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Chapter 1 Overview. Course Number: Gender Studies 100 Women, Men, and Society Annette Schonder Orange Coast College Division of Social Sciences Department of Sociology. Studying Gender: An Overview, Chapter 1. - We draw conclusions about people based on sex.

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chapter 1 overview

Chapter 1 Overview

Course Number: Gender Studies 100

Women, Men, and Society

Annette Schonder

Orange Coast College

Division of Social Sciences

Department of Sociology

studying gender an overview chapter 1
Studying Gender: An Overview, Chapter 1

-We draw conclusions about people based on sex.

-We hold expectations about how men and women should behave

-Define sex

-Define gender

-Define stereotypes general

-Define stereotypes gender

-How are non-conformists treated?

-Define sex and gender systems as institutionalized patterns of gender differentiation:

Sex and gender stratification:

1. Based on sex

2. Labor division based on sex

3. Sexuality regulated based on sex -> sanctions

This leads to unequal opportunities – holds for many other countries.

sociological perspectives on gender paradigms 1
Sociological Perspectives on Gender: Paradigms -1


scientific study of human societies and cultures, and social behavior.

There is great variability in how research is done and what is studied.

The science has multiple paradigms or is called pre-paradigmatic

1940-1960 Structural Functionalism:

Stable system, societal consensus, equilibrium

Men and women as seen as biologically different-> different gender roles -> natural/best arrangement

Critique: gender is socially constructed and limits men and women

Favors the status quo.

sociological perspectives on gender paradigms 2
Sociological Perspectives on Gender: Paradigms -2

A Paradigm Revolution:

1960 -Why?

Vietnam War/protest

Civil rights movement

Women’s liberation movement

It was clear that society was not orderly and harmonious.

There was no societal consensus

sociological perspectives on gender paradigms 3
Sociological Perspectives on Gender: Paradigms -3

A Feminist Sociology of Gender:

Plurality of feminisms. How and what is studied is diverse.

-Feminist paradigm:

Both nature and learning is important in the acquisition of gender.

Biology and nurture are intertwined.

Assumption of the feminist perspective is gender is socially created. A result of social learning.

What we learn is also a product of our political and economic structure.

Issue: Sexism/or sex bias


most sociological studies by men based on men, but generalized to all.

Gender was only considered in areas like family and marriage, a non-issue in soc of work, or soc of organization etc.

women’s research findings were analyzed considering male standards for normalcy or rightness.

I.e. mobility studies: women’s mobility was measured by comparing the father’s status to the husband’s.

sociological perspectives on gender paradigms 4
Sociological Perspectives on Gender: Paradigms -4

Goal: a holistic view of women and men.

Do not exclude men, but include women

Use research methods that allow subject to express feelings and speak for themselves

Rather than imposing a viewpoint

->feminist research is dualistic: has subjective and objective dimension

Is research ever value free?

Goal: to change behaviors and conditions that are harmful or oppressive.

Be inclusive of men’s experiences. Limited by gender roles

Knowing that not all men are in power positions as male power is reserved for the upper classes

Knowing that there are other systems of oppression affecting us simultaneous.

Group Consciousness:

Tease out personal issues from structural issues. -> recognize structural problem, unite into a social movement FEMINIST MOVEMENT OR WOMEN’S MOVEMENT, and trigger social change

feminism in historical perspective 1
Feminism in historical perspective - 1

First wave of feminism: (1830-1920)

Suffragist movement 19th century

For many women other issues were very relevant

See box 1

Even in the Middle Ages documentation of women resisting gender inequality was found. As women’s writings were excluded, a feminist consciousness could not develop until women were aware of other women who were “fighting” for the same rights.

Late 1700: a number of women began publicly calling for equal rights/education.

Despite the notion of all humans having equal rights, women were excluded from many professions.

The more affluent/educated women engaged in philanthropy.

Women demanding equal rights too second place to slavery, poverty, harsh working conditions.

Working on the abolition of slavery -> women united/learned the ropes, politicized

1840 First anti slavery conference in London, women were not allowed to speak.

-> anger

feminism in historical perspective 2
Feminism in historical perspective - 2

Mott and Stanteon, Seneca Falls, NY, July 19-29, 1848.

Declaration of Sentiments: was adopted unanimously except the right to vote.

Feared that they would be too threatening to men.

Not until 8-26-1920 did women gain the right to vote (19th amendment)

Some women voted, mostly for men.

After the war effort (WW I), the cult of domesticity was resurrected. The modern “emancipated” middle class housewife was a household manager/femininity rather than feminism.

feminism in historical perspective 3
Feminism in historical perspective - 3

Second wave:

Took off with Friedan’s book: The feminine mystique. Middle /upper class women living in comfortable concentration camps.

The problem with no name: women feeling empty/unfulfilled subordinating their needs to their husbands and kids.

Awareness of a social problem, awareness of its political nature

Equal pay act 1963NOW formed 1966

Split between heterosexual feminists and lesbians (Radicalesbians as they called themselves)

-> Diverse group with diverse agendas, even pro feminist men’s movement

contemporary feminism 3
Contemporary Feminism: (3)

1. gender-reform feminism:

Emphasize the similarities rather than the differences between women and men.

Goal: equal opportunities in all areas of social life

4 types of feminisms:

1. Liberal: securing same rights

2. Marxist: focus on economic independence of women/jobs, pay etc.

3. Socialist: same as above

4. Development: seek to improve work and educational opportunities for women n economically developing countries

contemporary feminism 3 continue
Contemporary Feminism: (3) - Continue

2. gender-resistance feminisms:

Focus on how women’s ideas and experiences are different for men and women

Urge women to break away form male dominance by forming separate, women only organizations and communities.

This does not really change the order.

1. Radical feminism: focus on the sexual exploitation of women by men, especially violence

2. Lesbian feminism: same as above

3. Psychoanalytic feminism: uses Freud theory to explain gender inequality

4. Standpoint feminism: attempts to examine all aspects of life from a women’s unique standpoint.

contemporary feminism 3 continue1
Contemporary Feminism: (3) – Continue

3. Gender rebellion feminism: (3rd wave feminists)

Focus on the interrelationships among inequalities of gender race and ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation.

1. Multiracial feminism: focus how women are disadvantaged within certain groups.

2. Men’s feminism: same as above

3. Social construction feminism: study how gender is learned/that labels that are used-social construction of gender

4. Postmodern feminism: to redefine gender to fit the real picture

5. Queer feminism: same as above

This is just and outline of a movement. There are many variations. The movement is diverse: -> problem: criticism, lack of a unified voice

the future of feminism
The future of feminism

Backlash in the 1980/90

Feminists seen as man haters

Feminism making people uncomfortable as nobody wants to be a victim and nobody wants to be the victimizer. Media portrayed negative images.

Today’s feminists are drawn for the white middle class. There are my groups though, that address racial, social, sexist and lesbian issues.

Women of colors most often identify themselves as feminists. One might argue that white women want to be part of the white male power elite, whereas women of color seek a decent standard of living/no discrimination.