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Doing Gender

Doing

Caster
Semenya

Intersex is a general term used for a


variety of conditions in which a person is
born with a reproductive or sexual
anatomy that doesnt seem to fit the
typical definitions of female or male.

Sex/Gender Systems
Sex refers to the biological
differences between male and
female, particularly the visible
differences in external genitalia and
reproductive functions.
Gender includes the cultural and
social classification of masculine and
feminine that seems natural and
appropriate; how we give meaning
to the body.

Sex/Gender Systems
In the West, gender has
tended be defined in
binary terms.
Gender binary: refers to
the idea that there are
only two types of people
male-bodied people
who are masculine and
female-bodied people
who are feminine and
those types are
fundamentally different
and contrasting.

Sex/Gender Systems
Sexism refers to both interpersonal
and institutional forms of social,
political, and economic
discrimination against a particular
gender and the privileging of another
gender. Historically, this form of
discrimination has been enacted
against women.

Sex/Gender Systems
Gender is a cultural
or social
construction
gender
characteristics are
the product of
historical, economic,
and political forces
acting within each
culture.
We Wah, Zuni Nation

Sex/Gender Systems
These systems regulate gender roles,
the cultural expectations of men and
women in a particular society,
including the division of labor.
Our culture specific ideas about gender
constitutes the hegemonic gender
ideology, the totality of ideas about
sex, gender, the natures of men and
women, including their sexuality, and
the relations between the genders.

Policing Gender
Gender norms are enforced in a
variety of ways through social
policing.
Gender policing: describes the
punitive social responses to the
violation of gender rules aimed at
promoting conformity.
Policing can be mild or deeply
violent.

Brandon Teena

Gender and Power


Institutions: persistent patterns of social
interaction aimed at meeting the needs of a
society that cant be easily met by individuals
alone; or an established law, practice, or custom.
Social structure: describes the entire set of
institutions within which we live our lives.
Gendered institutions: is an institution in
which gender is used as an organizing principle.
Most of our social institutions are gendered to
varying degrees, sometimes explicitly and other
times implicitly.

The Battle of the Sexes


Billie Jean King v. Bobby

Gender and Power


The social structure produces a
larger gender order, which
refers to the social organization
of gender relations in a particular
society.

Gender and Power


Patriarchy: the
social, political, and
economic system
that privileges and
normalizes mens
disproportionate
access to political
power and economic
resources; also refers
to the set of cultural
and social discourses
that naturalize this
social order.

Gender and Power


Gender stratification: the ways in
which gendered activities and
attributes are differentially valued
and related to the distribution of
resources, prestige, and power in a
society.

Feminism + Feminist
Theory
bell hooks (2000) defines
feminism as a movement to
end sexism, sexist
exploitation, and oppression.
Feminist theory aims to
understand the nature of
gender inequality by
examining women's social
roles and lived experience
and understand the
construction of sex and
gender and their social,
political, and material
implications.

Policing Sexuality
Gender
roles/identity is
policed and
enforced in order
to regulate
appropriate
sexual behavior.
Idea that gender
and sexuality are
linked and should
correspond to
culturally

Policing Sexuality
Generally, particularly in the West
there is a tendency to assume a
normative relationship between
sex, gender, and sexual desire.
Sex - Female
Gender Woman/Femininity
Desire Men/Masculinity

Queer Theory
Queer is both a political and a
theoretical concept.
Queer theory: a field of critical theory
that disrupts stable ideas of gender,
sexuality and desire by pointing out the
constructed nature and fluidity of these
identities; directly challenges the idea of
gender/sexuality as an essential identity;
focuses on understanding deviant and nonnormative sexual practices and identities.

Queer Theory
Heteronormativity refers to sexual
and gender norms that maintain that
people fit into two distinct and
complementary genders (man and
woman) with naturalized social roles;
treats heterosexuality as the normal
sexual orientation; and suggests that
marriage and sexual relations
naturally occur exclusively between
men and women.

Queer Theory
Attempts to normalize and limit the
full range of sexual expression and
practices.
Heteronormativity reinforces and
sanctions homophobia, a range of
negative attitudes and behaviors
against LGBT communities that is
often enacted through systematic
discrimination, violence, and social
exclusion.

Gender as
performance
Gender is
malleable and
not inherently
linked to sexual
practice/desire.

Venus Boyz (2002)

Queer Theory

Allows us to theorize not only


those identities that are considered
non-normative but also those that
are considered natural and inherent.
To apprehend the processes by which
normative masculinities and
femininities are produced.

Deconstructing
Masculinity
Hegemonic masculine
ideal in the US:

Young
Urban(e)
Heterosexual/virile
Married
Wealthy
Powerful
White
Athletic/able-bodied
Property owning
Not feminine

Deconstructing
Masculinity
Most men cant embody this ideal.
Counter-hegemonic, or subordinate,
masculinities:
Men of color (hypermasculine)
Working-class men
Gay men
Transgender men

Masculinity is contingent and contested.


Being a real man is a gendered social
performance that must be constantly reinforced.

Deconstructing
Masculinity
Even though masculinity is a
gendered performance, its material
and social effects are real.
Failure to perform normative
masculinity can be dangerous.
Will to dominate as a key feature of
masculinity has deadly
consequences.