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(De)Constructing Sex & Gender Presented by Marc Settembrino Intro to Sociology, Spring 2009 COPYRIGHT MARC SETTEMBRINO 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "(De)Constructing Sex & Gender Presented by Marc Settembrino Intro to Sociology, Spring 2009 COPYRIGHT MARC SETTEMBRINO 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 (De)Constructing Sex & Gender Presented by Marc Settembrino Intro to Sociology, Spring 2009 COPYRIGHT MARC SETTEMBRINO 2009

2 Discussion Goals Understand Social Constructionist theories of gender Compare Constructionist and Functionalist theories of gender Discuss Doing Gender Discuss Surveillance Apply social constructionist theories to real world examples

3 What makes a man/woman? Masculine Strong Athletic Logical Feminine Emotional Caring Creative Other examples?

4 Social Construction of Gender Gender is a social accomplishment that is both produced by the individual and agreed upon by the participation of others in social interaction. (Kessler & McKenna 1978)

5 Comparing Gender Theories Essential (Essentialist) Differences between genders are natural or biological These differences serve certain functions that keep society functioning Social Construction (Constructionist) Gender is a social accomplishment Gender is the product of the cultural and historical period Gender is NOT natural, however due to overwhelming conformity to a societies gender rules, it may appear that certain characteristics are normal

6 West & Zimmerman – Doing Gender Doing gender is undertaken by women and men whose competence as members of society is hostage to is production. Doing gender involves a complex of socially guided perceptual, interactional, and micropolitical activities that cast particular pursuits as expressions of masculine and feminine natures.

7 Sex Sex Category Gender Sex is a determination made through the application of socially agreed upon biological criteria for classifying persons as male or female. Placement in a sex category is achieved through the application of the sex criteria. In everyday life sex category is sustained by socially required identificatory displays. West & Zimmerman – Doing Gender

8 Sex Sex Category Gender Gender is the activity of managing situated conduct in light of normative conceptions of attitudes and activities appropriate for ones sex category. West & Zimmerman – Doing Gender

9 Woman or Man?

10 Surveillance Michael Foucault, French social theorist The Panopticon – 18 th Century Prison design by Jeremy Bentham. The panopticon allowed prison guards to watch all inmates at once from a central location. Inmates unaware of whether or not they were being watched would begin to police themselves.

11 Surveillance (cont) We are held accountable not only to society but to ourselves Through the perceived constant surveillance by those around us we begin to internalize the norms and values of our society Examples?

12 Juggling Gender Jennifer Miller is a circus performer who doesnt meet conventional gender expectations. As you watch the film think about the gender norms that Jennifer is breaking.

13 Juggling Gender Discussion How does Jennifer do gender? Does she conform to our expectation of a female bodied person? How is gender done to Jennifer? How do others interact with her? Other observations/comments?

14 Wrap up The muddiest point? Questions/Comments? Key Concepts will be on blackboard Juggling Gender is available at the library A Copy of Doing Gender is on Blackboard

15 Homework Must be completed by March 5 at 8:00am! Take a few minutes to think about what West & Zimmerman mean by "doing gender" and connect their meaning to your own life. Use West & Zimmerman's concept of doing gender to answer the following questions.

16 Homework Questions 1. Provide at least two examples of how you do your gender. How do these examples match West & Zimmermans concept? 2. Provide at least two examples of how gender is done to you. How do these examples match West & Zimmermans concept?

17 Homework Grading Each question is worth 5 points 2 pts for having two examples The remaining 3pts will be determined by your ability to link concepts discussed in class to your examples. Note: there are no "right" or "wrong" answers, however successful responses will make use of the sociological imagination, sociological terminology, and definitions outlined in class lectures and the textbook.


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