absence of any relationship to the Mother). Men and Women very commonly exchange things other than sex for resources. Pure LOVE does exist ; but, it to is only one small part of the human system.
  • 51. Ongoing “incorporation” of males into society
    • For mammals, there is a strong inclination toward infant-mother bonding.
    • Male mammals are not generally as strongly bonded to others.
    • A cultural solution is “male initiation rituals”
  • 52. The “Nature” of Gender and Sexuality?
    • Naturalization is the process of treating the norm (most common) cultural behavior as natural .
    • Behavior outside the norm is called “ unnatural .”
    • Ideas about gender are commonly “naturalized.”
    • Cultural systems create an idea of what is “natural.” They are not merely a reflection of “the way the world is.”
    • Is “natural” meaningful? It is commonly used in moral arguments (homosexuality or female leadership is not ‘natural’ and therefore wrong*).
    *Air-conditioning is certainly not “natural”. I have yet to hear anyone demand it be banned or outlawed on that basis?
  • 53. Gender and Sexuality: Summing Up
    • Gender and Sexuality are a cultural systems “ built on ” sex
      • They are socially and culturally constructed
    • Sexual biology matters – if we were hydra or clown fish, we would have different gender systems or none at all.
    • BUT, we can and do build many different gender and sexual systems.
    • AND, our gender and sexual systems can influence or change our sexual biology… body modification; age of reproduction; number of offspring; etc…
  • 54. Bye-bye . . . See you next week in two weeks!