SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 6: Gender and Sexuality Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2008/2009
Where Are We Going? <ul><li>Part 1: Anthropological Frameworks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strangers abroad; Genetic inheritance...
What makes boys and girls different?
 
 
Boy Meets Girl?
Lecture Outline <ul><li>Concepts: Sex, Gender, Sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Gender and Sexuality as Cultural Structures of ...
Sex / Gender / Sexuality <ul><li>Sex  refers to   the   bodies  we have as a result of biological processes (e.g. genetics...
Examples of Gender and Sexuality (“elaborations on” Biological Sex) <ul><li>Concepts of Masculinity and Femininity </li></...
How do we go about producing Systems of Gender and Sexuality? The Cultural Process . . General Concepts of Masculinity and...
Sari Business Pretty Clothes Dress Things (without Meaning) Masculine Feminine T-Shirt Shirt Girl Tall Guy Petite Strong G...
Sari Business Clothes We pick out “ meaningless things” and give them meaning by associating them with  masculinity  (or  ...
Sari Business Clothes The things we associate with  masculinity   or  femininity  are largely arbitrary. Chinese Dress Mas...
Tell that to these guys…
Difference and Distinction are essential to  Meaning   Mapping things onto a gendered structure gives them meaning.
Sari Pretty Dress Masculine Feminine T-Shirt Shirt Girl Tall Guy Petite Strong Gentle Jeans Aggressive Work Engineering Nu...
A Three Gender System Masculine Feminine T-Shirt Shirt Girl Tall Guy Petite Strong Gentle Jeans Aggressive Work Engineerin...
Third Genders & Gender Pluralism <ul><li>Binary (Two) Gender systems reflect the strong “bimodal” distribution of sex (mos...
Common Terms <ul><li>Binary (Two) Gender Systems: Cultures in which only two genders (e.g. “man” and “woman” are recognize...
Gender versus Sexuality <ul><li>Gender and Sexuality are very closely related, but not the same. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gay” ...
Why analyze gender structures? <ul><li>As a systematic way to organize our understanding of different societies and cultur...
“ The Gender Tango” <ul><li>What sex was Billy Tipton? What gender was Billy Tipton? </li></ul><ul><li>What gender are  Be...
Cultural, Social, Biological  Construction  of Sex/Gender/Sexuality <ul><li>Gender and Sexuality are a  cultural  systems ...
Example 1: Marriage <ul><li>What is Marriage? </li></ul><ul><li>All human societies have something that looks like marriag...
Example 2: Inheritance Patterns <ul><li>From last lecture: Patrilineal, Matrilineal and Bilateral inheritance </li></ul><u...
Ways in which the Human Sexual System Shapes Gender <ul><li>Two Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dedicated” Heterosexuality <...
The Human Sexual System <ul><li>Humans are “dedicated heterosexuals”. </li></ul><ul><li>By the time we are born, our bodie...
Human Hermaphrodites <ul><li>A small percentage of all humans born are hermaphrodites; or “intersexed” (with some combinat...
Effects of “Dedicated Heterosexuality” <ul><li>Gender can exist. (With clones, it wouldn’t) </li></ul><ul><li>Gender is pe...
Sex for Social Bonding <ul><li>Sex is costly – time, energy, danger of getting caught (by predators or competitors; not mo...
The Oddity of Human Sexuality <ul><li>Hidden Ovulation </li></ul><ul><li>Sex for bonding as much as for biological reprodu...
Hidden Ovulation <ul><li>Almost all female mammals have an estrous cycle, allowing both females and males to know when a f...
Fact: Human Offspring Require Substantial Care, Feeding and Investment of Resources Who is going to do this?
Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Mommy. Very good choice. But NEEDS HELP! </li></ul><ul><li>Family Dog. Not Recomme...
Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Grandma. Good, if not reproductive & still alive.  </li></ul><ul><li>The Grandmoth...
Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Siblings. Ok but… Must be old enough to do childcare, but not yet having babies th...
Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Aunts, Uncles, Friends & Neighbors. Ok but… </li></ul><ul><li>Busy taking care of ...
Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Non-reproducing females (or males). Example: Maids </li></ul><ul><li>Only possible...
Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Daddy. Good, but . . . </li></ul><ul><li>How to overcome the disincentives to fath...
Adult Male Adult Female Infant Surplus Resources Sexual Gratification Surplus Resources Human Pair Bonding & Sexual Exchan...
Ongoing “incorporation” of males into society <ul><li>For mammals, there is a strong inclination toward infant-mother bond...
The “Nature” of Gender and Sexuality? <ul><li>Naturalization is the process of treating the  norm  (most common)  cultural...
Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 True Stories!!!!! Ripped From The Headlines!!!
Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 As many as 1% to 2% of humans are born with “ ambiguous” genitalia.
Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 “ Ambiguous bodies” create a  cultural  problem of  interpretation .
Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 Different cultures have different means of incorporating people with “ambiguous genitalia” into ...
Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 Social systems and institutions are so deeply and thoroughly gendered by our cultural models tha...
Bye-bye . . . See you next week in two weeks!
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Sc2218 Lecture 6 (2008a)

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Sc2218 Lecture 6 (2008a)

  1. 1. SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 6: Gender and Sexuality Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2008/2009
  2. 2. Where Are We Going? <ul><li>Part 1: Anthropological Frameworks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strangers abroad; Genetic inheritance; The concept of Culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Part 2: Social-Cultural Systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kinship, Gender, Economy, Community </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Part 3: Building on the Frameworks & Moving into the Future </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem of Representation, History and Change, the Poetry of Culture, Anthropology in the 21 st Century </li></ul></ul>YOU ARE HERE
  3. 3. What makes boys and girls different?
  4. 6. Boy Meets Girl?
  5. 7. Lecture Outline <ul><li>Concepts: Sex, Gender, Sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Gender and Sexuality as Cultural Structures of Meaning </li></ul><ul><li>The Human Sexual System and its relationship to Gender. </li></ul><ul><li>Naturalization </li></ul>
  6. 8. Sex / Gender / Sexuality <ul><li>Sex refers to the bodies we have as a result of biological processes (e.g. genetics); Genitalia, Hormones, Baldness, Facial Hair, Breasts, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender refers to social-cultural elaborations of sex ; social practices and cultural roles associated with sex characteristics. </li></ul><ul><li>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.) </li></ul>
  7. 9. Examples of Gender and Sexuality (“elaborations on” Biological Sex) <ul><li>Concepts of Masculinity and Femininity </li></ul><ul><li>Male initiation rituals </li></ul><ul><li>Gendered social division of labor & gender roles. </li></ul><ul><li>Gendered inheritance systems </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage systems </li></ul><ul><li>Patriarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Key point: None of these are “caused” by sex differences. They are all elaborations on sex differences and vary widely cross-culturally </li></ul>
  8. 10. How do we go about producing Systems of Gender and Sexuality? The Cultural Process . . General Concepts of Masculinity and Femininity
  9. 11. Sari Business Pretty Clothes Dress Things (without Meaning) Masculine Feminine T-Shirt Shirt Girl Tall Guy Petite Strong Gentle Jeans Aggressive Work Architecture Engineering Nurturing Sports Shopping Arts Home Boy Ovaries Breasts Handsome Muscles Skirt Pondan/ Ah Kwah Make-Up Man Woman Sissy Activities Bodies Signifiers Dispositions Androgen Estrogen Testes
  10. 12. Sari Business Clothes We pick out “ meaningless things” and give them meaning by associating them with masculinity (or femininity ) Chinese Dress Masculine Feminine Batik Shirt Batik Dress T-Shirt Chinese Shirt Tall Guy Petite Strong Gentle Jeans Aggressive Architecture Engineering Nurturing Sports Shopping Arts Home Boy Ovaries Breasts Handsome Muscles Skirt Pondan/ Ah Kwah Man Woman Sissy Activities Bodies Signifiers Dispositions Estrogen Testes
  11. 13. Sari Business Clothes The things we associate with masculinity or femininity are largely arbitrary. Chinese Dress Masculine Feminine Batik Shirt Batik Dress T-Shirt Chinese Shirt Tall Guy Petite Strong Gentle Jeans Aggressive Architecture Engineering Nurturing Sports Shopping Arts Home Boy Ovaries Breasts Handsome Muscles Skirt Man Woman Sissy Activities Bodies Signifiers Dispositions Estrogen Testes Pondan/ Ah Kwah A skirt is feminine not masculine!! (Isn’t it?)
  12. 14. Tell that to these guys…
  13. 15. Difference and Distinction are essential to Meaning Mapping things onto a gendered structure gives them meaning.
  14. 16. Sari Pretty Dress Masculine Feminine T-Shirt Shirt Girl Tall Guy Petite Strong Gentle Jeans Aggressive Work Engineering Nurturing Sports Shopping Arts Home Boy Ovaries Breasts Handsome Muscles Skirt Make-Up Man Woman Androgen Estrogen Testes A Gendered Structure of Meaning Pondan/ Ah Kwah Sissy ?? A Two Gender System: Binary Oppositions
  15. 17. A Three Gender System Masculine Feminine T-Shirt Shirt Girl Tall Guy Petite Strong Gentle Jeans Aggressive Work Engineering Nurturing Sports Shopping Arts Home Boy Ovaries Breasts Handsome Muscles Skirt Make-Up Man Woman Androgen Estrogen Testes A Different Gendered Structure of Meaning Dress Feminine Pretty Dress Pondan/ Ah Kwah Sissy
  16. 18. Third Genders & Gender Pluralism <ul><li>Binary (Two) Gender systems reflect the strong “bimodal” distribution of sex (most people are by-and-large “male” or “female”) </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  17. 19. Common Terms <ul><li>Binary (Two) Gender Systems: Cultures in which only two genders (e.g. “man” and “woman” are recognized or legitimized) </li></ul><ul><li>Third Genders: Gender identities beyond two ( katoey in Thailand; pondan in Malaysia; berdache in Native America…) </li></ul><ul><li>Gender Pluralism: Cultural acceptance of more than two genders. </li></ul>
  18. 20. Gender versus Sexuality <ul><li>Gender and Sexuality are very closely related, but not the same. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gay” and “Straight” – refers to sexuality (sexual practices) </li></ul><ul><li>Pondan, Katoey, Berdache, Man, Woman, etc. are “gender” identities (a broader category that mere sexual practices). </li></ul><ul><li>Example of “Katoey” gender . </li></ul>
  19. 21. Why analyze gender structures? <ul><li>As a systematic way to organize our understanding of different societies and cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>While gender systems vary widely, the existence of some kind of gender system is common to all cultural systems. </li></ul>Problems with structural analysis. <ul><li>Structuralism can making changing systems appear to be fixed (unchanging). </li></ul><ul><li>Structuralism can reify and naturalize CULTURAL systems. </li></ul>
  20. 22. “ The Gender Tango” <ul><li>What sex was Billy Tipton? What gender was Billy Tipton? </li></ul><ul><li>What gender are Berdache (among Native Americans)? </li></ul><ul><li>What are common characteristics of women cross-culturally? </li></ul><ul><li>What are common characteristics of men cross-culturally? </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean to say that masculinity (or femininity ) is a “structure of appropriate behavior”? Give examples from the film. </li></ul>
  21. 23. Cultural, Social, Biological Construction of Sex/Gender/Sexuality <ul><li>Gender and Sexuality are a cultural systems “ built on ” sex (if we were asexual biologically, we would not have gender) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They are socially and culturally constructed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BUT, we can build many different gender and sexual systems. </li></ul><ul><li>AND, our gender and sexual systems can influence our sex… body modification; age of reproduction; number of offspring; etc… </li></ul>
  22. 24. Example 1: Marriage <ul><li>What is Marriage? </li></ul><ul><li>All human societies have something that looks like marriage… </li></ul><ul><li>But from the perspective of every society, the concept of “marriage” in other societies seems not quite right … </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage is a culturally sanctioned sexual relationship (and even then, you can be “married” but not have sex!!) </li></ul>
  23. 25. Example 2: Inheritance Patterns <ul><li>From last lecture: Patrilineal, Matrilineal and Bilateral inheritance </li></ul><ul><li>Patrilineal and Matrilineal both “use sex difference” (male/female) to culturally sanction inheritance. </li></ul><ul><li>Two different rules solve the same problem (inheritance of land), but have very different consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>The cultural rules are not determined by the facts of sexual difference; they are “built upon” those facts. </li></ul>
  24. 26. Ways in which the Human Sexual System Shapes Gender <ul><li>Two Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dedicated” Heterosexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporating men into parental care (the sexual exchange system) </li></ul>
  25. 27. The Human Sexual System <ul><li>Humans are “dedicated heterosexuals”. </li></ul><ul><li>By the time we are born, our bodies are sexually differentiated – either female or male – and remain so throughout our lives. </li></ul>Homo sapiens sapiens <ul><li>Hydra reproduce asexually by budding (clones). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gender” would have no basis in such a system. </li></ul><ul><li>Clown fish are male-to-female hermaphrodites. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gender” would perhaps be an aspirational system… </li></ul><ul><li>Every male would aspire to one day become female. </li></ul>
  26. 28. Human Hermaphrodites <ul><li>A small percentage of all humans born are hermaphrodites; or “intersexed” (with some combination of both male and female genitalia.) </li></ul><ul><li>An larger number have various combinations of more or less “masculinized” bodies and brains. </li></ul><ul><li>In most cases, no one knows; possibly not even the person her/himself. (Such as actor Jamie Lee Curtis, who may or may not be intersexed… Q: Why do we care?) </li></ul>Jamie Lee Curtis The Reclining Hermaphrodite 1 st century BCE sculpture
  27. 29. Effects of “Dedicated Heterosexuality” <ul><li>Gender can exist. (With clones, it wouldn’t) </li></ul><ul><li>Gender is perceived by individuals as relatively “unchanging” because our sexual biology is “unchanging” </li></ul><ul><li>The small numbers of “hermaphrodites” mean: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most individuals fall at one of two poles: Male or Female (= tendency to “two gender system”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some individuals biologically do not fall easily into one of these categories (= a biological argument for “third genders” </li></ul></ul>
  28. 30. Sex for Social Bonding <ul><li>Sex is costly – time, energy, danger of getting caught (by predators or competitors; not mom and dad!). </li></ul><ul><li>Poor reproductive efficiency (lots and lots of sex, but relatively few offspring) does not make sense… unless something else is going on . </li></ul><ul><li>In humans, sexuality has evolved to be at least as much about social (pair) bonding as about reproduction.* </li></ul>*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!)
  29. 31. The Oddity of Human Sexuality <ul><li>Hidden Ovulation </li></ul><ul><li>Sex for bonding as much as for biological reproduction. </li></ul><ul><li>And, by the way… homosexual activity is not an oddity of human sexuality, it is very common among other animals . </li></ul>
  30. 32. Hidden Ovulation <ul><li>Almost all female mammals have an estrous cycle, allowing both females and males to know when a female is ovulating. </li></ul><ul><li>This allows for greater reproductive efficiency. </li></ul><ul><li>Humans have hidden ovulation (no estrus). </li></ul><ul><li>Neither males nor females know when a female is ovulating. </li></ul><ul><li>Humans have VERY poor reproductive efficiency! </li></ul><ul><li>WHY? </li></ul>Baboon in Estrus
  31. 33. Fact: Human Offspring Require Substantial Care, Feeding and Investment of Resources Who is going to do this?
  32. 34. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Mommy. Very good choice. But NEEDS HELP! </li></ul><ul><li>Family Dog. Not Recommended. </li></ul>
  33. 35. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Grandma. Good, if not reproductive & still alive. </li></ul><ul><li>The Grandmother Hypothesis: Why we live so long. </li></ul>
  34. 36. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Siblings. Ok but… Must be old enough to do childcare, but not yet having babies themselves. </li></ul>
  35. 37. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Aunts, Uncles, Friends & Neighbors. Ok but… </li></ul><ul><li>Busy taking care of their own kids! </li></ul>
  36. 38. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Non-reproducing females (or males). Example: Maids </li></ul><ul><li>Only possible in complex, hierarchical societies. </li></ul>
  37. 39. Who’s Taking Care of the Baby!? <ul><li>Daddy. Good, but . . . </li></ul><ul><li>How to overcome the disincentives to fathering? </li></ul><ul><li>How to get daddy to stick around and help out? </li></ul>
  38. 40. Adult Male Adult Female Infant Surplus Resources Sexual Gratification Surplus Resources Human Pair Bonding & Sexual Exchange System Be VERY Clear: 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).
  39. 41. Ongoing “incorporation” of males into society <ul><li>For mammals, there is a strong inclination toward infant-mother bonding. </li></ul><ul><li>Male mammals are not generally as strongly bonded to others. </li></ul><ul><li>A cultural solution is “male initiation rituals” </li></ul>
  40. 42. The “Nature” of Gender and Sexuality? <ul><li>Naturalization is the process of treating the norm (most common) cultural behavior as natural . </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior outside the norm is called “ unnatural .” </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas about gender are commonly “naturalized.” </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural systems create an idea of what is “natural.” They are not merely a reflection of “the way the world is.” </li></ul><ul><li>Is “natural” meaningful? It is commonly used in moral arguments (homosexuality or female leadership is not ‘natural’ and therefore wrong*). </li></ul>*Air-conditioning is certainly not “natural”, but I have yet to hear anyone demand it be banned on that basis?
  41. 43. Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 True Stories!!!!! Ripped From The Headlines!!!
  42. 44. Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 As many as 1% to 2% of humans are born with “ ambiguous” genitalia.
  43. 45. Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 “ Ambiguous bodies” create a cultural problem of interpretation .
  44. 46. Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 Different cultures have different means of incorporating people with “ambiguous genitalia” into their own system. How would he have been treated in a society with the concept of berdache? How would he have been treated in Singapore?
  45. 47. Straits Times 11 Feb 2005 Social systems and institutions are so deeply and thoroughly gendered by our cultural models that “ambiguous” bodies cause chaos
  46. 48. Bye-bye . . . See you next week in two weeks!

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