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Kimmel, Chapter One Why does every society differentiate people on the basis of gender? 摩梭 (Mosuo) Why in almost every society does male dominance (patriarchy)

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Presentation on theme: "Kimmel, Chapter One Why does every society differentiate people on the basis of gender? 摩梭 (Mosuo) Why in almost every society does male dominance (patriarchy)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Kimmel, Chapter One Why does every society differentiate people on the basis of gender? 摩梭 (Mosuo) Why in almost every society does male dominance (patriarchy) become the power system? Report Date: Friday, January 18, 2002 Matriarchy: Women Rule in China's Mosuo Culture Near the Tibet border in China on Lugu Lake, there exists a culture where no man makes the rules, runs the house, controls the finances, or chooses a mate. Known as the Mosuo, this group lives in the large shadow of the Tibetan mountains and is one of the last true matriarchies on our planet.   Matriarchy, a Greek word that translates as either "women rule" or "in the beginning the mothers," is a complete social and political system, usually agricultural in nature, dominated by females. With roots in the late Neolithic period of human development, about 4,500 years ago, matriarchies may have once been common, but eventually gave way to the patriarchal, or male dominated, societies prevalent today. Besides the Mosuo, only a handful of small matriarchal cultures currently exist, including the Khasi of India, the Machinguenga of Peru, and the Nagovisi of Bougainvillea in the South Pacific. The Mosuo live in large "clan houses," three generations gathered under one roof. All those within the house take the name of the eldest woman--for example, "Tiger Mother" or "Tree Mother." The clan mother's female offspring run the house, including all economic and social affairs, and all property and assets are transferred to the female's side of the family. Female children become full clan members at 13, and work in the fields and eventually participate in a "walking marriage." In this system, women choose men they wish to mate with, often two or three at a time. Men have no say when it comes to mating, and each evening, the brothers leave the clan house to their sister(s), so the selected lover can enter the home. In the morning, the lover returns to his mother's home, and the woman's brothers return home as well. When a woman becomes pregnant, it is the responsibility of the woman and her brothers to raise the child. The identity of the father is considered unimportant. courtsey holistic-vasectomy/01.htm journal/china/lijiang.htm

2 Mosuo, a Matriarchal Culture

3 Three Theories Kimmel describes three theories, used for the past 40 years, to explain gender differences Interplanetary theory: men and women are different (and opposite). (nature + nurture) Nature M and W differ biologically Reproductive anatomies, brain structures, muscles, hormones, etc., are different There are differences, but Kimmel says, “more differences exist among men and among women than between m and w.” Sex, ascribed social status

4 Mars and Venus, Roman Statues
Nature theories cannot explain historic male domination Dominance is not carried on the Y chromosome

5 Nurture People who see the difference between m and w as social, not biological, study gender Gender, influence of society, an achieved social status; one learns gender from his/her culture through socialization Gender changes through time, refers to behavior; we play-act feminine or masculine. Gender varies cross-culturally; more difference culturally than m and w universally Kimmel sees all of these theories as flawed and believes that perceptions of difference cause domination and inequality Kimmel uses rhetorical strategies here to emphasize his point and separate his point—an academic discourse convention --also in “dissing” Deborah Tannen Kimmel feels one needs to look at the differences among people and between classes and social statuses to understand domination Gender difference is the product of gender inequality, not the other way around Sees gender as an organizing principle

6 Kimmel’s Theses More differences among men and among women (among people, really) than between men and women Gender varies cross-culturally Inequalities cause differences Inequalities are due to social class and social position Gender differences are the product of gender inequalities

7 Visibility Masculinity is often invisible within patriarchal societies
Power and privilege are invisible to those who have them Kimmel, in chapter one, talks about going in to sub for a female colleague in her gender class, and a student (female) said “Finally, an objective opinion!” Perspective and audience influence perception

8 Masculinity Becomes invisible
Generic standard of a person used to measure social life Invisibility provides status and privilege to white men

9 Invisibility Those with power and privilege do not recognize it
Fish does not notice the water in a fish bowl US Citizens and post 9/11 patriotism Invisibility goes unnoticed, although we measure things against it, so things we think are gender neutral aren’t

10 IVCC Professors The average person would likely interpret this as a fair scale because all IVCC faculty members are judged by the same standards. Kimmel shows that the system, itself, is blind to differences of male and female experience—that, indeed, the standards may be based on traditional male-privileged, and not “objective,” criteria. Even though every faculty member has the same requirements for advancement, the American socila and educational systems are not set up to allow men and women equal opportunity and access to higher education. When married men and women both work, for example, women still tend to do more housework and child-rearing activities than their husbands. This is often called the “second shift.” Further sociological studies have suggested that women also have a “third shift,” the time they spend putting into their appearances—makeup and hair, clothing, dieting and working out, and plastic surgery—which tends to draw a lot more time than male fashion and toiletries dictate.

11 Cultural Rules Based on masculine standard Pregnancy policies
Wendy Kaminer Anne Crittenden Tarvis: Women have lower self-esteem than men Women do not value their efforts as much as men Women are more likely to be “hurt” than “angry” Women have difficulty making time for themselves In testing, the invisible things can mean the test itself is biased

12 Current Debate Kimmel says we are “At this moment, having a national debate about masculinity in this country—but we don’t know it” Not just masculinity is at debate but the nature of nature vs. nurture is up for debate Same sex marriage and sexuality War records and sensitivity issues Collect worksheet

13 The Plural and the Powerful
Kimmel explains that gender isn’t an accurate or explicit term because there are multiple masculinities and femininities Gender varies cross-culturally Gender varies over historical time Gender varies among men and women within any one culture Gender varies across the span of an individual human life The Individual Implication: Erving Goffman: In an important sense there is only one complete unblushing male in America: a young, married, white, urban, northern, heterosexual, Protestant, father, of college education, fully employed, of good complexion, weight, and height, and a recent record in sports Any male who fails to qualify in any one of these ways is likely to view himself—during moments at least—as unworthy, incomplete, and inferior. (Kimmel, p. 10)

14 Ruth Useem and Positionality
F1 Princess Diana – M1 Prince Charles F2 Julia Roberts – M2 Heath Ledger F3 Us – M3 Us F4 Homeless person – M4 Homeless person Note that “us” still overlooks the complexity of our differences and similarities Barbara Risman: If women and men were to experience identical structural conditions and role expectations, empirically observable gender differences would dissipate (Kimmel, p. 14)

15 Categories are socially constructed
Can we even speak about gender differences when there are so many differences among women themselves (and men themselves) and so many similarities between men and women? Categories are socially constructed Checking an M or F on a form doesn’t represent reality. M and F are pluralized terms. Human perception of differences as meaning opposite Men do not want to be like women

16 More Alike than Different
Most research shows that women and men are more alike than they are different Kimmel: “Women and men are not from Venus and Mars, but are both from planet Earth. We’re not opposite sexes, but neighboring sexes—we have far more in common with each other than we have differences.”

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