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Imagining Gender: The social construction of Gender


Lecture 3 Imagining Gender: The social construction of Gender – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Imagining Gender: The social construction of Gender

Lecture 3
  • Imagining Gender The social construction of

Gender is a Power Relationship
  • Not This
  • Gender Differences
  • ?
  • Inequality
  • But this
  • Inequality
  • ?
  • Gender Differences

The Social Construction of Gender
  • Social constructs classifications of reality
    that are agreed upon or accepted
  • Gender Ideology a set of beliefs about the
    definition, roles, status, and relationships of
    males and females
  • We are socialized into a gender system (culture)
    that tells us how to act.
  • And, through our actions, whereby we accept,
    reject, and/or modify these ideas were recreate

Gendered Society
The same, but different?
  • Gender means sameness and gender means
  • How does gender create differences between men
    and women?
  • How does gender create sameness among all women
    and among all men?

Thinking Beyond Gender Roles
  • Social Roles behavior expected from a status
  • Gender is present in all social roles, NOT a
    social role in itself
  • As a master status position, gender affects how
    we are expected to perform roles and how our
    actions are judged
  • Master Status Position status positions that
    affect all other social positions in society

Just What are Women Lacking?
  • A 2006, study surveyed 935 alumni of the
    International Institute for Management
    Development in Switzerland found that while the
    view of an ideal leader varied from place to
    place in some regions the ideal leader was a
    team builder, in others the most valued skill was
  • But whatever was most valued, women were seen as
    lacking it.
  • Respondents in the United States and England, for
    instance, listed inspiring others as a most
    important leadership quality, and then rated
    women as less adept at this than men.
  • In Nordic countries, women were seen as perfectly
    inspirational, but it was delegating that was
    of higher value there, and women were not seen as
    good delegators.

Our multiple social roles
  • Role Strain the stress or strain experienced by
    an individual when incompatible behavior,
    expectations, or obligations are associated with
    a single social role
  • CEO and Woman
  • Role Conflict a situation in which a person is
    expected to play two incompatible roles
  • CEO and Mother
  • Homemaker and Father

Interacting with Gender
  • Our identities, gendered and otherwise, do not
    express some authentic inner "core" self but are
    the dramatic effect (rather than the cause) of
    our actions and behavior
  • Gender identities arise out of social interaction
  • We organize our behavior and activities in the
    context of social life to become gendered

Doing Gender
  • Gender is accomplished by managing our behavior
    in relation to normative conceptions of
    appropriate attitudes and activities for
    particular sex categories
  • appears to be the natural
  • reproduce social structure

Gender Accomplishment depends on
  • Where we are
  • Context/Social environment
  • Who we are with
  • Status positions
  • Social roles
  • What we are doing
  • What is the goal of the social interaction?

The Hot Chick
  • How is gender (male/female) accomplished (or not)
    in this film clip?

How would gender be accomplished in these
  • A young man on a date?
  • A mother at a family dinner?
  • Two guys watching a football game?
  • What is important in these examples?
  • Context
  • Participants
  • Roles

Can you think of some ways that you do gender?
Doing Gender with Language
  • The dominant social status of men in our society
    is reflected in language
  • Man as an indefinite pronoun
  • Exclusion of women in visualization
  • Pronoun usage perpetuates male/female roles
  • Status positions
  • Sex ascription to non-human objects
  • Nurture, owned, small/dependent VS. decisive,
    strong, controlling

Optional Performances
  • We ALL perform gender traditional or not
  • Not a question of whether to DO a gender, but
    what form that performance will take.
  • Gender norms and the binary understanding of
    Masculine/Feminine can be changed by our behavior
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