Presentation on theme: "+ Gender. + + + Gender is a social construction. Nature makes you male or female, but society gives gender its significance. Sex = biological identity."— Presentation transcript:
+ Gender is a social construction. Nature makes you male or female, but society gives gender its significance. Sex = biological identity Gender = socially learned expectations But consider…are there really only two genders?
+ Sex identity occurs when the father’s sperm provides either an X or a Y chromosome. If X, then the child is female. If Y, then the child is male. But this process of fetal sexual differentiation can be compromised.
+ Physical Sex Differences Male: Slightly larger at birth Slightly lower heart rate as adults, higher blood pressure, higher muscle mass (more muscle fibers), muscle density Larger thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) and therefore deeper voice More body hair Smaller hip section Endocrine levels …
+ Differences between the sexes often lead to biological determinism: explanations for beliefs about gender are based on physical characteristics, e.g. boys are more aggressive due to increased testosterone, girls more emotional during hormone fluctuations
+ Social Construction of Gender Gender socialization: Men and women (and children) learn about the expectations associated with their gender. Is reinforced every time gender-associated behaviors are met with approval or disapproval from multiple areas Is noticed as early as 18 months Varies from culture to culture, socioeconomic class, education attained, etc. Influences include: - Parents, peers - Childhood games and toys - Schools - Books - Advertisements - Religion
+ - Parents - Religion Labels used for children: “sissy”, “Mama’s boy”, “tomboy” Chore assignments around the house (boys: cut lawn, girls: wash dishes, babysit) Roles within religious spheres (service leaders, prescribed social roles with regards to beliefs)
+ - Media: Women on TV are 5 times more likely to be blonde than brunette The majority of women characters in TV shows are between 18 and 34, although only 28% of the population fits this demographic Women on TV are 4 times more likely than men to be shown provocatively dressed Fashion models are 23% thinner than the average women (thirty-five years ago, the average fashion model was 8% thinner than the average woman). Statistics from Kilbourne J: Deadly persuasion: Why Women Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising. New York: Free Press, 1999 Anderson, Taylor: Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society. 3rd Edition. Thomson Wadsworth, 2004