Where We Have Been… History of Gender Studies Sex/Gender Distinction Becoming Male or Female Gender socialization; paths to learning gender. Gender Systems Masculinity/Femininity Gender as systems of beliefs and behaviors
Where We Are Going… Gender in Popular Culture Gender in Advertising Popular Culture Gender in Social Relations Gender and Power Gender and Work Gender, Here and Now Gender in Singapore YOU ARE HERE
Gender: Biological, Cultural & Social Biology: We are a biological species. We are a sexually reproducing species. We are mammals. These influence, but do not determine, gender. Culture: We communicate and understand the world through symbolic signaling and abstract categorization. Ideas. Social: We interact with each other through exchange, cooperation, alliances, competition and conflict. Relationships and Resources. Gender: What we make socially and culturally of biological sex differences.
Social Dynamics of Gender Lectures on “cultural constructions” of gender (popular culture, advertising) focused on ideas (what we think) about gender and representations of gender. In Social Relations, we are focusing on how society is organized: exchange relationships, hierarchies, roles, etc. In particular, we will discuss the patriarchal tendency in human societies.
Gender, Power and Patriarchy What is Patriarchy? Is patriarchy universal? Why does patriarchy exist? Why is there a patriarchal tendency among human societies?
Patri- and Matri- Examples:(Some Terminology) -archy Patriarchy: society in which Patri- (rule, govern) power is disproportionately (male) held by men -lineal Matrilineal: society in which (in the line of) property, names, status, etc. is inherited through women Matri- (female) -local Patrilocal: society in which (residence, married couples live with the location) man’s side of the family*These are all different things; a society canbe matrilineal but patriarchal
Terminology 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 are more empowered Matriarchal – society in which women are more empowered Egalitarian – society in which men and women are (more-or- less) equally empowered
Example #1 Boys and girls have a clan name, based on their mother’s clan name. Brothers move out to live with their wives. Sisters’ husbands move in with them. The youngest sister inherits the house. Other sisters and their husbands build houses nearby. Brothers have an important say in what is done with the families land (for example, selling it). Husbands do not. How would you describe this society?
Example #2 Brothers and sisters have a family name from their father. When they marry, sisters move to live near their husband’s family and change their family name to that of their husband. The oldest son in the family inherits all the property, but they have to take care of their brothers and sisters. Men are the head of the household. How would you describe this society?
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
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, Native America Found in China (Yunnan, Sichuan), India*Also called “uxorilocal”: living with the uncle/mother’s-brother
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?Large Plot ParentsMedium Plot 4 Children 16 GrandchildrenSmall Plot 32 Great- Tiny Plot! Grandchildren
Patrilineal, Patrilocal Rules produce“Classical Patriarchy”* 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. The system provides an incentive for women to support it (the goal of becoming a mother-in-law); even though it is systemically oppressive to women. (*See: Kandiyoti 1988)
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.
Matrilineal, Matrilocal Rules produceEgalitarian 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.
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. See: Watson-Frank (2002) “Where Women Walk Freely” Divorce more common (marriage less enduring). Easier for both men and women to “walk away”.
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”
Why 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).
Patterns of Patriarchy Patrilineal, Patrilocal patterns tend toward patriarchy (men having more power than women). Matrilineal, Matrilocal patterns tend toward egalitarianism. What is the effect of Bilateral inheritance and Neolocal residence? (Open to Debate)
How To Know Patriarchy When You See It? Patrilineal and Matrilineal inheritance easy to identify. Patriarchy is much more difficult. Some cues are: Who controls wealth, property, etc.? Who is invested with political authority or has socially recognized high-status roles? Who has more freedom (e.g. fewer restrictions placed on their mobility or activities)?
Gods of Our Fathers This film is a critique of “patriarchy.” Based on the film, how would you define patriarchy? What evidence does the film provide of a patriarchal order? Is patriarchy natural to human beings? Why or why not? Why did patriarchy develop, according to the film? Why was it necessary for patriarchal systems to reduce the status of women? Patriarchal states seem to mainly benefit a small number of elite men. What stake do women and most men (who are not elites) have in patriarchy? What is the paradox of early Christianity and Islam, according to the film? How and why is patriarchy being challenged in industrial societies? Are most industrial societies patriarchal? Why or why not?
Range of Matriarchy/Patriarchy All things being equal, we would expect a range of societies – from Highly Matriarchal to Highly Patriarchal. In fact, we find a range of societies from more-or-less Egalitarian to Highly Patriarchal.Very Matriarchal Very Patriarchal Egalitarian Societies That Do Not Exist Societies That Do Exist WHY?
Is Patriarchy “Universal”? Problems with saying patriarchy is “universal”: Now and in the past there are many examples of relatively egalitarian societies. Patriarchy is not a unitary state, but rather a variation with a range (of possibilities). Patriarchy is not “universal”, rather there is a patriarchal tendency in human societies…. Why?
Why Patriarchy?Common (but wrong) Answers1. Patriarchy is the result of sex differences. a. Physical Strength b. Testosterone2. Patriarchy is the result of capitalism.3. Men are just nasty critters (misogyny or the “hatred of women”).
Physical Strength = Power?? Arnold Schwarzenegger: George W. Bush: Governor of California President of the United States
Patriarchy as Result of Sex Differences Men are physically stronger: Mistakes physical strength for social power. Physical strength alone is only (very) weakly correlated with social power (even in “low-tech” societies). The evolutionary basis for men’s greater size and strength is competition between men; NOT male dominance over females. Power is Relational. It is not a characteristic of individuals. It is a characteristic of social relationships among individuals.
Patriarchy as Result of Sex Differences (2) Men have more testosterone, which makes them more competitive, which leads them to seek out more power: More valid than the physical strength theory; but testosterone is only one element of social competition. Recall problems with “testosterone theory” from Lecture 2.
Problems with Sex Difference Arguments1. They do not account for the range of societies (egalitarian to patriarchal); if sex difference arguments alone explain patriarchy, then ALL societies should be equally patriarchal, which they are not.2. They sneak social and cultural construction in through the back door, as follows: a. The sex differences are mostly overlapping normative differences. b. Patriarchal norms (such as gendered rules about who can have political power) are often absolute. c. Sex difference theories assume that average differences are turned into absolutes (which is a social and cultural process).
Patriarchy as a Result of Capitalism Argument proposed mainly by Marxist Feminists. Why does capitalism cause/support patriarchy: The “Male Breadwinner” model makes families dependent on capitalist production. Capitalism benefits from the “free” reproductive labor of women (the labor force is reproduced for “free”) Problems: Patriarchy was around long, long before capitalism!! Capitalism can thrive while undermining patriarchy (for example, in female-oriented factory work).
Men are Nasty Critters (Misogyny) “For radical feminists, patriarchy is . . . the structure and process of men’s misogynist domination of women through violent control of their sexuality and childbearing.” (Lorber, The Paradoxes of Gender, p.4) Problem: This holds true for some (patriarchal) but not other (egalitarian) societies. Patriarchy produces misogyny (and nasty men), not the other way around!
Patriarchy and the Problem of Explanation Radical and Marxist Feminists identify patriarchy as a problem, but they have poor explanations of why it comes about. For example, Jeff Hearn The Gender of Oppression (a radical/Marxist feminist analysis).
Hearn on Patriarchy Men control women’s reproduction. Men exact a “human tithe” from women and children. How do they do this? Hearn’s answer is that men use violence to control women (and children). Problems: Why do women put up with this? Are they stupid or weak? Almost the same as the “strength = power” argument; a superficial and flawed understanding of power. Violence is a remarkably poor way to control people.
So, How DO We Explain the PatriarchalTendency? The answer is: To be continued next week…