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Is gender socially constructed or is it something that we do? lecture 2.

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Presentation on theme: "Is gender socially constructed or is it something that we do? lecture 2."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is gender socially constructed or is it something that we do? lecture 2

2 last week … summary historical studies – e.g. medical texts historical studies – e.g. medical texts more similarities than differences between men and women? more similarities than differences between men and women? why focus on differences? why focus on differences? the sexes may not be as distinct as we might think – five sexes? the sexes may not be as distinct as we might think – five sexes?

3 continued … idea of biological facts as determining behaviour recent idea of biological facts as determining behaviour recent debates about what really defines sex debates about what really defines sex see examples and discussions about intersex case studies in: see examples and discussions about intersex case studies in: Kessler & McKenna (1978); Butler (1990); Harrison & Hood-Williams (2002); Garfinkel (1967) and Hird (2000) intersex cases can help us understand gender as a constant achievement – is gender something we do? intersex cases can help us understand gender as a constant achievement – is gender something we do?

4 lecture outline (1) gender as a term gender as a term social construction of gender and gender socialisation social construction of gender and gender socialisation critique of essentialism critique of essentialism problems with sex-gender distinction? problems with sex-gender distinction? constructing masculinities (Connell) constructing masculinities (Connell)

5 lecture outline (2) crisis in gender order? (Connell) crisis in gender order? (Connell) gender display? (Goffman) gender display? (Goffman) doing gender? (West & Zimmerman) doing gender? (West & Zimmerman) gender attribution (Kessler & McKenna) gender attribution (Kessler & McKenna) summary summary

6 gender Gatens in Gunew 1991; Oakley 1997; Jackson in Jackson & Jones 1998 Freud (1905) & psychological research 1930s Freud (1905) & psychological research 1930s Robert Stoller published Sex and Gender in 1968 Robert Stoller published Sex and Gender in 1968 hermaphrodite/ adrenogenital syndrome hermaphrodite/ adrenogenital syndrome

7 social construction of gender (1) Jackson in Jackson & Jones 1998; Pilcher & Whelehan 2004 gender and sex commonly used by feminists 1970s gender and sex commonly used by feminists 1970s e.g. Ann Oakley (1972) Sex, Gender and Society Sex, Gender and Society gender stereotypes gender stereotypes

8 gender stereotypes e.g. Masculinityassertiverationalstrongactivecompetitiveunemotional(culture)Femininitysubmissiveintuitiveweakpassivecooperativeemotional(nature)

9 gender: power and inequality not just about differences not just about differences hierarchically organised and valued hierarchically organised and valued e.g. men and masculinity privileged over women and femininity? POWER and INEQUALITY? POWER and INEQUALITY?(patriarchy)

10 Simone de Beauvoir (1949: 295) One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman gender differences in hierarchical opposition – women as Other ? gender differences in hierarchical opposition – women as Other ? feminists challenge the idea that biology is destiny feminists challenge the idea that biology is destiny

11 social construction of gender (2) gender learned through socialisation gender learned through socialisation (Oakley: ) – 4 processes 1. manipulation- e.g. fuss over appearance 2. canalisation – e.g. sex-typed objects - toys 3. verbal appellation – e.g. bad boy 4. activity exposure – e.g. domestic chores operates through social institutions operates through social institutions e.g. school, work, especially the family

12 social construction of gender (3) Jackson in Jackson & Jones 1998; Howson 2004 critique of essentialism critique of essentialism disputes that social roles naturally determined and fixed disputes that social roles naturally determined and fixed masculinity and femininity historically and culturally variable masculinity and femininity historically and culturally variable e.g. Mead; and berdache

13 problematising the sex-gender distinction Jackson 1998; Gatens 1991; Butler 1990; Harrison & Hood-Williams 2002; Howson 2004 assume sex is biological and ahistorical? assume sex is biological and ahistorical? gender mapped onto neutral bodies? gender mapped onto neutral bodies? does female = feminine/male = masculine? does female = feminine/male = masculine? role of the body in the social construction of gender – disrupt and /or maintain boundaries between femininity and masculinity? role of the body in the social construction of gender – disrupt and /or maintain boundaries between femininity and masculinity?

14 constructing masculinities? (1) Connell 1987, 1995; Pilcher & Whelehan 2004; Howson 2004 since 1980s research into this area since 1980s research into this area gender as a structure of social practice – gender projects gender as a structure of social practice – gender projects masculinity constructed in relation to what it is not, especially but not only femininity masculinity constructed in relation to what it is not, especially but not only femininity life course, discourses and institutions – intersect? life course, discourses and institutions – intersect?

15 constructing masculinities? (2) Connell 1987, 1995; Pilcher & Whelehan 2004; Howson 2004 hierarchy of masculinities (and femininities) hierarchy of masculinities (and femininities) hegemonic masculinity - dominant cultural ideal hegemonic masculinity - dominant cultural ideal complicit masculinity – gain advantages from cultural ideal complicit masculinity – gain advantages from cultural ideal subordinated masculinity – homosexual men subordinated masculinity – homosexual men femininities – bottom of the gender hierarchy femininities – bottom of the gender hierarchy

16 crisis tendencies in current gender order? Connell 1995 challenges to hegemonic masculinity? challenges to hegemonic masculinity? - unemployed working class young men – breadwinner - middle class – new technical occupations – lack authority - men in the environmental movement – pro-feminist - gay men – not heterosexual

17 gender display (1) Goffman 1979: Harrison & Hood-Williams 2002; West Zimmerman 1998[1987]; Smith 1996 body idiom body idiom if gender be defined as the culturally established correlates of sex (whether in consequence of biology or learning), then gender display refers to conventionalized portrayals of these correlates (Goffman 1979: 1)

18 gender display (2) Goffman 1979: Harrison & Hood-Williams 2002; West Zimmerman 1998 [1987]; Smith 1996 gender is not a reflection of essential nature but is made to appear so? gender is not a reflection of essential nature but is made to appear so? gender differentiation – produced and reproduced in interaction? gender differentiation – produced and reproduced in interaction? enact culturally appropriate idealised performances of femininity and masculinity? enact culturally appropriate idealised performances of femininity and masculinity? gender socially scripted? gender socially scripted?

19 doing gender? (1) West & Zimmerman 1998 [1987]; Garfinkel 1967; Kessler & McKenna 1978 critical of Goffman – for them gender is a routine done in everyday interaction critical of Goffman – for them gender is a routine done in everyday interaction ethnomethodological approach ethnomethodological approach gender as an accomplishment – and situated doing? gender as an accomplishment – and situated doing?

20 doing gender? (2) West & Zimmerman 1998 [1987]; Garfinkel 1967; Kessler & McKenna 1978 need to distinguish between: sex (biological criteria) – cant see sex category – (what classified as) – look the part gender – (how manage classification) – acting the part

21 doing gender(3) see e.g. Kessler and McKenna (1978) gender construction in everyday life: transsexualism gender construction in everyday life: transsexualism natural attitude in terms of gender natural attitude in terms of gender gender attribution gender attribution genitals – essential sign? genitals – essential sign?

22 doing gender? (4) West & Zimmerman 1998 [1987]; Garfinkel 1967; Kessler & McKenna 1978; Tyler & Abbott 1998 refer to Agnes – passing? refer to Agnes – passing? sex category and gender are managed properties? sex category and gender are managed properties? gender assessment – accountability gender assessment – accountability e.g. female flight attendants doing gender – weight, make-up, emotional labour

23 summary (1) socialisation – emphasis on nurture not nature socialisation – emphasis on nurture not nature what happens to bodies? what happens to bodies? contradictory gender meanings? contradictory gender meanings? how does diversity amongst women/men occur? – Connell tries to account for these? how does diversity amongst women/men occur? – Connell tries to account for these?

24 summary (2) gender display – do we follow scripts? gender display – do we follow scripts? is gender something we do? is gender something we do? is it simply a display in interaction? is it simply a display in interaction? does it involve work? – more for women? does it involve work? – more for women? how do we know the routine? conscious? how do we know the routine? conscious? is it possible not to do gender? is it possible not to do gender?

25 next week … outline key theoretical approaches to understanding gender. outline key theoretical approaches to understanding gender. map the theoretical shift from material aspects of gender to cultural representations of gender map the theoretical shift from material aspects of gender to cultural representations of gender


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