You are on page 1of 2

Kailash Jayachandran

Professor Abrokwaa
AFR 202
AFR 202 Chapter 1 Notes

The first Chapter focusses on how the western ideas of gender based on biological sex
has affected other countries, in this particular case, Africa.
This western thought has become the social standard and has shaped a persons fate. So,
the difference in hierarchy has been determined by biology which has been used to
explain ones gender, race or class.
Thus, this leads to dominance by the ones in power to prove their mightier biological
line. The Body is used as a biological as well as a social element.
A person is wrongly seen and inferred upon just by the sight of his body with no
interaction. According to western societies, a persons body was considered to be an
expression of his internal behavior and beliefs.
These bodies formed the social construct and were needed to maintain a certain order
to avoid punishment. Bodies helped to form history and were an integral part of it. A
gendered gaze was what caused major events like the Holocaust in Germany.
The power of sight has deeply influenced the outlook towards the presence of a body.
It is ironical that the history of western societies tend to focus on the mind and its ideas as
a basis of retelling history rather than focusing on the body.
At an initial point, the body was a trap and a useless baggage for the rational mind.
Marxist traditions emphasize social relations to explain class inequality. This idea is seen
when people are differentiated based on a feature of their body.
Social thought still uses the body as an important figure to determine social status.
Sociology is the antithesis of the Biological Society and is based on human interaction.
But, Sociology is rooted in biology and social categories are based on these influences.
Genetic predisposition of criminals is one example of how biological influence is seen.
Gender and race are used to even determine our positions/jobs in society for organization.
Social hierarchy and position is determined by ones birth and is passed down the line.
According to European thought, there were dual entities which were man of reason and
woman of body.
The main category of citizen was male on the basis of Western Political Theory.
Dynamic shifts in boundaries between men and women over time leading to hierarchies
and have remained the two sides of a coin.
Anatomy is a part of destiny and bodies are a scale to measure hierarchy between classes.
Gender constructionism and biological determinism were a dependent system and this
topic was attractive due to the volatility of Gender differences.
As difference is the issue, old biologies will be found or new ones will be made up to
explain why women are inferior. So, biology is used to legitimize difference to
undermine women.
Injection of western problems into other cultures has led us to think about problems
which did not exist in these places.

Biology is forever mutating, but it isnt mutable. This is evidenced by how biology has
become a pillar for social constructs.
Body is the base for biological determinism and social constructs as it makes up the most
important element of sex and gender.
Womens subordination is an element which is addressed all over the world while it is
only indigenous to western society which testifies biological dominance over culture.
The predominant western ideas of society are inappropriately transferred and applied to
other cultures which have separate cultures of their own.
Over time, sex and gender have become interchangeable terms and this system is
particularly predominant in the Western Cultural World.
The Yoruba, unlike the Western Cultural World, derives its social legitimacy from facts
to legitimize position rather than using biology.
Feminism is heavily derived and motivated by its frustrations towards western culture
which reduces its applicability to other cultures like the Yoruba.
In the Yoruba society, social relations determines ones place in the hierarchy like
seniority and biology is considered to be an exaggerated western thought.
The Yoruba community emphasizes its outlook on hearing rather than sight which is
more of a western attribute. Even the language is filled with complex intonations.
The visual logic dominates the Western World leading to male dominance and feminism
hasnt escaped this vicious cycle due to this visual logic.
The fact that the difference between man and woman has become a part of society and
ironically, feminism itself has become a part of society in the western visual world.
So, we should not compare the social findings of the west and apply to other places.
Rather, we must look at the local society to base our assumptions.
African studies has been governed by reactions and the west at the center of this
knowledge production which has made African historians to disprove European claims
by reconstructing history.