Gender and Difference


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Gender and Difference

  2. 2. LEARNING OBJECTIVES• To understand background concepts for this course.• To understand the difference between sex and gender.• To understand how gender expectations shape society.
  3. 3. ASSIGNED READING MATERIALS• Kimmel, Michael. 2011. ―Human Beings: An Engendered Species‖ in TheGendered Society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. [excerpt- pgs. 1-18]*
  4. 4. ADDITIONAL NEWS MATERIALS• ―The Rise of Sexist Fashion‖Link:
  5. 5. ADDITIONAL MULTI-MEDIA MATERIALS• Gender Stereotypes in Media [9:12 mins]Link:• Gender Roles – Interviews with Kids [2:36 mins]Link:• J.Crew Ad Sparks Debate on Kids and Gender [2:20 mins]Link:• Child Gender Identity [27:49 mins]Link:
  6. 6. STOP!Have you reviewed the additional course materials? If not, do. 
  7. 7. QUICK BACKGROUNDPolitical science is the study of the process by which power and resources aredistributed in society. It is the study of ―who gets what, when and how‖ (Laswell1935).Public policy is what those with authority choose to do, or not do, about issuesrecognized as public problems (Dye 1972). A public policy is a question orproblem that concerns the role of governmental institutions: What shouldgovernment do or refrain from doing? What are the responsibilities ofgovernment institutions? There must be some controversy or question about thisrole in order to make this a policy issue.―Policy silences‖ or ―non-decisions‖ can be considered policy outcomes ( 1995; Bachrach and Baratz 1962).
  8. 8. KEY CONCEPTS: WHAT IS POLITICS?Hannah Pitkin defines politics as ―the activity through which relatively large andpermanent groups of people determine what they will collectively do, settle howthey will live together, and decide their future, to whatever extent this is withintheir power‖ (Pitkin 1981, 343).Robert Unger defines politics as ―the struggle over the resources andarrangements that set the terms of our practical and passionate relations.Preeminent among these arrangements is the formative institutional andimaginative context of social life‖ (Unger 1987, 145).The role of POWER in determining these relationships or arrangements is oftenseen as especially political.
  9. 9. KEY CONCEPTS: WHAT IS A SOCIAL GROUP?Structural social group:A collective of people who are grouped together by the broader society becauseof ascriptive characteristics, a set of practices or way of life. They aredifferentiated from at least one other group by these cultural forms. (e.g.gender, race, class)
  10. 10. KEY CONCEPTS: SOCIAL GROUP DISADVANTAGE?1. GROUPS have historically been discriminated against in some arena.2. THEY are systematically worse off across multiple arenas: socially, economically,politically.3. This condition persists into present.4. Negative meanings are assigned to group membership by broader society.~Iris Marion Young
  11. 11. THE ISSUE: ARE WOMEN AND MEN DIFFERENT?• Almost everything humans observe and experience appears to indicate thatwomen and men are fundamentally different, but is it true?• Are women and men categorically different groups with differentcharacteristics?• Why is it so important to know?There are many big questions that need to be addressed as begin ourconversation about gender and gender inequality. To begin, we need to thinkabout gender as social scientists: is gender biologically determined, sociallyconstructed, or some combination? Does gender vary?We also need to ask the ―elephant in the room‖ question: Why is it that in the vastmajority of human societies, men have had more power than women? Once weconsider that question, we can begin asking questions about what inequalitylooks like and its effects globally.
  12. 12. “GENDER WARRIOR”Before we jump into theories anddefinitions, let’s take a minute toconsider just how strong our ideas aboutgender are. This is a picture of ShilohJolie-Pitt, a ―celebrity child,‖ who, forwhatever reasons, is usuallyphotographed in ―boy clothes‖ and with aboyish hair cut. In March 2010, an articleon dubbed Shiloh a―preschool gender warrior.‖ What do youthink about that? Why?Apparently masses of people havecriticized the child’s parents (Brad Pittand Angelina Jolie) for not playing bythe rules. What are the rules? The rulesare the typically unspoken, but mostlyaccepted, norms of gender-appropriatebehavior. That so many people are soupset about the clothes someone else’schild wears tells us a bit about how muchis at stake when we think about ―doinggender.‖
  13. 13. KEY CONCEPTS: WHAT IS SEX? WHAT IS GENDER?Although the terms “sex” and “gender” are often used interchangeably, we willdifferentiate between the two.Sex refers to an individual’s membership in one of two biologically distinctcategories—male or female.Gender refers to the physical, behavioral, and personality traits that a groupconsiders ―normal‖ for its male and female members. These are also knownas ―masculine‖ or ―feminine‖ characteristics.Gender also, “ expresses the universal inequality between women and men.When we speak about gender, we also speak about hierarchy, power, andinequality, not simply difference.” ~ Kimmel 2011, 2In other words, we learn how to act manly or womanly based on the sex thatwe’re born into and society’s expectations of that sex. Often those expectationslead to inequality of status in society. Sex is a biological category. Gender is asocial category.
  14. 14. DOING GENDERGender is more than simply a learned role, though that role is important.Gender is something to be done—accomplished—each day.When we fail to ―do‖ our gender others often feel uncomfortable and may pointout the violation of gender roles. In this way, failures or deviations from doinggender is reinforced through social sanctions/punishments.Steve Carell, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert posing in ―typical‖female advertising poses.
  15. 15. KEY CONCEPTS: GENDER STEREOTYPESGender Stereotypes are broad categories that reflect our impressions and beliefsabout females and males.All gender stereotypes refer to an image of what the typical member of aparticular social category is like.The world is extremely complex. Every day we are confronted with thousands ofdifferent stimuli. The use of stereotypes is one way we simplify this complexity. Ifwe simply assign a label (such as soft) to someone, we then have much less toconsider when we think about the individual. Once the labels are assigned, theyare remarkably different to abandon, even in the face of contradictory evidence.
  16. 16. WHAT DO YOU THINK?Imagine you meet a 1-year-old named Leslie who is dressed in gender-neutralclothing and is sporting a bowl-cut hairstyle, so that you cannot tell whether Leslieis a boy or girl.How long would it be before you become curious about Leslie’s sex? How wouldyou determine whether a 1-year-old like Leslie is a boy or a girl?
  18. 18. GENDER STEREOTYPES: THE CASE OF PATPat is active, independent, competitive, and aggressive.Is Pat male or female?
  19. 19. GENDER STEREOTYPES: THE CASE OF PATMost people assume Pat is male.Why? Although Pat is a common name for both males and females, theadjectives used to describe Pat are commonly associated with men ratherthan with women.Test Yourself…On the following slide, identify which traits are masculine and which are feminine.
  20. 20. What Traits Characterize Males and Females?Trait More Characteristic of Males More Characteristic of Females1. Active2. Considerate3. Aggressive4. Creative5. Ambitious6. Competitive7. Emotional8. Independent9. Artistic10. Displays leadership11. Excitable12. Empathic13. Mechanical14. Gentle15. Outspoken16 . Neat17. Persistent18. Understanding
  21. 21. GENDER STEREOTYPESThe same chart has been used to assess gender stereotypes among collegestudents..Did you choose the same traits as the consensus?• Even numbered - female traits• Odd numbered - male traits
  22. 22. Features Judged by College Students to BeCharacteristically Male or FemaleMale FemaleIndependent EmotionalAggressive Home-orientedNot excitable KindSkilled in business Cries easilyMechanical aptitude CreativeOutspoken ConsiderateActs as a leader Devotes self to othersSelf-confident Needs approvalAmbitious GentleNot easily influenced Aware of others’ feelingsDominant Excitable
  23. 23. GROWING UP WITH GENDERIn 1977, Deborah Best and her colleagues studied children’s growingunderstanding of gender stereotypes. Children were asked if 16 stereotypicallymasculine and 16 stereotypically feminine traits were more typical of boys orgirls. At age 5, boys and girls judged one-third of the traits the way adults would.By age 11, they judged 90 percent of the traits according to the adult stereotypes.This table on the following slide shows the traits judged stereotypically at ages 5and 11.
  24. 24. Children’s Stereotypes of Boys and GirlsBoys are… Girls are…5-yrs-old 11-yrs-old 5-yrs-old 11-yrs-oldStrong   Emotional  Aggressive   Gentle  Disorderly   Soft-hearted  Cruel   Affectionate  Coarse   Weak  Ambitious   Appreciative Dominant   Excitable Adventurous  Sophisticated Independent  Fickle Loud  Meek Jolly  Submissive Steady  Talkative Confident  Frivolous 
  25. 25. WE SEEM TO THINK IT… SO IT MUST BE SO?The information in the previous slides seems to reinforce the idea that we at leastTHINK boys and girls, men and women ARE different- but are they? And whywould they be?
  26. 26. POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONSWhy might men and women be different? [reading pages 4-5]• Nature- biologically men and women are different• Nurture- men and women are socialized to be thought of, treated as, differentWe will discuss these explanations in greater depth over the next three lectures.
  27. 27. THE ARGUMENT [reading pgs. 11-17]In the reading, Kimmel is making a different argument, that actually:• Men and women are different, but mostly human.• There are greater differences across men and across women than betweenthe two genders.• Differences are amplified to justify gender discrimination- i.e. well, men andwomen are so different, of course they are treated unequally.
  28. 28. LIVING IN AN GENDERED SOCIETY“When we say we live in a gendered society we imply that the organizations ofour society have evolved in ways that reproduce both the differencesbetween women and men and the domination of men over women.”~ Kimmel 2011, 16