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 What
is the difference between sex and
 How
different do you think your life would
be if you had been born the opposite sex to
what you were/are?
•Biological/physical differences
between males and females.
•Usually, this is a clear
distinction – but not always...
•‘Intersex’ refers to people born
with both male and female sex
organs – or neither.
•Occasionally, some people
change their sex surgically. One
of the earliest and most high
profile examples of this is BBC
travel writer Jan Morris.
•The expectations society places
on males and females.
•These are passed on through
gender-role socialisation.
•We say that gender differences
are socially constructed because
they are the result of society’s
•Some disagree with this and
claim many behavioural
differences are biologically
 What
do we mean by saying gender is
socially constructed?
 What
is the alternative view?
 What
do most sociologists believe?
 Studied
tribal societies and found evidence
of gender roles completely different from
those considered ‘traditional’ in the West...
 ...Most notable was the Tchambuli people,
whose roles were the reverse of Western
 This work considered important
in demonstrating that gender is
a social construct and is not
biologically determined.
Think of toys, books, films, language etc that your parents introduced
you to and how it might support the view that gender roles are socially
How it supports the view:
 From
an early age, we are socialised to
conform to social expectations about our
 This is most influential during primary
socialisation. For example, Statham (1986)
found that parents who deliberately tried to
avoid gender-stereotyping their children
found to impossible to overcome cultural
pressures on their children to behave in
certain ways.
Parents encourage behaviour seen as normal for
the sex and discourage that seen as deviant (e.g.
tells daughter off more than sons for playing rough)
Parents channel children’s interests into activities
seen as normal for the sex (e.g. Girls channelled
into interest in childcare and appearance through
playing with dolls).
Verbal Appellations
Children spoken to in terms that reinforces their
gender (e.g. ‘good girl’; ‘naughty boy’)
Different Activities
Children encouraged to become involved in
different activities e.g. Boys given more freedom
outdoors; girls encouraged to help around the
 Referring
to the work of Mead and Oakley
(and any other sources you like) write a short
essay (500 words) as follows:
Outline the view that gender is socially
 What
have you done in the last week that
might be associated with being ‘male’?
 What
have you done in the last week that
might be associated with being ‘female’?
 What
different ‘types’ of men are there?
 What
different ‘types’ of women are there?
 Masculinity
describes the expected norms
associated with being male.
 “Bob” Connell (1995) claimed that,
traditionally, males were socialised into a
hegemonic masculinity.
 The hegemonic male is often ‘macho’ and
sexist, expected to be breadwinners and
authority figures at home. They are risktakers, heterosexual, aggressive and
individualistic. They are not supposed to
express emotions or engage in domestic
 Identify
a minimum of five examples from
the media of ‘hegemonic males’.
Ext: - How might males and females view these
characters differently?
Connell identified three other forms of
 Complicit Masculinity: Men who believe in
more equal roles within households.
 Subordinate Masculinity: Referring mainly
to homosexual men; referred to as
‘subordinate’ due to their treatment by
wider society at times.
 Marginalised Masculinity: A response to the
decline of traditional male identities and
the rise of women within the workplace.
Mac an Ghaill (1996)
 Linked to concept of marginalised
 Workplace originally a central feature of
masculine identity...therefore,
unemployment leads to a confusion over
identity – a loss of status and self-esteem.
 Men feel threatened when they
lose their breadwinner status and
roles in the workplace to women.
The ‘New’ Man/Metrosexual
The New “Laddism”
 Some
argue that certain aspects of
hegemonic masculinity are biologically
 Most sociologists would say that masculinities
are socially constructed. In the 21st Century,
this is arguably mostly down to the mass
 Over
the next week, look out for TV adverts
aimed at men. Identify the norms and
values promoted in these adverts (e.g.
Looking good, acting tough, being silly, being
sexist, helping around the house...).
 Use
your research to write a blog giving
“examples of ways in which the advertising
industry creates and reinforces
more complex concept?
 Arguably
more varied depending on class,
age and ethnicity than masculinities.
Women accept traditional ideas
about how they should behave e.g.
Quiet, submissive.
Women use sexuality to challenge
male culture and sexism
Women form subcultural ideologies
of love, romance etc – exaggerating
traditional stereotypes (e.g.
Women behave in ways more
traditionally associated with
hegemonic masculinity.
 Design
a poster describing either four
different masculinities or four different
 Provide written or visual examples for each.
 You
will present your poster to the group.
 Anne
Oakley’s work on the social
construction of gender is one of the most
important insights into the role of the family
in creating and reinforcing gender identities.
What do parents expect of their daughters? Place the
following in order of the level of expectation:
Looking after younger siblings
Helping with the washing
Getting married
Doing the ironing
Doing well at school
Having children
Getting a good job
Keeping the house clean
How have these expectations changed?
When talking about their parents, boys describe
their mothers as more sensitive and emotionally
closer to them than their more distant,
detached fathers. (Frosh et al.; 2002)
 Men are still regarded as providers and women
as carers – despite their increased activity in the
labour market. (Charles; 2002)
Homework: Read and summarise the above article in terms of
what it suggests about changing gender roles.
 When
young children were asked to analyse
superhero texts, they could pick out ways in
which hegemonic gendered activities were
embedded in the stories. When asked to
produce their own stories that were not
gendered, they struggled. (Marsh & Millard;
What sort of gender stereotypes do you
encounter regularly in popular culture (e.g. in
adverts, TV shows, movies, music…).
 To what extent do you think these stereotypes
have changed more recently?
In groups, choose one area of the mass media:
Prepare a 5 min presentation (poster or
powerpoint), incorporating some of the theorists
in the handout with your own ideas/examples
and things already studied.
In pairs, list the ways in which the following
characters represent or challenge gender
 Write
down as many religious prophets and
key religious figures as you can.
 Compare
your list with a partner.
 Share your ideas to extend your individual
 Combine
your lists to collate a single,
definitive group list.
 In
your groups, sub-divide your list by
 In
the religious texts of most
‘mainstream’ religions, significant
prophets, apostles etc. tend to be male.
 Where women feature, they tend to
represent patriarchal ideas of femininity
e.g. dangerous seducers or virtuous
 This is just one reason why many
feminists argued that religion is
patriarchal and discriminates against
Structures of Patriarchy
Patriarchal aspects of Religion
Stress on the family, marriage & monogamy
Women’s exclusion from important roles in
many churches
Where church organisations are linked to
the state, they generally support women’s
family role
Idealization of traditional ideas about
femininity in many world religions
Emphasis, in many religions, on control of
women’s sexuality
 Within
many religious groups – for example,
some Islamic and Christian faiths – fidelity,
chastity and abstinence are strongly
advocated. However, this tends to be focused
primarily on young women; the promiscuity
of males is overlooked.
“Blessed art thou Lord our God that I was
not born a slave. Blessed art thou Lord
our God that I was not born a woman.” –
Orthodox Jewish Prayer
“Wives be subject to your husbands, as to
the Lord. For the husband is the head of
the wife as Christ is head of the church.”
Ephesians 5:22-24
 Woodhead
(2007) argues that for some
Muslim women, religious dress – in particular
the veil – has become an important part of
their identity.
 There is debate about whether the veil
oppresses Muslim women or liberates them.
 Women
have always been the biggest
consumers of religion...but have been
served badly by it.
 Many religions view being born a women as a
 ...The only recourse is to become a wellbehaved, submissive wife and mother in
order to be ‘reborn’ as a man.
What are your own experiences of schooling & gender?
Identify ways that boys and girls are treated differently?
Do boys & girls have different attitudes to school work?
Do boys & girls choose different subjects?
Do boys & girls behave differently in the classroom?
 Some
subjects remain male-dominated
(Maths, Physics, IT)
 Others are increasingly female dominated
(English, Biology....Sociology A Level!)
Why do you think there are some differences
in the subjects chosen by boys/girls?
What influence might this be having on
 Boys
who value academic success are often
considered more feminine; those who take
part in anti-school subcultures are seen as
more traditional, hegemonic males (Frosh;
 Some boys come to school with existing ideas
about laddism. Male teachers often respond
with tough measures that could be seen as
equally ‘macho’ as the laddish behaviour
itself (Skelton; 2001)
 Females
outperform males in SATs, KSs,
GCSEs, A Levels, diplomas and degrees.
 Truancy
rates are significantly higher for
 Some
studies have found that girls receive
less attention than boys in the classroom.
 Read
the extract and underline or highlight
ways in which the hidden curriculum
socialises pupils into gender roles.
(5 mins)
 The
distinction between
masculinities and femininities among young
people in schools is becoming blurred.
 The introduction of the ‘ladette’ means girls
are increasingly rejecting academic success,
messing around in class and spending more
time on their social lives than on work.
List the derogatory words used by males
towards females and vice versa. What
differences can you notice?
 Examine
 What
the study by Kitzinger (1995).
was the purpose of the study and what
are its findings?
 What does it suggest about the ways in which
peer groups can influence the way girls think
about themselves?
 How might the findings be different if
Kitzinger had studied boys instead of girls?
 Males
control females through the use of
derogatory language (Lees; 1986)
 Peer
pressure is largely responsible for the
bad behaviour of boys, as they are
encouraged to aspire to characteristics such
as “holding anti-school values”, being tough,
sporty and looking fashionable. (Frosh; 2002)
 Burdsey
(2004) studied amateur and
professional footballers.
 He found that young Asian footballers would
hide their ethnic identity under a ‘laddish’
one in order to join in with post-match
activities (watching porn, drinking etc.).
 This demonstrates the importance of the
peer group in shaping identity.
Adkins (1995)
 Jobs associated with women have become
increasingly sexualised.
 Women find they have to take up subordinated
femininities in order to keep/maintain work
(e.g. Flirting, unwanted advances etc.).
What jobs are women more likely to have than
men in the UK?
How have these jobs become more sexualised?
 The
Crisis of Masculinity means that working
class males have lost their traditional jobs
and are unprepared for other skill areas.(Mac
an Ghaill; 1994).
 ...This
means that young males who
expected to have traditional gender roles are
having to rethink more flexible roles e.g.
Different masculinities. (Frosh et al; 2002)
Whilst watching the film:
 Identify
TEN ways in which the changing
nature of work affected masculinities.
 In
what ways does the peer group shape
gender identities in the film?
 In
groups, select one agent of socialisation.
 Using your notes, learning and own ideas,
devise a 5 min presentation explaining three
ways in which your chosen agent of
socialisation creates and reinforces gender