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Gender. Two Primary Issues 1.The Cultural construction of Gender 2.Gender Relations.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender. Two Primary Issues 1.The Cultural construction of Gender 2.Gender Relations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender

2 Two Primary Issues 1.The Cultural construction of Gender 2.Gender Relations

3 Sex Versus Gender Sex refers to biological differences, Gender refers to the cultural construction of male and female characteristics. The ways members of the two sexes are perceived, evaluated and expected to behave. ( what different cultures make of sex.)

4 Gender Boundaries We demand that the categories of male and female be discrete since gender is culturally constructed the boundaries are conceptual rather than physical the boundaries are dynamic, eg. now it is acceptable for men to wear earrings. Boundaries require markers to indicate gender such as: Voice Physique Dress Behaviour Hair style Kinetics Language use

5 Felicita Vestvali 1824 - 1880 How do we react when someone seems to have traits of each category? Gender identity New York opera star who specialized in singing contralto "trouser roles." Why is it important social intercourse requires that the interacting parties know to which gender category `the other' belongs

6 Is he a he? Or is he a she? Or is she a he? How does your reaction to this image compare to the earlier one of a woman dressed as a man? Is there a double standard?

7 Women cross dress all the time. The difference is perception. Acceptance or Rejection by society

8 The Relativity of Gender If the categories `man' and `woman' are culturally constructed what are the implications? Cross-dressing often retains clues to the underlying gender base and the resulting image appears to exist somewhere between the polarities of male and female – containing elements of both – as if a third gender had been created. There can be no universal meaning to the category woman or man. What it means to be a man or a woman in a particular society is relative to that society. we do not have to be restricted to two genders

9 transsexual – gender/ sex incongruent, trapped in wrong body but with the gender identity of their organs/sex change operation transvestite – dressing as other gender, biological sex (cross-dresser) homosexual bisexual eunuch – castrated male hermaphrodite – both sets of biological organs Virgin? Boy/Girl? Third Genders

10 The Hijras of India and Pakistan Hijra means impotent ones in Urdu Some are born hermaphrodite, most are born with a male body but with a feminine gender identity and undergo voluntary castration Hijras wear colourful womens clothes and prefer men or other hijras as sexual partners Perceived neither as men nor women but as a third gender estimates range from 50,000 to 5,000,000 in India.

11 A third gender has existed in the Indian subcontinent from the earliest Vedic period (2000 BCE), and throughout the history of Hinduism They are also viewed as the cultural descendants of the court eunuchs of the Islamic Mughal Empire (1526- 1858) typically live together in a traditional commune arrangement of five or more "chelas" (disciples), supervised by a "guru." (teacher) Unrecognized in law as either male or female they face extreme discrimination in health, housing, education, employment.

12 Hijras now earn their living as beggars, prostitutes and by dancing at carnivals, weddings and births that require their blessing getting dressed for a job entertaining at a wedding Hijras are both feared for their supposed ability to place curses, and pitied for being outcast children of Allah. Believed to hold great power because of their worship of the Hindu Mother Goddess - Mata Bahuchara Blessing a newborn

13 faced with health concerns and discrimination, many have become politically active A few hijras have been elected to high political positions (1 st Hijra MP elected 1999) have recently modelled designer clothes at upbeat fashion shows And begun training as beauticians

14 George Catlin (1796-1872) Dance to the Berdache Drawn while on the Great Plains, among the Sac and Fox Indians, the sketch depicts a ceremonial dance to celebrate the two-spirit person. The men tease him but vie for his recognition, which is deemed an honor. Common among many native N. American groups In everyday life the two-spirit male typically would wear womens clothes and do womens work. He would be accepted as one of the girls. He might take a husband, or might have affairs with several men. Generally two-spirit males were not expected to have sexual relations with women. Berdache

15 We'wha (1849-96), a Zuni berdache, lived in New Mexico. He is shown holding a ritual vessel, dressed in women's clothing. Multigendered people were/are usually presumed to be people of power. Because they have both maleness and femaleness in one body, they are thought to be able to see with the eyes of both men and women. They are often called upon to be healers, or mediators, or interpreters of dreams. Besides their spiritual abilities, their capacity for work also figured into the high status of two-spirit people. Even though a two-spirit male would have taken on the gender identity of a woman, he would still have the endurance and strength of a man

16 These systems do not always have to be harmful to the third gendered/sexed individual, but often are As we move out of an age where reproduction was our main purpose in life maybe we need to revise and expand our ideas about how gender and sex roles work with each other Western societies label third sexes and genders a problem and therefore feel compelled to fix them Deification, ostracization, and medicalization are common coping strategies for societies with strong gender dichotomies, and are often based on reproductive potential

17 Is it possible to have a genderless society?

18 tasks and activities a culture assigns to the sexes – expected ways of behaving based on societys definition of masculine and feminine Gender stereotypes: oversimplified but strongly held ideas of the characteristics of men and women. Gender stratification: an unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued resources, power, prestige, and personal freedom) between men and women, reflecting their different positions in social hierarchy – a division in society where all members are hierarchically ranked according to gender Gender ideology A system of thoughts and values that legitimizes sex roles, statuses and customary behaviour Gender roles:


20 ROSIE THE RIVETER All the day long, Whether rain or shine, She's a part of the assembly line. She's making history, Working for victory, Rosie the Riveter. Keeps a sharp lookout for sabatoge, Sitting up there on the fuselage. That little girl will do more than a male will do. Rosie's got a boyfriend, Charlie. Charlie, he's a Marine. Rosie is protecting Charlie, Working overtime on the riveting machine. When they gave her a production "E," She was as proud as she could be. There's something true about, Red, white, and blue about, Rosie the Riveter. Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb, "Rosie the Riveter," (New York: Paramount Music Corp., 1942 Gender Roles

21 November 1942 For whether she rears a family or mans a rangefinder, a woman needs the physical support of a good foundation." and "Amongst other munitions of war, Berlei are still making foundations.". In the 1940s, women were encouraged to help the war effort by getting a job outside the home. But it was family and country rather than money, status, or power that they were encouraged to toil for. Coke 1942

22 1950s - mass consumption in high gear, TV ads idealized the woman as the wife and homemaker, and the man as the bread winner. But also the sex kitten

23 Cascade Dishwashing Detergent 1958 issue of Lady's Home Journal. The man in this advertisement is envious of his hostess' spotless drinking glasses. Rather than giving him advice on how to get his glasses just as clear, she advises him to tell his wife to use Cascade. The designers of this ad assume that washing dishes is a woman's chore. The roles are strictly defined; it never crosses the woman's mind that Jean's husband might have something to do with dishwashing in his household.

24 1960s Educated women started exhibiting their discontent with the status quo. Armed with diplomas and new sophisticated birth control methods, they demanded for the right to have both career and family. The great social change in the sixties allowed a variety of depictions of women: sex kitten, nurturing mother and independent working girl. 1970s Issues like woman's lib, ethnic heritage, and critiques of capitalism. Women are shown as independent only when inexpensive items or simple decisions were involved Advertisers realized that not just white people were buying products. Ethnic people were placed in advertisements.

25 1980s independent woman freedom

26 1990s 2000s She is a "multifaceted success machine. She is a nurturer and a seducer. She is the twenty-four hour a day woman, and she never sleeps. Men are domesticated. Sex objects

27 Images of women improving? From June 1999 issue of Glamour Part of an ad campaign that accompanied the Womens World Cup You pass on more to your children and your grandchildren than your eye color,... You provide the living example that they can become more than they ever thought they could. Because you did. Just do it.

28 This ad is striking because it shows a man in what is typically thought of as a womans role. What does the fact that he can open the pail without passing out say about men?

29 What Men and Women Really Think What do the models thoughts suggest? What does this say about the roles of women? And of Men? Crutchfield; Catalog for audio and video equipment.

30 Gender Stereotypes



33 A woman walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a fly swatter. she: "What are you doing?" he: "Hunting Flies" she: "Oh. Killing any? he: "Yep, 3 males, 2 Females," she: Intrigued, "How can you tell them apart?" he: "3 were on a beer can, 2 were on the phone."



36 Why are these cartoons humorous?

37 Men never cry Should not show emotion Not quitters Physically brave Independent Heroic and patriotic ideals Adventurous Shaving First day at work - earning a wage Initiations tough Courageous Drinking Physical strength Sex Be a Man What does this statement mean? What comes to mind

38 Masculine Traits PersonalityCognitivePhysical CompetitiveRationalRugged DaringAnalyticalMuscular AdventurousProblem SolvingPhys. Strong AggressiveQuant. SkilledHandsome CourageousGood ReasoningPhys. Vigorous DominantMathematicalBrawny self promotion & achievement How has this Changed during the past few years? Do you Agree?

39 Men are Supposed to be Strong What message does this ad send to men? Women? Do we usually see more scantily clad men or women? Is this what a man looks like? Should men look like this? Why or why not? Where do our ideals of beauty come from?

40 Act like a Lady What does this phrase mean? What comes to mind?

41 PersonalityCognitivePhysical AffectionateImaginativeCute SympatheticIntuitiveGorgeous GentleArtisticBeautiful SensitiveCreativePretty SupportiveExpressivePetite KindTastefulSexy focus on others, community Feminine Traits How has this changed in the past few years?

42 Victorias Secret is Revealed What does this ad suggest women should look like? Are these women, Acting like Ladies? How / Why or why not? The current ideal of female beauty is difficult to achieve. The ideal being a young Caucasian female, height 5'8"- 5'10", weighing 110-120 pounds or less. Make-up, lighting and air- brushing are used to slim down the images even more. Less than 10% of the female population are genetically destined to fit this ideal. Victorias Secret, Angels Collection

43 Healthy Women What does this ad suggest about women? About men? Why arent the men drinking the orange juice?

44 Dove EvolutionSlob Evolution

45 In 1957, Miss America was 5'7" and weighed 150 pounds. In 2002 Miss America was 5'9 " and weighed 117 pounds Changing beauty standards Katie Harman Gresham, Oregon Marian McKnight Manning, S.Carolina

46 Recent advertising trends are just as harmful to men Unforgiving & unrealistic images Mens magazines encourage obsession with body image, aging & sexual prowess


48 Gender Relations

49 Gender is an important dimension of social inequality Gender stratification frequently takes the form of patriarchy whereby men dominate women Do women in our society have a second class status relative to men? If so How? How do we measure gender stratification?

50 . Economics Politics Religion Legal rights prestige Autonomy Education Employment Health ideology How deferential they are expected to be towards men. Freedom to choose marriage partner, profession, and conception. Etc. We can also look at the roles played by women and the value society places on them roles Generally: Differential access to Wealth, Power, and Prestige







57 Labor Force Participation for U.S. Women and Men, aged 25-55 1950-2000 Womens increased participation in paid work is a central change in gender relations over the last 50 years. Labor force participation is often seen as the prime indicator (and cause) of changes in womens status. Social theory often focuses on womens employment because employment determines access to resources and ability to make independent decisions.

58 unequal distribution of wealth, power and prestige between men and women In the 1970s it was argued that women are universally subordinate to men in political, economic, and public life i.e cultures everywhere give man, as a category opposed to women, higher social value and moral worth. Gender Stratification Is the secondary status of women a cultural universal?

59 Womens Power in Global Perspective

60 Are women universally or always subordinate to men?

61 1. The biological argument women's status relative to men is natural and due to biological differences: Mens testosterone naturally leads them to be more aggressive Womens oestrogen makes them more compliant Women are biologically programmed to bear and raise children which affects their economic roles Can these differences explain male aggression juvenile delinquency, for violent crime in general the biological basis of warfare the political and economic dominance of men Explanations for the Universal subordination of Women

62 1.Biologically men are physically stronger than women 2.therefore this results in a sexual division of labour with men doing the harder work 3.In other words biology influences behaviour 4.implies that the relationship between biology and social life is one of cause and effect. If biology explains the political and economic dominance of men must we not simply accept that fact?

63 So much for that theory --- in many societies women are the real labourers biological differences cannot provide a universal basis for social definitions of `man' and `woman'

64 3. Psychological boys try to dominate others girls comply with parents again linked with biology 2. Envy theory men may have political control but women have the power of life - giving birth Men may arrange or exchange legal rights over women's offspring, but the power of creating life and sustaining it by breast milk remains beyond their grasp. i.e. men are envious again linked to biology

65 it is true, generally men are physically stronger than women this may account for some of the division of labour But nothing in the biological differences between the sexes can account for the secondary status of women what is important is the different values placed on being a man or a woman or on the work that is done But so what An alternative explanation is that there must be some cultural or sociological regularities that account for male dominance. the inequalities are due to the fact that societies place different values on biological sex and apparently universally value female sex lower than male sex

66 both sexes must learn behavior that is deemed appropriate to their gender girls from their mother's model a boy with his father Children's socialization or Gender Typing

67 i.e. identification with the domestic domain is seen as a consequence of their role as mothers has tended to limit them to certain social functions i.e. with the rearing of children Female is to domestic as male is to public The domestic/public opposition is ultimately derived from woman's role as mother and rearer of children.

68 Since women are confined to the domestic context, their main sphere of activity becomes familial relations i.e. women's roles centres around the hearth and home. domestic are those institutions and activities organized around mother- child groups

69 men, however, operate in the political and public domain of social life. they are free to form those broader associations that we call `society' Men thus become identified with society and the public interest The domestic sphere is considered less important than the public domain Since women are associated with the domestic sphere and men the public, women are of lower and men of higher value.

70 but this cannot be considered universal this domestic/public association it appears is a Western construct. Is the domestic sphere devalued in our society? These ideas derived from Western thought has been imposed on other cultural situations where it does is not always apply in Western society the family and the domestic are conceived in opposition to the public sphere of life, business, work and politics

71 The Hagen of New Guinea do associate women with the domestic realm and men with the public sphere pursuing socially valued goals is acting like a man pursuing individual family interests is acting like a woman but these types of behaviour are open to both men and women the association of the domestic with something demeaning or less than social is not a feature of Hagen thought.

72 Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935) Male and Female (1949). sought to discover extent temperamental differences between the sexes were culturally determined rather than innate biological Mead found a different pattern of male and female behavior in each of the cultures she studied, all different from gender role expectations in the United States at that time. Margaret Mead

73 The gentle mountain-dwelling Arapesh Arapesh child-rearing responsibilities evenly divided among men and women - both nurturing The fierce cannibalistic Mundugumor a natural hostility exists between all members of the same sex. Mundugumor fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters were adversaries - both aggressive The graceful headhunters of Tchambuli, While men were preoccupied with arts, gossiping, hair, the women had the real power, controlling fishing and manufacturing,

74 Relativist Position in the non-western world we find cultural ideologies that subordinate and exclude women, extract their labour and child-bearing and rearing and place them under the legal control of their fathers, brothers and husbands ideologies which are supported as vehemently by women as by men. Their religion may consign women to domestic roles and labour to enhance male prestige But women portray themselves in terms of virtue and duty.

75 men and women, may be equally committed to a system of rules and meanings even though it gives power and advantage to some of them and subordinates others. Can we legitimately step outside this system and view it as an ideology without simply imposing our ideology on them.

76 In other words even though we can see the injustice of the system which polarize the sexes and demean women It does not mean that women live in these societies with the strain, conflict, or negative self-images one would expect them to entail Women are actors women may themselves become important political actors who influence the public political affairs of men from behind the scenes pursue strategies of controlling labour and prestige within the constraints of the system.


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