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WGSS 101 Week 2 Notes

by: savvi789

WGSS 101 Week 2 Notes WGSS 101

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Includes class and reading notes
Intro to Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Akiko Takeyama
Class Notes
WGSS, Feminism
25 ?




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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by savvi789 on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to WGSS 101 at Kansas taught by Akiko Takeyama in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see Intro to Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Kansas.

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Date Created: 08/31/16
Hey guys! Just a note: Because the discussion sessions are mainly going to be topics for debate, I will  not be putting them in these note sets.     Reading Notes  Kimmel- Social Construction of Gender Relations  ● Sociological explanation and analysis of gender  ○ Studying the variations and similarities between men and women  ○ Socialization is essential to a human. Without it, life spans are shortened.   ■ Biology is not the determiner of what make someone themselves  ○ Our identities are determined by the culmination of behaviors we pick up, images we  see, values we prescribe to  ■ Relating to gender, many people easily identify as male or female while others  struggle with conforming to a gender they are assigned (And there are many  steps in between)  ○ What is masculine or feminine vary from culture to culture, on a historical timeline  by culture, and individually  ● Sex role theory has a few flaws that a sociological perspective modifies  ○ Downplaying gender as a role lessens its importance as a key factor in how one is  treated in their life  ○ Sex role theory has singular definitions of masculine and feminine when they change  depending on the culture, making one single culture’s idea of those concepts the  ‘correct’ one  ○ Gender is relational and situational. Sex role theorists focus on the differences  between men and women but fail to study how they relate and interact with one  another as well as what it means to be a man or a woman in different contexts  ○ Sex role theory depoliticizes gender. Gender is not an individual thing but a social  structure, stripping conflict and political context away from gender association  ○ Feminist and gay movements shift the boundaries of role definitions, and sex role  theory does not accommodate for that  ● Power in Gender Relations  ○ Where does the power lie? Do men have control over women? Do women have  control over men? This is one of the most controversial topics of gender relations  arguments  ○ Men often get defensive when women speak of their experiences with gender  inequality, claiming they have nothing to do with it or that they feel powerless in  their own lives  ○ Women are typical not in power nor do they feel powerful individually, but  individual men are also not in power nor do they feel powerful (They have  something else that they feel they were entitled to but they struggle to obtain it  individually). The concept of power is entirely objective and a very individual thing,  making it hard to define and redistribute  ○ Sociology adds a few facets to the study of gender: ‘The life course perspective,  macrolevel institutional analysis, and a microlevel interactionalist approach.’  ● Gender through the Life Course  ○ The initial acquisition of gender identity begins through childhood through  interaction with family, peers, and religion  ○ While the old school of thought believes that gender identity is fixed after childhood,  socialization doesn’t stop. It changes over a person’s life as does their identity, even  if it is very slight  ● Gender and Aging  ○ Men maturing versus women getting old, men dating younger women more socially  ok than woman dating a younger man and getting labeled as a cougar or a MILF  ○ Men in movies are usually way older than the woman they’re paired with and many  actress struggle to find work in their older age  ○ Women live longer than men because of some biological health reasons, but some of  it has to do with gender. Young men dies much more often than women because  they do tasks to prove their masculinity (accidents, committing and being victims of  violent crimes, and risky stunts all fall in this category)  ● Gender as an Institution  ○ ‘Power is the property of a group, not an individual’  ○ Institutions are gendered based on the people who have control of them,  intentionally or not  ■ If you were to replace a male politician, for example, with a female one, the  demeanor and actions might remain the same because of what the position  demands  ○ Gender is formed by identity, interaction, and institution which we receive by  socializing but we are in turn contributing our own input into society which reflects  our gender  ○ Gender divisions  ■ There is an idea that states that we become the people supposed to use the  men or women’s restroom versus already being those and using different  facilities. At home, we all use the same facility, but in public there becomes  something different about us that requires two separate places.   ■ In workplaces, gender divisions are produced and maintained.  ■ In images (such as advertisements) men are displayed as powerful while  women are displayed as sexual.  ■ Interactions between individuals form patterns of dominance and submission  based on gender.  ■ A person mentally conforms themselves and their behaviors to gender  expectations (how to dress, talk, walk, etc).  ■ The logic of organizations is gendered no matter how masked it may be.  ○ “Doing Gender”  ■ Gender is classified by biology typically. Male genitalia correlate to being  masculine and female genitalia correlate to being feminine. To determine  someone's gender, we see their secondary sex characteristics (those that  develop at puberty) and make assumptions.   ■ Intersex individuals and many others have been fighting for the right a child  has to remain with the genitals they were born with because their sex is  usually socially determined by their secondary characteristics at puberty  anyways.  ○ A Sociology of Rape  ■ Where women are valued, rape rates are lower than places where women are  devalued and degraded  ■ “Rape is always some form of psychological dysfunction”  ■ Rapists find a woman as their right, something they are entitled to, proving  their masculinity in a violent way, while all women alter their behavior in  some form or another at some point in their lives to avoid becoming victims  ■ Rape is a relationship between genders as well as an individual event,  exhibiting gender difference and gender inequality    Ingraham- White Weddings  ● Our culture has a fascination with white weddings but almost no one understands why  ● Wedding culture and industry clue us in to social interests, as well as what heterosexuality  and marriage means in our society  ● White weddings display organized heterosexual practices (it is a ritual per se, ordered by  bachelor/bachelorette parties, the wedding, and then the honeymoon most typically)  ○ Weddings are supposed to be a girl’s fairy tale come true, some girls long to be  married from a young age, and this is definitely socially produced  ○ Both weddings and marriage as we know them are results of institutionalized  heterosexuality  ● Heterosexual practices give a rigid order to the attraction of men to women and women to  men. Sets of codes and social rules dictate how men and women act around each other, even  if those actions aren’t sexual or romantic  ● The average American couple spends an average of $27,852 per wedding, the price  increasing 38% in the last 15 years  ○ The wedding dress and veil cost an average of $1811   ○ Wedding debt has become part of the wedding and marriage process, it has become  normalized  ● Weddings are everywhere  ○ Weddings are a plot device. On screen romances lead up to a season finale wedding  and shows that aren’t even close to romance use weddings as plot devices as well.  Celebrity weddings are talked about on morning shows, there are shows for wedding  cakes, monster brides, bachelors and bachelorettes, doing over a marriage, etc.   ○ Children’s toys are sometimes even marriage themed. Who ever had a wedding for  Barbie and Ken?  ○ Grocery store magazines are packed with weddings. Gossip magazines have sections  on them and at check out, there’s always a bridal magazine or two  ○ Wedding films are giant as well, whether they focus on a father struggling with giving  his daughter away, things that go wrong planning for a wedding, or family’s part in  the process.   ● There is a lack of research on weddings and wedding culture, but there are also issues with it.  Much of it makes the assumption that the human default is heterosexuality when it is really a  cultural phenomenon that it is so pervasive. We are told growing up that boys like girls and  girls like boys by the things we watch, what we hear in school and church, and the people  that we see on the streets  ● Opposition to Marriage as an Institution  ○ The term ‘heterosexuality’ came about in 1868 and was classified as a sexual  perversion by free thinking activists. The state and church controlled marriage, and  they argued that marriage under this system was sexual slavery  ■ Ezra Heywood, an activist of the time, claimed that under this system,  women became slaves and property of the men they were marrying,  providing sex and reproduction for support and security for their economic  well being  ■ These activists also brought to light the issue of marital rape and used it as a  case for their argument  ■ Censorship silenced their movement eventually though they did open the  doors for some change  ○ During the feminist movement in the 70’s, more discourse on the subject came to  light.   ■ ‘Heterosexuality upholds all those aspects of female oppression’  ■ ‘The category of sex is the product of a heterosexual society in which men  appropriate for themselves the reproduction and production of women and  also their physical persons by means of a marriage contract.’  ○ Backlash and dismissal of anyone criticizing heterosexual institution had caused a  recent quiet of the subject  ● In the past thirty years, non heterosexual representation has been giving younger people  options besides heterosexually saturated media  ● Women who have children outside of marriage are seen as deviant and against the norms,  getting shamed for their decision to not get married to the father of their child  ○ Welfare is often a topic here because it is assumed single mothers use more welfare.  Marriage is promoted to lower income citizens because it is assumed that together, a  couple can make more money and get off welfare to save the government money.  ● How did the institution of heterosexuality become naturalized?  ○ ‘The heterosexual imaginary is that way of thinking that relies on romantic and  sacred notions of heterosexuality in order to create and maintain the illusion of  well-being and oneness’  ■ Heterosexuality is romanticized and therefore hides the institutions that  uphold it. We have a hard time seeing how it upheld and maintained.   ■ People claim that heterosexuality is just the way it is, maybe because it’s more  natural (“We were made to reproduce and then die”) so men and women are  supposed to be attracted to each other, but heterosexuality has a multitude of  its own problems: marital rape, gay bashing, domestic violence, pay  inequality, etc.  ■ This imaginary makes gender and sexuality seem natural through the  institution of marriage. Getting married does have its perks through the  government. You get tax, health care, and housing benefits depending on  your marital status  ■ Heteronormativity- The idea that to be heterosexual is to be natural because  of the institutions that have deemed it so  ● Materialist Feminism- The study and analysis of social, economic, political, and ideological  conditions social arrangements depend on.   ○ This kind of feminism argues that patriarchal and capitalistic institutions unevenly  distribute power and resources. They analyze profit, accumulation of wealth,  exploitation of life and labor, global and state interests, and systems that reproduce  capitalism and patriarchy  ○ Patriarchy place themselves in hierarchical opposition to women, gaining control of  systems for their own profit.  ■ This does differ from culture to culture  ○ Materialist feminism looks at the institutions upholding white weddings, the images  used, the producers of these images, etc to determine how certain group’s ideologies  are naturalized and taken to be truth     Class Notes 2/29/16  ● What is Sex-Role Theory?  ○ Sex Role Theory states that the roles of the genders are predetermined by biology,  Men and women are inherently different and act like they do because of who they  are, not because of how they were socialized.   ■ The issue with this theory is that there is only a single definition for what is  male or female which is not inherently correct. Social institutions certainly  enforce gender roles and the gender in power can stay there by enforcing role  according to this theory  ■ The theory depoliticizes gender inequality, reduces issues of individual  attributes (race, class, ethnicity on top of the issue of gender), and imposes  norms socially  ○ What is Power?  ■ Power is not an individual trait, but one that belongs to a group  ● A man might not feel in power, but men as a group largely are.   ■ Power produces gender difference in the first place, not the other way  around  ■ There are different types of masculinity that might make a man feel  powerless in opposition to men as a whole being in power  ● Hegemonic, complicit, subordinated, and marginalized  ○ Gender is  ■ Plural. It takes into affect class, race, sexual identity, etc  ■ Relational. One cannot be a man without also explaining what it means to be  a woman  ■ Situational. Being a man or woman means different things at different times  and in different places  ■ Transformational. Gender changes as history progresses so being a woman in  the 17th century didn’t mean the same thing as it does today. It can also  change in one’s lifetime  ○ When you use gender as an analytical lens, you need to look at three levels.   ■ Identity. Look at gender on an individual level.  ■ Interaction. Look at the relations of genders.  ■ Institution. Look at gender from a macro view.  ○ Gender Stratification- Access to resources, opportunities, and privileges based on  gender    8/31/2016 Class  ● Weddings  ○ When we think of weddings, we think of the dress, the cake, the bachelor/ette  parties, the rings, the vows, etc  ○ Weddings are a ritual- ‘a religious ceremony that consists of practices and symbolic  activities performed based on a prescribed order’  ■ Performativity  ○ The wedding industry is institutionalized  ■ Socially through the American Dream  ■ Economically through a massive industry and advertisement based on class  ■ Culturally through our fascination of watching weddings and wedding culture  ○ There are negative aspects of getting married that people only sometimes talk about:  wedding debt, man’s wife (not woman’s husband), wedding night stress (and marital  rape that can be tied into that), ‘welfare queen and the pressure to get married and  become financially stable  ○ White weddings are advertised and imposed on white, upper middle class families  ● Symbolic Order  ○ ‘Our sexual orientation or identity is defined by the symbolic order of our world’  ○ The Imaginary (Jacques Lacan)  ■ The imaginary, in this sense, is like a mirror image, a projection of what is  really real but not quite it  ■ ‘The image as a whole, not false or pretend but imagined relationship  between a person and their social world’  ○ Hyper Real (Jan Baudrillard)   ■ ‘Undistinguished reality from a simulation of reality’  ● For example, we know what the U.S. as a physical country looks like,  but most of us have never seen the entirety of the physical border to  confirm this.   ● Something is hyper real when people assume a common truth  because none of us can confirm it ourselves.   ○ Ideology (Louis Althusser)  ■ ‘A lens through which we see the social world’  ○ Heterosexuality is highly organised, defined by a symbolic order or heterosexual  identity  ○ Compulsory Heterosexuality- Heterosexuality is neither natural nor inevitable, but  socially compulsory, or expected  ○ Heteronormativity- The normalization of heterosexuality upheld by the institution of  marriage, state domestic relation laws, federal control of marriage benefits, etc  ● Patriarchal Heterosexuality  ○ The sex binary is a product of a patriarchal heterosexual society and upholds female  oppression   ○ Heterogendered- Asymmetrical stratification of the sexes  ■ In simpler terms, men and women are put up against each other for  comparison and competition in a binary, heterosexual system  ○ Patriarchy- A power dynamic where men are dominantly in control and women are  often exploited 


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