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Cultural Studies

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Nature, Culture, Identity Cultural Studies Presentation 3 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Cultural Studies


1

Nature, Culture, Identity
Cultural Studies Presentation 3
2
Nature, culture identity
Cultural studies is interested in our identities
as (for e.g.) women and men (gender/sex)
gay/lesbian (homosexual), straight
(heterosexual), bisexual and trans-sexual
(sexuality) Japanese, Korean, Chinese,
British, Asian, Western (nationality, ethnicity,
race) working class, middle class, upper class
(social class) children, teenagers, adults,
middle-aged people, elderly people (age,
generation)
3
Nature, culture identity
Cultural Studies is interested in our ideas
about these identities (what is natural, normal,
etc) the social roles of these identities
the (power) relations between these identities
4
Nature, culture identity
Cultural Studies is interested in the role of
nature (biology) and culture (society) in shaping
our identities peoples thinking about whether
our identities are based in nature, culture or
both This is sometimes called the
nature-nurture debate a debate about whether
our biological inheritance (genes, DNA, etc), or
what we learn as we grow up in families and
society, is more important
5
Nature, culture identity
In this presentation, well focus mainly on our
identities as men and women (gender/sex). Do you
think that mens and womens identities and their
roles and relationships in society are based
in nature (given by biology)? developed
culturally (learnt in society)? a combination
of both?
6
What does this postcard image say about the role
of nature and culture in our identities as men
and women?
7
Nature, culture identity
Simone de Beauvoir, in The Second Sex, 1972,
famously wrote One is not born but rather
becomes a woman. What do think this means? Do
you agree?
8
Views of identity as natural or biological
The idea that our social roles and relations are
shaped by nature or biology is often called
biological determinism sociobiology the way
that men and women behave in society is shaped by
their genes and hormones, e.g. testosterone makes
men more aggressive and natural leaders some
kinds of sociology mens and womens social
roles are based in their different natural
instincts, e.g. women are more naturally
emotional and expressive so take caring roles
popular views about what is natural for men or
women to do
9
Views of identity as both natural and cultural
In many popular and social science views, our
identities are seen as natural and cultural, so
being a man or woman involves sex - the
physical biological differences (in our bodies
and hormones) between males and females (though
Cultural Studies sees this as also a question of
culture) gender - the ways of being masculine
and feminine (social roles and relationships,
ways of thinking, communicating, dressing, etc)
that we learn from our society/culture
sexuality - who we are attracted to sexually
(given at birth or developing as we grow up)
10
Our identities sex and gender
Sex Natural attitude towards sex identity in
modern societies (Based on Garfinkel, 1967)
Two and only two sexes male and female
Every individual is male or female no
exceptions A persons sex is fixed once a
male, always a male Sex organs are the key to
sex a male has a penis Male/female dichotomy
is natural is independent of cultural
categories of masculine and feminine in different
societies
11
Our identities sex and gender
Gender Common view in cultural
anthropology/cultural studies/social sciences
that masculinity and femininity vary from society
to society (and over time) E.g. the jobs that
men and women do (compare with Japan) Most
doctors in the former Soviet Union, most dentists
in Belgium are women Most typists and household
servants in Pakistan, most secretaries in the
Philippines, lots of nurses in the Netherlands
are men A lot of managers in the Philippines
and Thailand are women
12
Our identities sex and gender
Gender differences in wages in different OECD
societies
13
Our identities sex and gender
Womens role in politics in different countries
14
Our identities sex and gender
Paternity leave in different countries
15
Our identities sex and gender
Although we recognise that gender roles and
relationships vary from culture to culture, it is
common to assume that biological sex is
fixed/given/unchangeable biological sex (being
male or female) is the basis of gender identity
(masculinity and femininity) masculinity and
roles for men vary in every culture, but
masculine behavior is normally expected of
males Being a man male and masculine Being a
woman female and feminine
16
Our identities sex and gender
Cultural Studies takes a different view. It
questions this understanding of our sex
(biological) identities as fixed and of the
connection between sex and gender identity (e.g.
male masculine) looks at how aspects of our
identity we think of as biological and fixed may
be cultural and developed in society
challenges the idea that masculinity must be
associated with being male and femininity with
being female
17
Our identities biological or social?
If society puts half its children into short
skirts and warns them not to move in ways that
reveal their panties, while putting the other
half half into jeans and overalls and encouraging
them to climb trees if later, during
adolescence, the children who have been wearing
trousers are urged to eat like growing boys,
while the children in skirts are warned to watch
their weight and not get fat if the half in
jeans runs around in sneakers or books, while the
half in skirts totters about on spike heels, then
these two different groups of people will be
biologically as well as socially
different. Ruth Hubbard, 1990, p69
18
Caster Semenya 1
19
Caster Semenya 2
South African, Caster Semenya won the womens
800m gold medal at the World Athletics
Championships in Berlin in August
2009. Questions were raised about Casters sex
is she really a woman? Daily Mirror,
2009/09/16 The saga began four weeks ago at the
World Athletics Championships in Berlin when the
South Africans masculine looks and superb
performances sparked talk that she might be male.
20
Caster Semenya 3
The International Association of Athletics
Federations (IAAF) has made Semenya take gender
verification tests to test if she is a man and
so has an unfair advantage over women athletes
Casters family brought her up as a girl and
Caster herself feels she is a woman The tests
(though kept private) reportedly show that Caster
is intersex, having some male and some female
characteristics
21
Caster Semenya 4
We usually think of the biological differences
between males and females as quite simple and
clear. But the IAAF says the gender tests
on Caster are very complicated, take weeks and
require several different specialist doctors
There are several aspects of sexual difference to
consider in the tests chromosomes (XX, XY, ???),
hormones (e.g. testosterone), genitalia (sexual
organs) The IAAF has noted that it is not
clear when an athlete should not be allowed to
compete as a woman
22
Caster Semenya 5
We usually assume that somebody is either male
of female but about 1 in 2000/3000 people are
born as intersex, with both male and female
biological characteristics For intersex
people, it is not always clear if they should be
regarded as male or female and a decision has to
be made whether to bring them up as masculine or
feminine. This gender identity is likely to be
very important in whether they feel themselves to
be a man or a woman In this sense, sexual
identity can also decided culturally and is not
just determined by biology
23
Caster Semenya 6
Some people have said the ideas of femininity
and masculinity used to judge Caster are Western
- she doesnt meet Western standards of beauty or
femininity It has also been said that the
question of her sex has come up because she is
African the sex of white female athletes who
look masculine is not questioned
The femininity of other black sportswomen, such
as Serena and Venus Williams has also been
questioned
24
Caster Semenya 7
You Magazine (South Africa), 2009/09/10, A
makeover for Caster to show herfeminine
side We turn SAs power girl into a glamour
girl and she loves it! Caster turned into a
conventional, feminine, woman (by the standards
of Western beauty)
25
Cross Dressing 1
Clothes, make-up, hair-styles and cosmetic
surgery may all mean we cant tell the sex of a
person from looking at their appearance Some
men dress up as women and other people may think
they are women, and vice versa Cross dressing
suggests that gender is not the cultural
correlate (or match) for biological sex, but
something that we perform (using clothes,
make-up, verbal and body language, etc) and that
the same person can perform in different ways
26
Cross Dressing 2
James Barry was a military surgeon in the
British army in the 19th century. He served in
India and South Africa and become Inspector
General in charge of military hospitals. When
he was born, he was assigned female sex (though
he may have been intersex) and grew up at first
as a girl. At the age of 14, he took the
gender identity of man in order to go to medical
school in Edinburgh - at this time, medical
schools were not open to women.
27
Cross Dressing 3
It seems likely that Barrys mother and some
influential friends knew about his change of
gender identity and supported it so he could have
his medical career He lived as a man
throughout his adult life and was accepted as a
man in the army, his female (or intersex) body
being discovered only when he died
28
Cross Dressing 4
Once his female biological sex was revealed,
many people who had known him said they knew
about it all along really It was even claimed
that he had given birth The British army kept
his records secret for 100 years What is
interesting for you about cross dressing? What
issues does it raise about sex and gender?
29
Berdache 1
Berdaches (or two-spirit people) were common in
native North American societies Many tribes in
every region of North America had male and/or
female berdaches Anatomical men (people with
mens bodies) who preferred to do basket weaving
and other womens work (rather than hunting and
other mens work) could take female gender
identity
30
Berdache 2
Males berdaches could participate in womens
areas of the society, dress as women, and even
take husbands They kept their male genitalia
but ceased to be males Recently some native
American gay, lesbian and bisexual people have
used the term two-spirit people, drawing on the
native American idea that some people were both
male and female What is interesting for you
about Berdaches? What issues do they raise about
sex and gender?
31
Transsexualism and gender reassignment 1
A transsexual is somebody whose gender identity
is different from their biological sex Gender
reassignment is a process for people to match
their biological sex with their gender
identity It involves change of name, change
of legal status, change of dress, and change of
physical appearance (through use of hormones and
surgical operations) The National Gender
Identity Clinic in London sees over 700 patients
a year seeking gender reassignment
32
Transsexualism and gender reassignment 2
BBC News, Friday, 4 July 2008, 1304 UK How can a
man have a baby?
The birth of a baby girl to Thomas Beatie in the
US has, not surprisingly, drawn international
attention. People have wondered how Mr Beatie,
34, could possibly have a child.
33
Transsexualism and gender reassignment 3
The answer is that although he is now legally
male, Mr Beatie was born a woman - Tracie
Lagondino. While he has had his breasts removed
and has taken male hormones to give him facial
hair, he has kept his female reproductive organs
and can therefore carry a baby.
34
Transsexualism and gender reassignment 4
His daughter was conceived via donor insemination
after he had stopped taken his hormone
treatment. http//news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/748
9280.stm What is interesting for you about
transsexualism and the case of Thomas Beattie?
What issues does it raise about sex and gender?
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