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UO WGS 201 - Exam 1 Study Guide

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WGS 201 1st EditionExam # 1 StudyGuideCritique of essentialism:• Sexuality is not a natural force existing prior to social life• We need to historicize sexuality (punitive frameworks)• Only by paying attention to the socio-political importance ascribed to sexuality within western societies, can claims to biological normalcy and decency be unveiled of its portended value-neutralityGayle Rubin on sexual education pg. 313- “A radical theory of sex must identify, describe, explain, and denounce erotic injustice and sexual oppression.” - “Such a theory needs refined conceptual tools which can grasp the subject and hold it in view.”- “It must build rich descriptions of sexuality as it exists in society and history. “- “It requires a convincing critical language that can convey the barbarity of sexual persecution.”The Five ideological formations maintained by sexual peril:1. Sex negativity 2. The fallacy of the misplaced scale (we give sexuality and sexual varietytoo much importance)3. The hierarchal valuation of sex acts4. The domino theory of sexual peril5. The lack of a concept of benign sexual variationGayle Rubin charmed circleCompulsive heterosexuality - Rather than to defend homosexuality, Adrienne Rich chose to instead make vivid the ways in which heterosexuality are constructed.- Socially imposed through institutions like marriage- Rewarded through tax breaks, legal benefits (like not being required to testify against partner in a court of law) etc.-Not a natural outcome of sex differenceInducements and punishments for heterosexuality according to Adrienne Rich:1. Inducements;- The marriage contract (legalized sexual subordination of women)- Financial and material support (husband)- Sphere of influence (the domestic)- Stay-at home child allowance for women- Reduced earning capacity for women compared with their male partnersSymbolic or ideological;- Romance and love – made complete with a man (hetero-coupling)- Female beauty as an ideal of female worth- Motherhood within marriage as female self-fulfillment- Women valued only insofar as they are valuable to men2. Punishments;- Social ostracism for unmarried mothers, women who leave their husbands and- financially independent women- Women who are sexually independent labelled as ‘sluts’- Criminalization, pathologisation and abuse of lesbians and women who are not- exclusively heterosexual- A system of gendered sexual violence that keeps women (and their sexuality) in its- proper placeJudith Butler:- Gender is performative, it is created through the repetition of stylized acts - Theory of interpellation: The ways in which ideas get into our headsand effects our lives. So much so that cultural ideas have such a hold on us that we believe they are our own.- Gender cannot be explained through biologyFoucault- Whoever has control over what you learn has control over you- Knowledge is about control. The power to define things is the power to control what and how people think- Power: Used to subjugate certain groups. Power is a possession, you either have it or you don’t. It is mainly repressive in its aims and effects. There is an expectation from the dominant group of what that control will look like. It is capillary (like veins power spreads). And it does not always work in the ways we assume it will- One effect that comes from the attempted suppression of certain acts, ideas, people, behaviors etc. is that an enormous amount of dialog andlanguage is created around the topic that then opens up channels for resistance (repressive hypothesis)Thinking Historically about LGBTQ identities with Making of the Stonewall Myth- ‘Militant response’ marked by rioting - Acting publically in defiance of laws; if you harm us we’ll harm you, and choosing to not just be tolerated, but affirming identity- Cannot separate certain groups from the history of the movement- “Coming out” was a political sign and form of protest “out of the closet and into the street” - What effect does it have on our capacity to understand the world/history when we have in our minds a popular imagination (way ofimagining) a certain group? This popular imagination often eliminates certain populations of people i.e. how black women assisted the movement- The ways in which society represses the knowledge of certain groups’ histories is done as a way to control those groups access to a sense of power. By believing they do not have a history, it is easier to quite those groups, because they are led to believe they do not have a placewithin society, that they are


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