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WGSS 101 Week 1 Notes (Class and Reading Notes, Discussion Topics)

by: savvi789

WGSS 101 Week 1 Notes (Class and Reading Notes, Discussion Topics) WGSS 101

Marketplace > Kansas > Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies > WGSS 101 > WGSS 101 Week 1 Notes Class and Reading Notes Discussion Topics
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This note set includes week 1 notes, notes for Monday and Wednesday's class, and discussion topics for the week.
Intro to Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Akiko Takeyama
Class Notes
WGSS, Feminism




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by savvi789 on Friday August 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to WGSS 101 at Kansas taught by Akiko Takeyama in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 65 views. For similar materials see Intro to Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Kansas.

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Date Created: 08/26/16
As a preface, I will be formatting my notes in chronological order of how I make them and  the date of the class so reading notes might shift around weekly. I will always try to have reading  notes, class notes, and discussion notes all in the same document.     Thank you!    WGSS 101 Week 1 Notes     8/22/16  ● What is gender?  ○ We all have gender and live in a gendered society  ○ A social construct designed to create a binary for easy understanding (male or female  and none in between)  ○ A performance; The way gender is expressed is through behavior and action,  including emotion, personality traits, posture, speech patterns, etc. We act a certain  way to fit certain roles (mother, father, daughter, etc) and present ourselves in a way  that is either masculine or feminine.   ○ A lens that can be used to view other factors of life (race, ethnicity, class, etc) that  make someone’s life experience unique  ● Ethnocentrism- The belief that one’s way of doing things, thinking, behaving, etc is correct  and all others are incorrect. Taking this course means thinking critically about your own way  of thinking and being open to other ideas and concepts  ● Socialization- The way human learn how to behave as either male or female and present  themselves as masculine or feminine. Different cultures and generations are socialized  differently and therefore have slightly different concepts of gender.   ○ A baby is automatically gendered (‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ is a common first question  about a child) and begins their socialization with that fact in mind whether it's  presents or clothes they receive, the kids they play with, or the things they are told  not to do  Week 1 Reading: Fausto-Sterling “Dueling Dualisms”  ● Maria Patiño is a former Spanish olympian who was barred from the 1988 olympics because  she failed to receive her certificate of femininity. She found that she had a condition called  androgen insensitivity. Her chromosomes were male patterned, but she developed as a  female. Her case put on display the debate of sex vs gender.  ● Sex vs Gender  ○ Sex relates to physical structures of a person, both anatomical and physiological.  Breasts and a uterus correlate to female and a penis and testes correlate to a male.   ○ Gender relates to what gender identity one prescribes to. Most common are men  presenting as masculine and women presenting as feminine, though transgender and  non-binary individuals choose to present as a gender that might not correlate directly  with their sex.   ● Are gender and sexuality set in stone, or are they constructed?  ○ The contemporary norm has two checkboxes: male or female.   ■ Intersex individuals are often ‘fixed’ at birth because they don’t fit the perfect  requirements for one sex or the other even though it isn’t anyone else’s  business what physical characteristics they have. We just want to control an  absolute boundary of gender division.   ○ Sexual preference as binary or fluid  ■ People are often categorized as either heterosexual or homosexual with no in  between   ■ Alfred Kinsey developed the Kinsey Scale in 1948 to describe varying levels  of attraction to the sexes, 6 being entirely homosexual and 0 being entirely  heterosexual (A special category X was created for asexual or non-sexual  individuals). The scale remains popular today.   ○ Giving homosexuality a history and perspective gives us evidence that models of  sexuality aren’t inherently biological but more social (take the Greeks and Romans  for example)  ■ The modern construction of sexuality was formed at the turn of the 19th  century when the words homo- and heterosexual were popularized. Most  people prescribed to heterosexuality while homosexuality was seen as deviant  (though homosexuality fought for a place in the public eye and continues to  do so)  ● Anthropologists look for both human variation and commonality, and a few common  models of sexuality have been found throughout history  ○ Age structured homosexuality- Expectation for an individual to have homosexual  tendencies for a certain part of their life  ○ Gender reversed sexuality- Males dress as females and vice versa  ○ Role specified homosexuality- Homosexuality reserved only for individuals with  certain positions in society  ○ Modern gay movement- The act of coming out as something other than heterosexual  seen as a social and political statement  ● So much of modern thinking and anthropology comes from Western minds which can force  findings and research into fitting into our concept of gender and sexuality even though that  might not be correct.   ○ For example, Yoruba culture has pronoun that indicate age, not gender, and that is  the defining trait in determining power and status  ○ ‘By writing about any society through a gendered perspective, scholars necessarily  write gender into that society’    Class 8/24/16  ● Sex and Gender  ○ Sex is biological and physical, but also culturally determined. There are observable  physical differences between male and female.  ○ Gender is a more culturally defined concept. Learned behaviors make an individual  appear more masculine or feminine.   ○ Nature vs Nurture  ■ Nature might feed into nurturing and vice versa, but you cannot have one  without the other. Biology has something to do with what someone identifies  as, but social upbringing plays a vital role as well.   ■ ‘Sex is already gendered.’ We already assume that signals and functions come  with gender because of our premonitions of what defines male or female.   ● In the natural world, things get messy. Animals can have three or  four sexes, some can change sexes depending on age and  environment. Many of them don’t fit into our ideas of male and  female but we try to explain them like so.   ○ Dr. Anne Fausto- Sterling  ■ Biocultural organisms- An individual’s body is both informed by culture and  biology and neither can be isolated from the other.   ■ Cultural information can tell us how to act and develop, what is and isn’t  acceptable  ● Situated Knowledge- ‘Facts’ about the natural world might not always be true because they  are formed by the current culture, language, and people as well as the history it’s been  compounded on. These facts can differ from culture to culture and people to people.   ● ‘God Trick’- Knowledge that comes from a source that is considered divine or from high up  (scientists and scholars) that we assume to be true, taking it for face value.   ● The two sex system is a culturally constructed system. People maintain this system by trying  to regulate those that don’t fit in however there are exceptions to that binary.   ○ Intersex: Individuals that are not biologically male or female  ○ Transgender: A gender identity that does not fit in the specified binary. The gender  they present does not match up with their biological sex.   ○ Homosexuality: A person who is attracted to someone of the same gender  ● History of the current model of gender  ○ The 17th and 18th century brought the rise of capitalism, nation state, and discipline  that came with industrialism  ○ Michel Foucault states that the two sex system was needed for effectively achieved  maximized profit in a Capitalistic system. Fertility is necessary for a prosperous state  so heterosexuality makes the most sense. The state needs appropriate citizens who  can manage themselves. At the turn of the 19th century, marriage shifted into an  institution to further enforce the gender binary.   ● Normalization- Making something so commonplace that anything other than it is seen as  odd and incorrect  ● Biopolitics- Creating control of a population by utilizing surveys and statistics (for hygiene,  health, and longevity)  ○ Can be either positive or negative  ● Sexuality is not private. It’s a political and social statement no matter the identity.   ● The body is  ○ What we have and what we are  ○ Material, individual, social, and political  ○ A contested site    Discussion 2/26/16  ● We discussed gender differences in the categories of sport, color, and fashion 


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