UAlbany A SOC 262 - Final Study Guide

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Sociology of Gender: Final Study GuideSex vs. Gender-Sex: Biological categorization based on internal & external sex organs, chromosomes, or hormones.-Gender: Social traits and behaviors that are expected to be on display depending on biological sex.3 Aspects of Gender- Gender Identity: One's internal sense of being. How individuals perceive themselves & what they call themselves.-Gender Expression: The way individuals present themselves publically in gendered terms. Usually expressed through masculine or feminine clothing, voice, language-Gender Role: The set of roles, activities, expectations & behaviors assigned to females and males by society+ +Interplanetary Theory of Gender-Belief that men & women are innately different-Need to "problematize" the normal-Scholars argue that there's actually much more diversity among men & women than btw. men&womenMultiple Masculinities/Multiple Femininities- Gender influenced by factors such as: Race, class, sexuality, age, etc.-Gender varies across cultures, historical periods, social contexts, etc.-Masculinities can be adopted by females & femininities can be enacted by malesGender Inequality & Male Privilege-Gender is not only a classification but an expression of universal inequality between males and females-Gender does not only entail difference but also, power, hierarchy, and inequality (domination)-Male Privilege: Idea that men have unearned social, economic, and political advantages solely on the basis of their sex which are usually denied to womenBiological Theoretical Perspective-Argues that gender difference AND gender inequality are rooted in biologyPerspective is based on three main areas of research:*Evolutionary Theory*Brain development*Sex HormonesEvolutionary Theory-All differences in humans derive from biological development as aresult of evolutionary science- The resulting differences are natural & cause the varied social & political arguments we see today-Theory requires that all members in society desire to pass on their genes-Humans have diff. reproductive strategies to guarantee that genes are passed on-Rape counterargument:+*Phenomenon that became a feasible strategy for achieving copulation*Often motivated by rage & violence rather than sex*Rape victims are often outside reproductive age or hurt their rape victims*Rape often occurs among same sex partnersBrain Research-Biologists have attempted to find differences between male/female brains to account for gender differences-Comtemp. brain research on gender generally focuses on:*Diff. btw. right & left hemisphere*Diff. in the tissue that connects the hemisphere*Ways in which males&females use different parts of their brains for same functionsSex Hormones+-Differing types & levels of sex hormones arguably cause significant disparities btw. men & women-Sex hormones attributed to characteristics such as aggression, violence, competiveness, etc.Biological Essentialism-Theory is attractive for variety of reasons:*Biological explanations often appear to be based on "true" science & objective scientific facts*Biological arguments tells us what is, is what should be*Biological explanations reassure us that existing gendering inequalities are not our fault, they cannot be changedAnthropological Criqites of Biological Perspective-It ignores cultural variations in gender & applies western notions of difference to other cultures-Anthropologists claim there is no universal femininity or universal masculinityUniversal Observations-Virtually all societies exhibit some degree of difference btw. men & women-Virtually all societies exhibit some degree of gender inequality & male dominationGoals:1) Understand universal link btw. gender difference & gender inequality2)Investigate cultural variations in gender definitions, roles, characteristics, rituals, etc.Mead+-Studied variety of things from adolescence to gender development-Mead observed enormous cultural variations in definitions of masculinity/femininity-Attempted to challenge claims of biological inevitability of gender defense-Didn't explain gender differenceTheories of Gender DifferenceFunctionalism:-Each element in society has a specific function in order to ensure stability & survival-At some point, most societies develop a need for hunters & gatherers-Males=Hunters, Females=Gatherers-Gendered division of labor necessary for preservation of society-Anthropologists argues that the gendered division of labor is culturally specific & not biologically inevitable-It's argues that cultural specific gender diff. is functional for the society in which it existsMarxism, Private Property, Materialism:-Economy is most important force in society-As societies adopt capitalism & replace feudalism, culture changes drastically-Develop. of capitalism causes the develp. of private property which established clear lines of inheritance-Which led to develop. of nuclear family & sexual control of womenby menWarfare in Primitive Societies:-Gender difference & domination tied to role of warfare in primitive societies-Women excluded from warfare & offered as reqrds for successful warriors-Gender differentiation & female subordination a result of men controlling resources & need for social preservationCross-Cultural Findings-Male domination is lower when men & women work together & there is less gendered division of labor-Male domination is more pronounced when men control political &ideological resources& private property-Male dominance increases under capitalism & industrialization-Harsh encir. tend to increase male dominationGender Rituals -Researchers have found that rituals often play an imp. role in establishing & reaffirming gender-Rituals provide a place for citizens to discuss & internalize meanings of gender+Rituals to Establish Gender-Gendered rituals often occur at birth to present the child to societyas a gendered subject, or at puberty to serve as a right of passageinto gendered adulthoodFemale Circumcision:-FGM involves surgically removing all or part of a female's externalgenitalia for non-medical purposes-It discourages women's sexuality, prevent sexual pleasure, encourage purity & modesty. establish femininity, & differentiate btw. gendersThe Sambia:-Believe that females are born with "complete" femininity, while men must undergo gender rituals-Pre-adolescent boys must perform oral sex on older men to receive sem in order to develop masculine traitsFreud & Psychoanalysis-Gender differences are the result of diff. experiences from


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