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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?

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

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

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 Perspective and audience influence perception

8 Masculinity Becomes invisible –Generic standard of a person used to measure social life white –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.

11 Cultural Rules Based on masculine standard –Pregnancy policies Wendy Kaminer w.html w.html Anne Crittenden a.html a.html

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 sexualitysexuality –War records and sensitivity issues

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

14 Ruth Useem and Positionality –F 1 Princess Diana– M 1 Prince Charles –F 2 Julia Roberts– M 2 Heath Ledger –F 3 Us– M 3 Us –F 4 Homeless person– M 4 Homeless person Note that “us” still overlooks the complexity of our differences and similarities

15 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.

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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