Presentation on theme: "1 Gender Roles Anthropology 393 Cultural Construction of HIV/AIDS Josephine MacIntosh."— Presentation transcript:
1 Gender Roles Anthropology 393 Cultural Construction of HIV/AIDS Josephine MacIntosh
2 Shifting Language Previously known as sex roles Currently known as gender roles The term sex is properly used in a biological context The term gender is properly used in a cultural/social context
3 Sex A social status usually based on genital appearance (what we can see) Persons may be: –Female –Male –Intersexed or Hermaphodrite (having sex characteristics of both females and males) (Aaron H. Devor, 2000)
4 Gender A social status usually based on the convincing performance of femininity or masculinity (Aaron H. Devor, 2000) Persons may be –Women or girls –Boys or men –Transgendered
5 Gender Roles Are … Culturally constructed They affect how we: –Perceive and are perceived –Evaluate and are evaluated –Learned through interaction w/ group –Not inherited They prescribe expected behaviours They vary from group to group
6 3 New Guinea Tribes Margaret Mead’s Classic Study (1935) Arapesh –Both genders worked cooperatively, non- aggressive, responsive to others, sexual contact not a driving force (feminine?)
7 3 New Guinea Tribes Margaret Mead’s Classic Study (1935) Mundugumor (Men DOO guh mor) –Both genders ruthless, aggressive, positively-sexed (masculine?)
8 3 New Guinea Tribes Margaret Mead’s Classic Study (1935) Tchambuli –Females dominant –Males more dependent
9 Mead’s Conclusions Many, if not ALL, masculine and feminine traits are socially constructed Gender roles are NOT biologically based Additionally- male dominance in contemporary society reflects a prior need for physical strength to ensure survival Current value structure continues to give men higher status tasks and assignments
10 Gender Expectations Things you like doing that are expected of your gender Things you don't like doing that are expected of your gender Things you like doing that are expected of the other gender Things you like doing but can't because of your gender
11 Sexual Stratification Division of labour based on gender Gender similar to racial or caste distinctions Lower ranking gender or class kept from prestigious work Jobs that women do are automatically ranked as less important
12 Sexual Stratification BUT… the sexual division of labour is an ancient primate trait Does it serve us to try to change this?
13 Sexual Stratification What about the feminization of poverty? Worldwide, women earn on average slightly more than 50% of what men earn How might this affect HIV infections among women?
14 Dimensions of Social Inequality Social status depends on –Wealth (money, access to resources) –Power (agency, independence) –Prestige (social esteem) Does everyone have the same choices and opportunities? –In a class system? –In a caste system?
15 Gender Roles & Status Males are afforded more choices and opportunities because masculinity is an achieved status –Prove you’re a man Females have fewer choices and opportunities because femininity is an ascribed status –Act like a lady
17 Gender Roles & HIV Prevailing gender roles –Considered by many to be the most pervasive and universal problem associated with HIV prevention –One of the few ethnographic commonalities between women as a group Globally, may present the largest obstacle to HIV prevention
18 Women Are… Generally of lower social status Often economically dependent Expected to be sexually passive Often labelled negatively if they are too knowledgeable about sex –The prevailing attitude is that only sluts and whores use condoms
21 Men Are… Generally of higher social status –Even gay men As a group, may have lower perceived status As individuals, have same access as other men Often socialized into ‘machismo’ roles –Superior knowledge of sexual matters –Authority over women –‘Marianismo’ is the opposite extreme of female dependence, passivity and ignorance of sexual matters
24 Social & Sexual Equity Integral to HIV/AIDS prevention It is important to change –Accepted patterns of male behaviour –Expected patterns of female behaviour Then, women can be in a position to protect themselves from the very real threat of HIV infection -- which leads ultimately, to death