UNT SOCI 4250 - Ch 1_Introducing Gender (15 pages)

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Ch 1_Introducing Gender



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Ch 1_Introducing Gender

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Pages:
15
School:
University of North Texas
Course:
Soci 4250 - Gender and Society
Unformatted text preview:

Chapter One What is Gender and Why Should We Care About It There she was just a walkin down the street Throughout this course we ll learn to see gender in the world around us And we will come to recognize gender as a social factor that is collectively created and sustained gender is not just an individual attribute Think about when you walk down a street Can you identify everyone s gender How do you know their gender Has someone s gender ever been unclear or ambiguous to you Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Seeing Gender Seeing gender involves more than just identifying the gender of those around you Think back to the people on the street How does gender affect the way women and men are perceived and how they are treated Occupation income family responsibilities Treatment by persons of the opposite sex Treatment by persons of the same sex When someone doesn t conform to gender norms how are sanctions aimed at correcting the behavior often applied Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Seeing Gender Research often reveals facets of gender that may otherwise remain invisible to us Uncovering the taken for granted aspects of gender can help us think more critically about gender and can open up new opportunities By learning to see gender we can develop a special kind of vision How gender affects our lives on a deeper levelQuestioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press The Social Construction of Reality This idea gets at the historical process by which our experiences of the world become put into categories and treated as real things Eg Consider the reality of race in the 19th and early 20th century Slavery science and social policy sustained ideologies about the biological inferiority of African Americans now rejected Thomas Principle Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Understanding Social Construction Once we understand the ways in which the world is socially constructed we can begin to see show the world around us is shaped by those social constructions We can critically evaluate the cultural categories we use to make sense of the world in which live To understand Social Construction we can take two approaches Historical Comparison Cross Cultural Comparison Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Historical Comparisons Think back to race and the Census that most people filled out in 2010 In the beginning of the Census there was only White and Non White Then it moved to White Black and Other And today we have a diverse set of choices in terms of race and ethnicity Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Sex or Gender What s the Difference Sex the biological differences between people that we classify as male and female biological focus Gender the social meanings that are layered onto these sex differences social cultural focus Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press The Biosocial approach A biosocial approach to the study of gender acknowledges that some elements of gender are socially constructed But biosocial scholars argue that there are limits to social construction imposed by the biological realities of male and female bodies Biosocial focus on sexual dimorphism Sex marks a distinction between two physically and genetically discrete categories of people can only be one or the other male or female Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press How do we even distinguish sex Think back to the people on the street Do you look at their bodies to distinguish their sex Or what about their facial characteristics Even if we look to genitalia some people have both sets or mixed reproductive organs Intersexed Individuals who have any of a wide number of conditions that cause ambiguity in regard to sex category Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Biosocial vs Social Constructivists on Sex Biosocial scholars believe sexual dimorphism is true and therefore that sex by and large precedes and therefore causes gender Strong Social Constructivists believe the causal arrow is reversed believed in a one sex model Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Perspective is key Scholars from both camps use the terms sex and gender but the distinctions between them is key Biosocialists believe sex indicates the existence of two different kinds of people male female Strong Social Constructivists believe sex infers a belief in two kind of people male female Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Essentialism vs Constructionism Essentialist perspective on sex and gender is similar to biosocial in that they believe there is an identifiable essence that makes people male or female Constructionists see sex and gender as things that society has made changing with time Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press So why study gender Gender Matters Influences life chances Can examine the social dimensions of gender which is often mistakenly understood as a personal attribute By looking at theoretical perspectives in regards to gender we can start to question how gender affects society as we know it and how society affects gender as well Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Three Main Goals of the Text 1 Building an understanding of the ways in which gender is socially constructed in a global and historical context 2 Debunk any ideas about what is normal and abnormal in regard to gender 3 Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press


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