Chapter 8-Gender (w)

Do we live in a
Are men from Mars and
women from Venus?
What is gender and
how does gender
impact life
chances? Does it?
What is
gender and
how is it a
Discussion Outline
• I. Gender Stratification
– What is gender?
– Does gender inequality still exist?
• II. Gender Differences
– Why do men and women sometimes behave
• Nature or nurture?
Feminism and Sociology
• A consciousness raising movement to get
people to understand that gender is an
important organizing principle of life
– Underlying belief is that women and men should
be accorded equal opportunities and respect
• Is there any difference between sex and
Introduction to Gender Stratification
• Sex refers to the biological differences between males and females.
• Gender refers to the social and cultural patterns attached to women
and men, or the way a society treats those biological differences
• Gender roles- Cultural expectations for gender behavior-behavioral
norms for males and females
• Gender identity –Conception of ourselves as male or female
• Gender dysphoria?
• “The murder rate (and violence towards) of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, queer, and HIV-affected (LGBTQH) is at its highest, according to a recently
released 2011 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).
• Who is Thomas Beatie?
• Are there only two sexes?
• Intersexual: Individuals born with ambiguous
reproductive or sexual anatomy
• Should doctors and parents make a decision about the sex of
intersexed babies?
• Why does the doctor say “I think the individual who is not
operated on will have problems in society as we know it
– What does this say about the importance of gender in American
Gender Stratification
• Sexism-Cultural and Social processes that justify and
promote disadvantages for women (and men?)
― Individual level: belief that one sex is superior to the other
― Institutional level: policies, procedures, and practices that produce
unequal outcomes for men and women
Patriarchy: system of social organization in which men have
disproportionate share of power in institutions-subordination of
femininity to masculinity
Sexism supports patriarchy by claiming that men are “better” than women
and therefore should dominate them.
I.e.: How does the traditional family represent patriarchy?
Gender Inequality Around the World
There is no nation where women and men
are equals=Gender Stratification
• A History of global patriarchy
• Survival rates and gender
• Discrimination and persecution
• Violent and sexual victimization
• Honor Killings
• Sex trafficking
• Do American Women face
Many of the same struggles?
Do we continue to see gender discrimination in the
institutions of American society? Gender
In what ways do we see gender inequality and/or
equality in American politics?
American gender inequality
• Politics and Government
– 1920-Right to vote
– 1990’s big influx of women into politics
– Currently congress is about 17% female
• 17 Senators/100
• 72 Reps/435
• 7 Governors/50
– Equal representation? Why don’t more women go into politics?
– Studies show that treatment of female politicians focuses on
family traits and appearance rather than political platform
• Largely demeaning and sexist towards female politicians
– I.e.: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, etc.
» “Who’s going to take care of your family?”
In what ways do we see gender inequality and/or
equality in the institutions of religion and family?
Male Domination?
• Religion
– The Stained glass ceiling- Women restricted to powerful
religious positions
• What major world religions allow female leadership? How does this affect the way
members of a religion view gender roles?
• Many religious texts place women in subordinate positions
– Is a woman’s place to “submit graciously to her husband and serve him
• The Family
– On average, women lack power, are more likely to be abused or
killed by husbands, and perform more domestic work
• The “second shift”
• A leading cause of death for women between the ages of 18-44?
» Reasons for optimism?== More egalitarian families
The Economy? The Workplace?
Male Domination
• The Economy-Women in the Workplace
– The Gender wage gap- Women earn 81 cents on the
dollar that men earn even with equal occupational
experience and level of education
• Women often encounter the “glass ceiling” in business
ventures and politics
– An invisible barrier keeping women from entering most powerful
» 15% of Board of Directors of fortune 500 companies made up
of women
• Pink Collar jobs/The “Sticky Floor”
– Many of the lowest wage jobs are disproportionately filled by
women and have little room for advancement-Example?
II. Are Gendered behaviors Biological
or Social?
1. Biological Basis for Gender Roles:
a. Males and females are different from the moment of
b. Chromosomal, hormonal, and reproductive differences
may influence behaviors and abilities
• If gender is completely biological, the suggestion is that these
biological differences explain the domination of women by men.
– I.e.: Why has America never had a female president? Why do men
make more $$$ than women?
» A sexist notion-A belief in innate superiority/inferiority
Gender Differences
– Sociologists contend that gender differences are rooted in how a
society treats gender and how men and women are socialized
 2. Social
Bases for Gender Roles: Gender is socially
a. Cross-cultural evidence shows a wide variation of
behaviors for the sexes.
• The work of Margaret Mead
b. Society transforms females and males into
socially interacting women and men.
The Social Construction of Gender
• Gender Role Socialization -The process by which…
Femininity and masculinity is learned
• Through what agents do boys and girls/men and women
learn proper gender behavior?
• Social Learning Theory
• Imitation/observational learning
• Rewards and Punishments
• I.e.: Do boys and girls learn to express
emotion differently?
Media and Gender
• In what ways does modern media contribute to
gender role socialization?
– What do boys and girls/men and women learn about
masculinity and femininity from media sources?
– Is media really that powerful in shaping our views
about what proper gender behavior is?
Gender Stereotypes are expectations about how
people will look, act, think, and feel based on their
Such expectations can have negative
physical and psychological
consequences for males and females
What consequences?
Does gender socialization create social
problems or help society?
• Traditional masculinity-> “boy code/bro code”
– Violence
– Sexual assault
– Domestic violence
– Health issues
• Traditional Femininity
– Devaluation of women’s characteristics
– Objectification of women’s bodies
– Eating disorders and body dysmorphia
Gender Roles in the United States
• Homophobia: fear of and prejudice against
– Important element in traditional views of
masculine and feminine behavior
• Tied to social problem of bullying in schools as well as
hate crimes towards
the LGBT community
and high rates of
suicide amongst LGBT
Consequence of traditional gender
role socialization
• Notion that modern American culture fosters what
many activists and scholars now call “Rape Culture”.
– Idea that men are socialized to denigrate women and
feel a sense of entitlement towards them
– American culture often “blames the victim” while
absolving the perpetrator (s) of sexual assault crimes
• What was she wearing? Why was she in that situation? Why
was she drinking?
Sociological Theory and Gender
• Parsons
• Conflict
• Microinteractionist Theories
• Black Feminism