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Chapter 10_ Sex and Gender


									      Chapter 9

Sex, Gender and Sexuality
Chapter Outline
 Sexual Differentiation
 Theoretical Perspectives on Gender
 Gender as Social Construction and
  Social Structure
 Differences in Life Chances by Sex
 Gender and Power
 The Sociology of Sexuality
 Where this Leaves Us
Sexual Differentiation
Sex v.s. Gender
 Sex is a biological characteristic: male or
 Gender refers to the expected behaviors
  and dispositions that cultures assign to
  each sex.
 Gender roles refer to the rights and
  obligations that are normative for men
  and women in a particular culture.
     ◦ Although biology provides two distinct
     and universal sexes, cultures provide
     almost infinitely varied gender roles.
Sexual Differentiation
Gender Roles Across Cultures
 Gender roles vary widely across cultures
 Some similarities exist - in almost all cultures:
  ◦ Men tend to have more power.
  ◦ Almost universal preference for male children.
 Power difference produces widespread violence
  against women:
   ◦ “Violence and discrimination against women are global
  social epidemics” (Human Rights Watch, 2004)
Sexual Differentiation
Gender Roles Across Cultures
Violence Toward Women:
 Each year, about 1.5 million American women are
  raped or physically assaulted by intimate partners.
 Between 100 and 140 million women, mostly in
  African countries but also in Asia, South America,
  and Europe, have undergone genital mutilation.
 In Afghanistan, Islamic fundamentalists have thrown
  acid onto the faces of girls who dare to go to school,
  disfiguring and sometimes blinding them.
Theoretical Perspectives on
Gender Inequality
Structural-Functional Theory:
Division of Labor
   A gendered division of labor is functional
  because specialization will:
  1. Increase the expertise of each sex in its
     own tasks.
  2. Segmented labor market - prevent
     competition between men and women that
     might damage the family.
  3. Strengthen family bonds by forcing men
     and women to depend on each other.
Theoretical Perspectives on
Gender Inequality
Conflict Theory:
Sexism and Discrimination
 According to conflict theorists, women‟s
 disadvantage benefit men and the capitalist
   Sexism is the belief that women and men
    have biologically different capacities that
    form a legitimate basis for unequal treatment.
     ◦ Sexism as an ideology is part of a general
       strategy of stratification.
   Discrimination is the natural result of sexism.
Theoretical Perspectives on
Gender Inequality
Symbolic Interactionism:
Gender Inequality
 Study of preschoolers found that:
  ◦ Teachers structure children‟s play and impose discipline that
   reinforce gender differences.
   ◦ Boys are actively discouraged from playing “dress-up” and girls
   are actively discouraged from running, crawling, and lying on the
 Study of sleep away camp found that:
  ◦ high-ranking athletic boys led other boys in teasing, assaulting, or
   excluding any boys they deemed too “feminine” and any girls they
   deemed too “masculine.”
Gender as Social Construction
and Social Structure
Developing Gendered Identities
               Despite many changes in gender
                roles in the United States, boys
                and girls still tend to experience
                large doses of traditional gender
               When parents do not exhibit
                gender-stereotypic behavior and
                do not punish their children for
                cross-gender behavior, their
                children are less rigid in their
                gender stereotypes
Gender as Social Construction
and Social Structure
Reinforcing Biological Differences
 The belief that males and females are biologically
difference is a self-fulfilling prophecy that helps maintain
males and females as biologically different.
 Belief in the naturalness of biological difference is
reinforced through everyday interaction and what we see.
   ◦ Medicine – doctors prescribe hormones to limit female growth or
increase male growth. Plastic surgery reinforces the idea of what is
male and what is female.

   ◦ Sports – male (football) and female (cheerleaders); athletic rules
are different for men and women; performance evaluations are
different for men than women.
Gender as Social Construction
and Social Structure
“Doing Gender”
 Refers to everyday activities that individuals
  engage in to affirm their commitment to
  gender roles.
  ◦ Male nurses sometimes talk about their athletic interests or
   heterosexual conquests to keep others from questioning their
 Compulsive Heterosexuality – consists of
  continually demonstrating one‟s masculinity
  and heterosexuality.
Personal Application
How are you doing gender right now?
 Are you sitting with your legs apart or crossed
  at the ankles?
 Are you wearing makeup?
 What color and kind of clothes are you
 If you are snacking, do you feel you should
  apologize or explain (even in your head) that
  you know that you need to lose weight?
Gender as Social Construction
and Social Structure
Gender as Social Structure
Gender is also a property of social structure
of society. Institutionalized differentiation:
 ◦ workplaces with no daycare; no paternity
    leave for fathers
 ◦ power tools, executive chairs, sports
     equipment sized to fit the average man
 ◦ the subtle ridicule of men who do housework
 ◦ differences in pay for men and women
Differences in Life Changes
by Sex
Gender disadvantages work both ways in
the US:
 Life expectancy for men = 76.4 yrs; women = 81.4 yrs
      (probability estimate for birth year 2015)

 Young men 2X more likely to die in auto accidents than
      women; 6X more likely to be killed by guns.
 Men more vulnerable to stress-related disease
 Men are 4X more likely to commit suicide
Differences in Life Changes
by Sex
 Men and women are equally represented among
graduates of high school, Bachelor‟s and Master‟s
 Differences in representation occur at Ph.D. level and
advanced professional degrees
 Differences in type of education occur from 5th grade
up: Boys tend toward science and math; girls tend
toward language and literature.
 Studies show that these differences are largely socially
constructed and structurally reinforced.
Percentage of Bachelor’s Degrees Earned by
Women by Field in 1971 and 2007

          Field of Study              1971   2007
              Business                 9      49
  Computer and Information Sciences    14     19
             Education                 75     79
            Engineering                1      18
           Health Sciences             77     86
     Home Economics Education          97     99
    Library and Archival Sciences      92     88
              Pre-Law                  6      58
            Mathematics                38     44
     Social sciences and history       37     50
Differences in Life Changes
by Sex
Work and Income
 Among Americans age 25 – 34, 92% of
men compared with 75% of women are in
the labor force.
 Gap continues to shrink.
 Despite growing equality in work force
involvement, major inequalities in pay
ratios persist.
Labor-Force Participation Rates of
Men and Women 16 and Over
Differences in Life Changes
by Sex
Work and Income
Different Occupations, Different Earnings:
1. Gendered Occupations - Lower paying jobs
     tend to be “women‟s work”.
2. Different qualifications - Women are less
     likely to have as much experience or
     education as men.
3. Discrimination works against women‟s
     options in the world of work.
Differences in Occupation
by Sex, 2004
 Differences in Life Changes
 by Sex
Work and Income
Same Occupation, Different Earnings:
1. Different titles – „janitor‟ and „assistant
   executive‟ (male titles) earn more than „maid‟
   and „executive assistant‟ (female titles).
2. Discrimination – even women with same titles
   earn less than men.
   ◦ Ex: male lawyers earn more than female lawyers; are hired
     more by large firms to specialize in „prestigious‟ areas of law).
     ◦ Glass Ceiling – an invisible barrier to women’s promotions
     ◦ Glass Escalator - an invisible advantage that rapidly moves
     men into administrative positions and prestigious specialties
Sex Differences in Representation and
Median Weekly Earnings by
Occupation                                Male   Female   % women
                                       Income    Income    workers
Chief executives                        $1903    $1603         24

Lawyers                                  1751     1509         38

Computer programmers                     1261     1003         22

Elementary / middle school                994      871         81
Retail salespersons                       623      440         43

* Full time, year-round workers only
Gender and Power
Unequal Power in Social Institutions
 Women‟s subordinate position is built into
  most social institutions.
 In colleges, women‟s basketball coaches are
  paid less than men‟s basketball coaches.
 In politics, prejudice against women leaders
  remains strong, and women still comprise
  only a minority of major elected officials in the
  United States and around the world.
Gender and Power
Unequal Power in Interaction
 Studies of informal conversations show that
  men regularly dominate women in verbal
 Men take up more of the speaking time, they
  interrupt women more often, and most
  important, they interrupt more successfully.
 Women are more placating and less assertive
  in conversation than men, and women are
  more likely to state their opinions as questions.
Gender and Power
A Case Study: Sexual Harassment
Consists of unwelcome sexual advances,
 requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or
 physical conduct of a sexual nature.
 Although estimates vary depending on the definition and
  sample used, as many as half of all working women
  probably experience sexual harassment during their
 Two types:
   ◦ expectation of sexual favor in exchange for something
  else (keeping your job, better grades, etc)
   ◦ hostile sexual climate makes it impossible to do your
  job (pornographic materials displayed, sexual jokes, etc)
Gender and Power
Fighting Back Against Sexism
The Feminist Movement has united women in
the fight against sexual harassment, woman
battering, job discrimination and other equal
rights issues.
 First Wave – mid-nineteenth century. Issues: right to own
property, right to vote, right to education, right to enter into contracts.
Nineteenth Amendment 1920.

 Second Wave – „liberal feminist‟ issue was equal rights; „radical
feminist‟ issue was violence – war protests, violence against women,
rights of woman‟s own body.

 Third Wave – focus on different effects of inequality among
different groups of women.
Gender and Power
Connections: Social Policy
Title IX of the federal Educational Amendments of
   1972 is a product of liberal feminist activism.
 It prohibits sex discrimination in any educational
   institution or activity that receives federal funding.
 Title IX has led to a dramatic rise in women‟s
   educational attainment and their athletic participation.
 The U.S. Women‟s Soccer Team, which won the
   1991 and 1999 World Cups, would not have achieved
   this success without Title IX.
The Sociology of Sexuality
Sexual Scripts
 Sexual scripts are cultural expectations
regarding who, where, when, why, how, and with
whom one should have sex.
 There is variation between the sexual scripts of
different cultures; and there is some variation in
sexual scripts within a culture.
 We are exposed to sexual scripts from multiple
sources: parents, teachers, friends, religious leaders,
mass media

 Sexual scripts we adopt often change over time.
The Sociology of Sexuality
Premarital Sexuality
 Premarital intercourse has become
  increasingly accepted over the last few
 The proportion of never-married teenagers
  who say they have had sexual intercourse
  increased from 40% in the 1950s to 50% for
  girls and 60% for boys by the late 1980s.
 Since then, rates of sexual intercourse
  among teens have declined to about 46%
  among both boys and girls.
The Sociology of Sexuality
 Premarital Sexuality
Explaining the Decline in Sex Among Teens
 Research consistently finds no credible evidence that
  abstinence-only sex education programs work except
  in the very short term.
 The drop in teenage sexual activity more likely
  reflects the growing awareness of the threats posed
  by AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
 The percentage of teenagers who report using
  condoms the last time they had intercourse has
  increased steadily since 1988.
The Sociology of Sexuality
Marital Sexuality
 Sexual scripts followed by married couples
  have changed little over time in some ways…
  ◦ Most couples find that the frequency of intercourse
      declines with the length of the marriage.
  ◦ The decline appears to occur regardless of the
      couple‟s age, education, or situation.
 Sexual scripts followed by married couples
  have changed in recent years in many ways…
  ◦ Oral sex has become more common.
  ◦ Women and men are equally likely to have
  extramarital affairs.
The Sociology of Sexuality
Sexual Minorities
Homosexuality in Society:
 Homosexuals are people who prefer sexual
  and romantic relationships with members of
  their own sex.
 Somewhere between 2 - 6% of Americans
  admit recent homosexual activity or describe
  themselves as homosexual. Rates are about
  2X as high among men as women.
 Gallup Poll 2008: 55% of surveyed Americans
  said that homosexual activity between
  consenting adults should be legal.
The Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement…
 Increasing acceptance of homosexuality is a direct result of
the gay and lesbian rights movement.

 Movement evolved out of civil rights and feminist activism in
late 1960s and early 1970s.

 Stonewall Riots were sign of change – patrons fought back
when police raided a New York City gay bar. Police retaliation
only increased numbers of rioting gays and lesbians – over
2000 people involved over a few days. Riot gave birth to the
modern gay rights movement.

 Identification of AIDS in 1981 and epidemic spread had
heterosexuals realizing how many friends, relatives, coworkers
and neighbors were affected.

 Today 21 states and DC outlaw discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation.
The Sociology of Sexuality
Sexual Minorities
Transgender in Society:
 Transgendered persons are individuals whose sex or
  sexual identity is not definitively male or female.
 There are two types of transgendered people:
   – Intersex persons are individuals who are born with
     ambiguous genitalia, such as a small penis as well
     as ovaries.
   – Transsexuals are persons who psychologically
     feel they are trapped in the body of the wrong sex.
Where This Leaves Us…
 Universal biological basis for sex differentiation, but variability also
exists in the roles assigned to men and women.
 Structural functional explanation – division of labor between sexes
builds strong families and reduces competition. Conflict explanation
– male hegemony and capitalism benefit from sexism. Symbolic
interactions explain how gender inequality is perpetuated.
 Socialization creates and maintains sex stratification. Gender is a
property built into the social structure.
 Both men and women face disadvantages due to gender roles.
 Men and women are growing more similar in educational attainment
and the percentage of their lives spent in the labor force. Women hold
lower pay jobs; they are paid less for the same jobs.
 Position of US women has improved due to the feminist movement.
 Homosexuality is growing more accepted in the United States.
Quick Quiz
1. Gender roles refer to:
     A. the rights and obligations that are normative
        for men and women in a particular culture.
     B. behaviors that can only be performed by one
        sex or the other (e.g. only females can bear
     C. biological differences between men and
     D. innate tendencies for males to be masculine
        and females to be feminine.
Answer: A

   Gender roles refer to the rights and
    obligations that are normative for men
    and women in a particular culture.
2. Which of the following seems to be
   universally true across nearly all cultures?
     A. violence against women is not
     B. women prefer monogamy
     C. female children are more valued than
         male children
     D. women have less power than men
Answer: D

   The following seems to be universally true
    across nearly all cultures:
     Women have less power than men.
3. Sam says that having a segmented labor
   market in which women work in some kinds
   of jobs and men work in other kinds of jobs
   is not really needed and that the inequality is
   the result of men wanting to have and
   maintain their powerful position over women.
   Sam is probably:
      1. an anarchist.
      2. a conflict theorist.
      3. a structural functionalist.
      4. a symbolic interactionist.
Answer: B

   Sam is probably a conflict theorist. A labor
    market in which women work in some kinds
    of jobs and men work in other kinds of jobs
    is called a segmented labor market. Conflict
    theorists claim that it is not really needed
    and that the inequality is the result of men
    wanting to have and maintain their powerful
    position over women.
4. Jaimie was born with ovaries and a penis.
   Jaimie‟s parents decide to raise Jaime as
   gender neutrally as possible and to defer
   surgical alteration until their child has had
   time to develop. Jaimie has the
   characteristics of:
      A. a transexual.
      B. a homosexual.
      C. an intersex person.
      D. twins.
Answer: C

   Jaime has ambiguous biological
    characteristics – both male and female.
    This is known as intersexuality.

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