SC2220: Gender StudiesLecture 1: Introduction toGender Studies Eric C. Thompson Semester 2, 2010/2011
WARNING:This is course contains material about SEX and SEXUALITY.If discussion and depictions ofSEX and SEXUALITY offend youDO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE.* *If you have concerns about the course content, please discuss with the instructor.
Today’s Lecture Introduction to the Course What is expected for the course? (Assignments) What is the course Wiki? What is on the Final Exam? Introduction to Gender Studies Changing Gender Relations and Feminism What is Feminism? From the Sociology of Women to Gender Studies
Assignments & Evaluation Discussion Group (Tutorials) Participation (10%) Be prepared to discuss all material up to date (see syllabus). Wiki Collaboration and Participation (15%) Course Wiki: http://sc2220.wetpaint.com All course participants are expected to contribute notes and commentary to the Wiki Group Project (15%) Group assigned in First Discussion Group Session (Tutorial) Analysis of Popular Representations of Gender Presentation of Analysis on the Course Wiki Final Exam (60%) Cumulative & Comprehensive All material from lecture, tutorials, readings & films
Wiki Participation Gender Studies http://sc2220.wetpaint.com A Wiki is “a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content.” Why a Wiki? – Participation, Collaboration, Learning, Producing, Creating The power of “Peer-to-Peer” learning… Lecturers are a guide; the Wiki is a place to go deeper. Minimum Requirement: Two Substantial Contributions during the term (one in each half of the semester). A “Substantial Contribution” = About 500 words or more.
Modes of Wiki Participation 1. Contribute to the Wiki pages for the main readings, films or lectures for the class by summarizing the main points and content and/or writing a commentary on the content. 2. Read a supplementary article or view a supplementary film related to the course content and complete a summary and commentary on that article or film. 3. Write a commentary on contemporary gender issues, based on news sources (such as the Straits Times, television, blogs, etc.). Summarize the issue, cite the sources where you read or learned about it, and give your own analysis and opinion on the issue. At least one of your contributions should be of type 2 or 3.
Instructors and Materials Prof. Eric Thompson, lecturer (email@example.com) Lynnette Chan, tutor (firstname.lastname@example.org) Readings (see syllabus for details) Required Readings – available in your course pack or download from IVLE e-reserves Supplementary Readings – academic articles or book chapters on Gender Studies Films (see syllabus for details) Required Films – selections to be shown in lectures; also available on IVLE multimedia Supplementary Films – documentary films on Gender Studies
Final Exam April 29, Morning Check IVLE for details of time and venue The Exam will be a Comprehensive Essay Exam You are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the course material (i.e. by discussing theories and examples from the course lectures, readings and films) The Exam will consist of three sections with one or more questions in each section. You will write an essay answering ONE question in each section. You will write a total of THREE essays.
QUESTION: What is on the final exam? ANSWER: Everything. HINT: Look at the exam papers for SC2220 from 2008/2009, 2007/2008, 2006/2007
Overview of the Course Weeks 1-3: Gender, Sex, Sexuality The Basis of Gender in Biology and Socialization Week 4: GONG XI FA XAI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Weeks 5-7: Gender, Culture and Ideology Ways We Think about Gender. Weeks 8-10: Gender, Economics and Power Ways We Do Gender. Weeks 11-13: Gender Here and Now Gender Issues in Singapore, Gender and You!
Changing Gender Relations:19th-21st Centuries Gender Studies arose in the mid-20th century, in the context of general social changes, social movements (feminism) and changing gender relations (from tradition to modernity). General Social Changes: Industrialization, Urbanization, Democratization, Socialism, Capitalism, Nationalism, Colonialism & Postcolonialism, Globalization, etc. Social Movements: Demands for Voting Rights (Suffrage), Access to Education, Job Opportunities, Protection from Exploitation/Harassment, Social Welfare, Religious Freedoms, etc… In general: FEMINISM
Social Change (America) 19th Century: Anti-slavery (abolitionist) movement; freedom & equality for slaves linked to freedom & equality for women. 1848 – Seneca Falls Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments (“First Wave Feminism”) 1920 – Right to vote for Women (suffrage) 1942-1945 (WWII) – Women enter the workforce to replace men who have gone off to war. “Rosie the Riveter” 1950s – Pressure on women to return to ‘traditional’ roles in post-war America
Social Change (America) 1960s–1970s: “Baby boom” generation, changing social attitudes (e.g. Mary Tyler Moore); “Second Wave” Feminism 1980s: “Backlash”, return to conservativism under Ronald Reagan; yet significant gains for women are now taken for granted (education; careers) 1990s – “Third Wave” Feminism; from a “Women’s Movement” to “Girl Power”
Waves of Feminism* First Wave: 19th – early 20th C. Women’s Suffrage (voting rights) Second Wave: 1960s – 1980s Equality in all things: Education, Work, Pay, Dishwashing, etc. Third Wave: 1990s – present Diverse Responses to “Second Wave” Feminism (including but not limited to “Girl Power”) *All based mainly on American history; Similar “waves” have been constructed for Singapore.
Is Feminism . . . ? A doctrine suggesting that women are systematically disadvantaged in modern society and advocating equal opportunities for men and women. (Dictionary of Sociology; Penguin Publishing) A social movement which seeks to achieve equality between the sexes by extension of rights for women. (Oxford Dictionary of Sociology) “‘Women’ is an unstable category ... and feminism is the site of the systematic fighting out of that instability.” (Riley, p.5)
Liberal Feminisms Liberal Feminism (1): Men and women should be treated equally and the same. Liberal Feminism (2): Men and women and intersexed are not “the same” (however, they are more alike than they are different & society exaggerates difference). Gender is a pervasive social and cultural institution that must be analyzed and understood; Social and political changes should be made that allow the widest possible choices and opportunities for women and men and intersexed.
Other Feminisms* Radical Feminism: The source of all oppression is patriarchy, which is “men’s misogynist domination of women through violence” (Lorber, p. 4).** Women are better off without men. Marxist/Socialist Feminism: Capitalism operates in conjunction with patriarchy to oppress women; primary focus on the political-economy of women’s oppression. Black Feminism: Racism operates in conjunction with patriarchy to oppress women. Muslim Feminism: Traditional male interpretations of Islam must be questioned to find the true meaning of the role of women in Islam (e.g. Sisters in Islam – Malaysia; Irshad Manji - Canada). **We will be critiquing this definition of patriarchy later in the semester. *See also Lorber 1994; these are only a few of many “varieties” of feminism.
Anti-Feminisms Conservative Anti-Feminism: Society is fine just the way it is; Men and women fulfill appropriate sex-roles that allow society to function (e.g. Talcott Parsons*). Changing sex-roles are dangerous. Conservative Anti-Feminism has a number of variants, for example: Western, Asian, Christian, Muslim, etc. Change or Not? Views from Singapore http://stars.nhb.gov.sg/data/pdfdoc/2004042102.htm http://www.aware.org.sg/main/article_29.shtml Radical Anti-Feminism: “A feminazi is a woman to whom the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed” (Rush Limbaugh, conservative American radio talk show host). More generally, any advocate of any form of “feminism” is a “feminazi.” Men are superior to women; Women must be kept in their place at all costs. *See: Franklin, p. xix
No More Feminists? Anti-feminists have been largely successful in characterizing all feminists/feminisms as either Liberal Feminists-1 (men and women are the same) or Radical Feminists (men are the root of all evil). (See: Faludi 1991) Basic ideas of feminism (e.g. that women should be given similar opportunities as men in most areas of public life) are now widely accepted in many societies – Singapore, United States, etc. At the same time, most people deny any connection with feminism, while supporting feminist principles (e.g. “I believe women and men should have equal opportunities; but I’m not a feminist!”)
Social Change (Singapore) 1901: Population Overwhelmingly male Sex ratio 3 men to 1 woman (14:1 in 1860!) Very large sex industry 1920s-1930s: Importation of wives; Gradual shift toward “family life” 1930s-1940s: Samsui Women; independent working women 1952: Singapore Council for Women Movement against polygamy and inequality 1961: Women’s Charter Polygamy banned for non-Muslims
Social Change (Singapore) 1965: Separation from Malaysia Emphasis on Human Capital (“No resources”) 1970s-1980s: Rapid Economic Development 1983: Grad.MothersScheme & “Great Marriage Debate” 1984: Social Development Unit (Matchmaking) 1985: Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) formed to advocate for women’s rights 1990-2010: Decline in fertility and marriage; Large scale importation of women as domestic workers, wives, sex workers; men as manual laborers
Gender Relations: Always Changing, Everywhere 1910 – Department for women opened at Cairo University, Egypt. 1911 – Foot binding banned in China 1920 – Women gain the vote in the United States. 1969 – Women gain admittance to Yale University. 1979 – Singapore imposes quota on women in medical school (so that the investment in education won’t be “wasted”). 1979 – China institutes “one-child policy”; male-to-female birth ratio rises dramatically (between 118-130 males for every 100 female). 1982 – Equal Rights Amendmentfails ratification in the United States. 1987 – Sati(widow burning) banned yet again in India (after a revival in the 1980s). 1996 – Taliban take power in Afghanistan, women banned from schools, work, and public life. Men without beards beaten; women shot to protect their virtue. 2004 – Singapore lifts quota on women in medical school. 2004 – France bans hijab (tudung) in public schools. 2004 – Two women appointed Ministers of State in Singapore.
Development of Gender Studies Sociology of Women Up to 1970s* Feminist Sociology 1970s-1990s* Sociology of Gender Franklin pp. xiv & xxvii 1990s-present* *The dates indicate periods when each was a dominant trend; all three trends can be found in all periods of academic history.
From “Women” to “Gender” Sociology of Women “Additive”… sought to make women ‘visible’ in sociology; Research about women’s experience. Up to 1970s Feminist Sociology Reconceptualization of society; Focus on patriarchy and gendering of all aspects of social life; Explicitly political 1970s-1990s Sociology of Gender Questioning the category “women”; Focus on gender rather than women; Including men, masculinities,intersexed, and sexualities. 1990s-present Franklin pp. xiv & xxvii
Sociology/Anthropology of Women Women have always been involved in Sociology, Anthropology & other Social Sciences. For example, Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) “Sociology of Women” – research about women’s experiences “in addition” to the majority of work done about men (prior to 1960s). Coming of Age in Samoa (Margaret Mead, 1943) Housekeeping among Malay Peasants (Rosemary Firth, 1943) Did not fundamentally challenge major social and cultural theory.
Feminist Sociology/Anthropology Political commitments to changing the status, roles, opportunities of women. Focus on oppression of women in society and exclusion from public life. Explicitly challenged traditional social science. For example: Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, MacKinnon 1989: Explicitly gendered/feminist analysis of the state as an institution. The Woman that Never Evolved, Hrdy 1981: Challenged theories of male dominance and competition within an evolutionary framework.
Sociology of Gender Shift toward a “Sociology of Gender” due to three related trends: 1. Critical deconstruction of “women” as a category of analysis. (Diversity of women’s experiences personally and culturally.) 2. Recognition of gender as a system that effects women and men. 3. Studies of sex & sexuality (intersexed experience; homosexuality; etc.)
Checklist for the Coming Week Register on the Wiki Sign-up for Tutorials Read Through Syllabus Start the Readings Eat Healthy Do Gender