SC2220: Gender Studies Gender Systems Dr. Eric C. Thompson
In this Lecture… <ul><li>Why Gender  Systems ? </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship between Biological, Social and Cultural syst...
Why Gender Systems? <ul><li>System: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A regularly interacting or interdependent group of items. </li><...
“ Gender” involves three human systems: Biological, Social and Cultural <ul><li>Biological system: a product and process o...
CULTURAL SYSTEMS SOCIAL SYSTEMS BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 1: Human Systems, General Integration Each system has some rela...
Human Systems: General Integration <ul><li>Each system (biological, social, cultural) has some relationship to the others....
CULTURAL SYSTEMS SOCIAL SYSTEMS BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 2: Human Systems, Analytically Distinct Researchers usually stu...
BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 3: Socio-cultural, Socio-biological Social scientists often study the so...
BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 4: Socio-economic Class Systems Example 1: Socio-Economic Systems. Studi...
BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 5: Racial Identity Systems Example 2: Racial Identity Systems. Race is a...
BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 6: Gender Systems Example 3:  Gender Systems. Interaction between socio-...
Take Home Points… <ul><li>Biology, Society and Culture refer to Three Distinct Systems. </li></ul><ul><li>All of these sys...
Gender Systems: Interrelated Beliefs and Practices
Gender as a Cultural System… <ul><li>“ Unpacking” the Gender System </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemonic Beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>...
“ Unpacking” the Gender System (Ridgeway and Correll 2004) <ul><li>Gender is a System of: </li></ul><ul><li>Gender Beliefs...
Cultural Operations <ul><li>Sex Categorization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Categorization by sex/gender is a First Order Cultura...
Hegemonic Beliefs <ul><li>Hegemony refers to  power. </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemonic Beliefs are those which are  most powerfu...
Hegemonic Masculinity (Connell and Messerschmidt 2005) <ul><li>Not necessarily “normal” (in the statistical sense)… but “n...
Hegemonic Femininity? <ul><li>Hegemonic Femininity vs. “Emphasized Femininity” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Debate over whether f...
Beliefs and their Effects <ul><li>Will changes in Gender Beliefs change Social Practices (inequality, discrimination)? </l...
Gender Beliefs and Evaluation <ul><li>One example where there seems to be good evidence for the effect of Gender Beliefs… ...
Transitions Through Time and Space <ul><li>Masculinity and Femininity are constructed differently in different  times  and...
Examples of Transgender Ritual Specialists (Peletz 2006) <ul><li>Pre-Colonial Southeast Asia: Widespread Evidence of “Tran...
“ Where Have All the Trans-Gender Ritual Specialist Gone?” <ul><li>Contemporary Southeast Asia: Apparently less “Tolerant”...
Hollywood Images of Masculinity: Late 20 th  Century Transitions <ul><li>1970s:  Clint Eastwood : Independent, Solitary Fi...
Falling Down: Notes and Reflections <ul><li>Crisis of Hegemonic Masculinity : White, Middle-Class, English-speaking, Middl...
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Sc2220 Lecture 4 2009

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Lecture 4: Gender Systems

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Sc2220 Lecture 4 2009

  1. 1. SC2220: Gender Studies Gender Systems Dr. Eric C. Thompson
  2. 2. In this Lecture… <ul><li>Why Gender Systems ? </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship between Biological, Social and Cultural systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender as a Cultural System (of beliefs and ideas communicated through language, images, signs and symbols). </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Gender Systems? <ul><li>System: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A regularly interacting or interdependent group of items. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An organized set of principles, doctrines or ideas. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gender refers to systems of cultural beliefs and social practices. </li></ul>
  4. 4. “ Gender” involves three human systems: Biological, Social and Cultural <ul><li>Biological system: a product and process of biochemical interactions. </li></ul><ul><li>Social system: a product and process of relationships and exchanges among individuals (and groups of people). </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural system: a product and process of relationships among ideas and beliefs expressed though language, images, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Commonly in Gender Studies the first is classified as “sex” and the second two as “gender”. </li></ul>
  5. 5. CULTURAL SYSTEMS SOCIAL SYSTEMS BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 1: Human Systems, General Integration Each system has some relationship to the other systems.
  6. 6. Human Systems: General Integration <ul><li>Each system (biological, social, cultural) has some relationship to the others. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example 1: We could not have human culture without our ability for speech. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example 2: Agriculture (a sociocultural system) changed life expectancy and birth rates (biology) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>At the same time, each system is autonomous from the others (each system can change over time on its own, according to its own dynamics). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For example, culture can change over time without substantial changes to our biology. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. CULTURAL SYSTEMS SOCIAL SYSTEMS BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 2: Human Systems, Analytically Distinct Researchers usually study these systems independently – Study one at a time. They make them ‘analytically’ distinct.
  8. 8. BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 3: Socio-cultural, Socio-biological Social scientists often study the social and cultural as one system. Biology is marginal in social science (usually).
  9. 9. BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 4: Socio-economic Class Systems Example 1: Socio-Economic Systems. Studies of class systems or socio-economic status rarely if ever touch on biology. There is no evidence (or logic) to suggest that differences among economic systems can be “explained” by biology (genetics).
  10. 10. BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 5: Racial Identity Systems Example 2: Racial Identity Systems. Race is an interpretation of biology – using the way people look to classify them. But “race” (group genetic inheritance) has no substantial effect on socio-cultural systems.
  11. 11. BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Socio-Cultural SYSTEMS DIAGRAM 6: Gender Systems Example 3: Gender Systems. Interaction between socio-cultural systems and biological systems with respect to gender and sex appears to be more substantial that for Class and Race. (But this does not mean biology “explains” gender systems.)
  12. 12. Take Home Points… <ul><li>Biology, Society and Culture refer to Three Distinct Systems. </li></ul><ul><li>All of these systems are of importance in understanding Gender. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender cannot be reduced to biology. </li></ul><ul><li>Neither can biology be completely ignored. (At least some social and cultural aspects of gender are directly effected by biology.) </li></ul><ul><li>For the remainder of the class, we will examine cultural and social systems of gender. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Gender Systems: Interrelated Beliefs and Practices
  14. 14. Gender as a Cultural System… <ul><li>“ Unpacking” the Gender System </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemonic Beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Transitions in Masculinity, Femininity and Gender Systems over Time (and Space) </li></ul>
  15. 15. “ Unpacking” the Gender System (Ridgeway and Correll 2004) <ul><li>Gender is a System of: </li></ul><ul><li>Gender Beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Institutionalized Social Practices </li></ul><ul><li>“ Unpacking” the Gender System means Critically* examining these Beliefs and Practices </li></ul>* ”Critical” Social and Cultural theory does not mean “criticizing” or bashing; it means carefully and reflectively examining.
  16. 16. Cultural Operations <ul><li>Sex Categorization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Categorization by sex/gender is a First Order Cultural Operation; before any interaction with other people we place them in abstract gendered categories (man, woman; boy, girl). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gender as Background Identity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender is something “always there” but often implicit (and taken-for-granted) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Effective Salience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender comes into effect in certain social contexts (but not always, in all situations). </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Hegemonic Beliefs <ul><li>Hegemony refers to power. </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemonic Beliefs are those which are most powerful; often, but not always, they are the most common beliefs in a particular society. </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemonic Beliefs shape people’s feelings and practices, even for individuals who do not hold those beliefs . </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hegemonic Masculinity” (idea developed by Connell… the author of our main text.) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Hegemonic Masculinity (Connell and Messerschmidt 2005) <ul><li>Not necessarily “normal” (in the statistical sense)… but “normative” (it sets the standard – it is the way a man should be ). </li></ul><ul><li>Not a fixed idea; differs over time and from place to place. </li></ul><ul><li>Plurality and Hierarchy of Masculinities. </li></ul><ul><li>The power of Hegemonic Masculinity requires men (and women) to act in relation to the set of beliefs that are “hegemonic” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adoption, complicity, privilege, defense of status-quo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resistance, alternative masculinities, “passing” </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Hegemonic Femininity? <ul><li>Hegemonic Femininity vs. “Emphasized Femininity” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Debate over whether forms of femininity can be called “hegemonic” (because femininity is more often than not culturally devalued compared to masculinity). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can we assume that masculinity is always hegemonic (powerful) and femininity “emphasized” (subordinate)? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As with Hegemonic Masculinity; “Emphasized” or “Hegemonic” Femininity is normative – it sets standards in relation to which everyone in society must act. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Beliefs and their Effects <ul><li>Will changes in Gender Beliefs change Social Practices (inequality, discrimination)? </li></ul><ul><li>Do changes in Gender Beliefs follow rather than lead Social Change (changes in practice)? </li></ul><ul><li>Answer: We don’t know… (but we have some ideas; and the answer is probably both, in different cases.) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Gender Beliefs and Evaluation <ul><li>One example where there seems to be good evidence for the effect of Gender Beliefs… </li></ul><ul><li>Peoples skills are evaluated differently, based on whether they are men or women. </li></ul><ul><li>Many studies have shown that resumes (e.g. in applying for jobs or schools) with a MALE NAME are judged more favorably than the same resume with a FEMALE NAME. </li></ul><ul><li>There is also evidence that men are negatively evaluated when performing traditionally female tasks (e.g. domestic work, childcare). </li></ul>
  22. 22. Transitions Through Time and Space <ul><li>Masculinity and Femininity are constructed differently in different times and places . </li></ul><ul><li>“ Where Have all the Trans-Gender Ritual Specialist Gone?” (Peletz 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Hollywood Images of Masculinity in the Late 20 th Century </li></ul>
  23. 23. Examples of Transgender Ritual Specialists (Peletz 2006) <ul><li>Pre-Colonial Southeast Asia: Widespread Evidence of “Trans-Gender” Ritual Specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Sida-Sida (Peninsular Malay) </li></ul><ul><li>Bissu (Bugis) </li></ul><ul><li>Basir and Balian (Ngaju Dayak) </li></ul><ul><li>Hau Bralin (Khmer Initiation Ritual) </li></ul><ul><li>Acault (Burma) </li></ul><ul><li>As well as others… </li></ul>
  24. 24. “ Where Have All the Trans-Gender Ritual Specialist Gone?” <ul><li>Contemporary Southeast Asia: Apparently less “Tolerant” Attitudes; Marginalization of Trans-Gender Individuals (But still many examples) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pondan, Mak Andam (Malaysia) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Banci (Indonesia) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Khateoy (Thailand) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bakla, Bantut (Philippines) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why? Modernity? Bureaucratic Rationality? Religion (esp. Spread of Islam and Christianity)? Capitalism? Westernization? </li></ul><ul><li>Transition from “Gender Pluralism” to “Gender Dualism” </li></ul>
  25. 25. Hollywood Images of Masculinity: Late 20 th Century Transitions <ul><li>1970s: Clint Eastwood : Independent, Solitary Figure ( High Plains Drifter 1973, Dirty Harry 1971) </li></ul><ul><li>1977: Luke Skywalker : The New-Age Spiritual Male </li></ul><ul><li>1993: Falling Down : Hegemonic Middle-Class, White, American Masculinity Hegemony in Crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Struggling to come to terms in a changing world . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vigilante (“Dirty Harry”) is now the Bad Guy . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1999: “ Fight Club ”: Reclaiming Masculinity </li></ul>
  26. 26. Falling Down: Notes and Reflections <ul><li>Crisis of Hegemonic Masculinity : White, Middle-Class, English-speaking, Middle-Age, American Family-Man </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m the bad guy?”: The world turned upside-down. </li></ul><ul><li>Intersection of Gender, Race, Class, Age </li></ul><ul><li>Falling Down in Singapore? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chinese, Hokkien-Speaking, Middle-Class, Middle-Age, Singaporean Family-Man? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Ah Beng” Culture ? </li></ul></ul>
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