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Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family Introduction to Women’s Studies Robert Wonser.

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Presentation on theme: "Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family Introduction to Women’s Studies Robert Wonser."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family Introduction to Women’s Studies Robert Wonser

2 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family2 Erotic Relations are Historical Relations Sexuality has changed and evolved historically  that it, is not universal and fixed This removes bodies from the biological realm and places them firmly in the social realm.

3 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family3 Did you know? Heterosexual and homosexual were invented in the late nineteenth century by doctors and scientists who created the science of sexology. Before that time people engaged in homosexual and heterosexual acts but their acts did not adhere to them as identities. Initially heterosexuals were defined as people only interested in sex for pleasure. Term was used to distinguish them from the time’s ‘normals’ who only engaged in sex for procreation. The socioeconomic organization of society—not genes, not brains—created the conditions for living heterosexual and gay or lesbian lives.

4 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family4 Gendered sexualities Like gender, sexualities are also expected to be “opposite”, and gendered Compulsory heterosexuality – the dominance of heterosexual values, and the fact that both hetero- and non- heterosexuality are shaped by dominant social scripts  Dichotomy between heterosexuality and homosexuality only began in 19 th century When is there an exception to this?

5 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family5 Lesbian or Bisexual Chic Illustrates a mismatch between sexual behavior and sexual identity Paula Rust defines this phenomenon as “same- sex behavior engaged in by essentially heterosexual individuals under certain extenuating circumstances, in keeping with the cultural belief that there are only two true forms of sexuality” Behavior is most likely found “in a cultural milieu favoring sexual experimentation.”

6 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family6 Lesbian or Bisexual Chic Is this cultural acceptance of “girl-on-girl” progressive? Or are the images marketed for heterosexual male audiences and focused on using women to pleasure men (Luscombe 2004)? Does this perpetuate the myth that bisexuality is simply a phase and not a valid sexual identity? On the other hand, is it subversive in that it challenges compulsory heterosexuality?

7 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family7 Sex Talk Who’s genitals do we have more names for, men or women? Gender differences are embedded in the language of sex that is the words, expressions, and ways we talk about sex. How do we describe heterosexual sexual intercourse? The talk reflects traditional gender relations, specifically that of man the aggressor/initiator and the woman as a passive receptor.

8 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family8 Sexuality and Sexual Orientation: Gendering Desire Is sexuality based in our biology?  If so, how much is? Or is it structured socially instead of by nature?  What does it mean to say that something that seems to ‘come from within’ is in some measure a social construction (that is, coming from the outside)? Several ways to answer this:  Marrying biology and society, scripts, showing how sexed bodies are socially produced and finally, the changing histories of sexuality.

9 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family9 Basis of Sexuality Is not “either-or” but “both-and” According to anthropologist Clifford Geetz, humans are “incomplete or unfinished animals who complete or finish ourselves through culture.” Biology is only part of the context of desire. A complex mix of anatomy, hormones, and the brain provide the basic outline for the range of acts and desires possible but biology is neither where sexuality begins nor where it ends. Social situations can produce biological responses; e.g. military and homosexual men with similar levels of testosterone or the tennis match.

10 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family10 Sexuality is socially scripted Sexuality is governed by sexual “scripts” derived from socially learned gender roles. Sexuality is the outcome of learning a sexual “vocabulary of motives” in adolescence, when young people are socially defined as potential sexual actors. We must learn to recognize sexual feelings and desires and learn how to translate them into socially validated actions. To whom are we supposed to be attracted to? When/where do we have sex? Cues? Boys learn to conquest, girls expect romance.

11 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family11 Bodies are produced within society Produced through “body-reflexive practices” The physical body is enmeshed in a social world of practices and activities that have physical outcomes regarding sexuality, reproduction and masculinity or femininity. Bodies are sites or arenas of social practice, in which bodies are brought into social processes (Connell 2002)  Ex: steroids, diet pills, genital and cosmetic surgeries shape bodies. Stop, how are you all seated? Like men and women? We informally learn gestures and nonverbal forms of communication that become our sometimes unconscious repertoires of gendered and sexualized body practice.

12 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family12 Connell continued Sexuality is learned Sexual arousal and sexual turn-offs are bodily responses mediated by social relationships. Our sexed bodies are produced in society and often announce to society our gendered identities and our sexual selves. “hegemonic masculinity appropriates Steve’s body and gives it a social definition.”

13 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family13 Sexual Scripts Constructionist view; the categories we believe to be real are socially constructed. Gagnon and Simon’s (1973) theory of sexual scripts holds that sexual relations are scripted interactions based on prevailing gender ideologies. Comes out of Goffman’s dramaturgy Have you ever noticed how sexual interactions unfold in a predictable manner? We’re all aware of the expectations and how we’re supposed to behave. Men are supposed to be dominant sexual initiators and women as sexually shy, submissive and as gatekeepers. In Western culture sex means love and intimacy for women and orgasm and physical pleasure for men.

14 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family14 Other Sexual Scripts Violent Scripts help explain gendered patterns of violence The emphasis on men’s initiation and pleasure in traditional scripts is thought to be linked to men’s sexual aggression. Men are supposed to be demanding sex and women as the sexual gatekeeper and passive recipient. Create barriers to egalitarian heterosexual relationships and some evidence that they play a part in rape and sexual violence.  Ex: “she asked for it” and “no really means yes”

15 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family15 Judith Butler Challenges the claim that homosexuality is as “natural” as heterosexuality because ALL of it, heterosexual and homosexual are “un-natural”. They are performances not essences. We produce the illusion of gendered essences in performing them. They’re no more “real” than the performance. Gender is nothing but the performance of gender

16 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family16 Problem with term “Homophobia” Problem with the term homophobia because it literally means “fear of homosexuals” – hatred, anger, and aggression are stronger components than fear. Not just a mislabel but helps excuse hostile behavior as the (understandable) result of inescapable fear (Logan 1996).

17 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family17 Heterosexism Homophobia refers to individual beliefs and behaviors, not institutionalized discrimination. Heterosexism refers to the antihomosexual beliefs and practices embedded in social institutions. Similar to “white privilege”; we’re not taught to see how racism puts some in a position of privilege but rather view it as something that puts racial ethnic minorities at a disadvantage.

18 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family18 Examples of Heterosexual PrivilegeHeterosexual Privilege You can go wherever you want and know that you will not be harassed, beaten, or killed because of your sexuality You do not have to worry about being mistreated by the police or victimized by the criminal justice system because of your sexuality You can express affection (kissing, hugging, and holding hands) in most social situations and not expect hostile or violent reactions from others

19 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family19 Heterosexual Privilege You are more likely to see sexually-explicit images of people of your sexuality without these images provoking public consternation or censorship You can discuss your relationships and publicly acknowledge your partner (such as by having a picture of your lover on your desk) without fearing that people will automatically disapprove or think that you are being “blatant” You can legally marry the person whom you love You can receive tax breaks, health insurance coverage, and spousal legal rights through being in a long-term relationship You can express yourself sexually without the fear of being prosecuted for breaking the law

20 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family20 Heteronormativity Heteronormativity refers to the invisibility of same-sex couples in social life.

21 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family21 Doing the Work of Family Many types of work (both paid and unpaid) are necessary to keep a family operating. These tasks can be either instrumental or expressive.

22 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family22 Doing the Work of Family Instrumental tasks refer to the practical physical tasks necessary to maintain family life (washing dishes and cutting grass). Expressive tasks refer to the emotional work necessary to support family members (remembering a relative ’ s birthday or playing with the kids).

23 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family23 Doing the Work of Family (cont ’ d) Men and women have always performed different roles to ensure the survival of their families, but these roles were not considered unequal until after the Industrial Revolution. Work started taking place outside of the home, for a paid wage. As a result, the kind of work that became valuable was the kind that happened outside of the home. This is when “housework” became unvalued, because it was not associated with a wage.

24 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family24 Doing the Work of Family (cont ’ d) Women nowadays have two jobs: paid labor outside the home and unpaid labor inside the home. Second shift (unpaid labor inside the home that is often expected of women after they get home from working at paid labor outside the home). Many women juggle full- time jobs with caring for their children and running their home with little help from their spouses. According to Arlie Hochschild, what are the consequences of the supermom strategy?

25 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family25 The “stalled revolution” Sociologists use the term “stalled revolution” to describe how current state of the feminist movement. It’s “stalled” in that, while women are (mostly) free to do what men do, men have been much more reluctant to do what women have traditionally done. This makes sense because masculine things are generally valued and feminine things are not.  Like housework

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27 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family27 Mother/daughter bonding... Over cleaning

28 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family28 Trends in Housework since 1900

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31 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family31 Eat Dinner at Home or Eat Out? 31

32 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family32 Trouble in Families Domestic violence is by far the most common form of family violence. It includes behaviors abusers use to gain and maintain power over their victims. Abuse can be:  Physical  Verbal  Financial  Sexual  Psychological

33 Lesson 5: Intimate Relationships and Family33 Trouble in Families Rates of domestic violence are about equal across racial and ethnic groups, sexual orientations, and religious groups. People are more likely to be killed or attacked by family members than anyone else.  5.9 out of every 1,000 and 2.1 out of every 1,000 men experience domestic violence  60% of offenses occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in the victim’s home  In 2005, 1,181 women and 329 men were killed by their intimate partners  Domestic violence calls are the single largest category of calls to the police  Only a very small number of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police  - National Institute of Justice Special Report June 2009

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