Just as masculinity is the symbolic norm, so too has heterosexuality come to signify normalcy. For the homosexual, these transitions are fraught with difficulty. To what degree does the same process apply to heterosexuals? Although the idea of coming out as a heterosexual, or as a masculine man or a feminine woman, might seem absurd, this absurdity is grounded in the norms of heteronormative society that are so deeply entrenched as to make them appear natural. Interactionists are also interested in how discussions of homosexuals often focus almost exclusively on the sex lives of gays and lesbians; homosexuals, especially men, may be assumed to be hypersexual and, in some cases, deviant.
Interactionism might also focus on the slurs used to describe homosexuals. This subsequently affects how homosexuals perceive themselves. Constant exposure to derogatory labels, jokes, and pervasive homophobia would lead to a negative self-image, or worse, self-hate. The CDC reports that homosexual youths who experience high levels of social rejection are six times more likely to have high levels of depression and eight times more likely to have attempted suicide CDC Queer theory is a perspective that problematizes the manner in which we have been taught to think about sexual orientation.
Queer theorists reject the dominant gender schema and the dichotomization of sexual orientations into two mutually exclusive outcomes, homosexual or heterosexual. Rather, the perspective highlights the need for a more flexible and fluid conceptualization of sexuality—one that allows for change, negotiation, and freedom. This mirrors other oppressive schemas in our culture, especially those surrounding gender and race black versus white, male versus female. In the end, queer theory strives to question the ways society perceives and experiences sex, gender, and sexuality, opening the door to new scholarly understanding.
Throughout this chapter, we have examined the complexities of gender, sex, and sexuality. Differentiating between sex, gender, and sexual orientation is an important first step to a deeper understanding and critical analysis of these issues.
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Understanding the sociology of sex, gender, and sexuality will help to build awareness of the inequalities experienced by subordinate groups such as women, homosexuals, and transgendered individuals. Sex denotes biological characteristics differentiating males and females, while gender denotes social and cultural characteristics of masculine and feminine behaviour. Sex and gender are not always synchronous. Individuals who strongly identify with the opposing gender are considered transgendered.
Gender Children become aware of gender roles in their earliest years. They come to understand and perform these roles through socialization, which occurs through four major agents: family, education, peer groups, and mass media. Socialization into narrowly prescribed gender roles results in the stratification of males and females.
Each sociological perspective offers a valuable view for understanding how and why gender inequality occurs in our society. Sex and Sexuality When studying sex and sexuality, sociologists focus their attention on sexual attitudes and practices, not on physiology or anatomy.
The day I went to sex therapy: an extract from The Truth, by Neil Strauss
Norms regarding gender and sexuality vary across cultures. In general, Canada tends to be less conservative than the United States in its sexual attitudes. As a result, homosexuals still continue to face opposition and discrimination in most major social institutions but discrimination based on sexual orientation is legally prohibited in the Canadian constitution, gays and lesbians are able to get married in Canada, and school boards across the country have instituted anti-bullying policies to prevent the targeting of LGBT students.
The Difference between Sex and Gender 1. Gender 6. Which of the following is the best example of a gender stereotype? Which of the following is the best example of the role peers play as an agent of socialization for school-aged children? Sex and Sexuality What Western country is thought to be the most liberal in its attitudes toward sex? Which theoretical perspective stresses the importance of regulating sexual behaviour to ensure marital cohesion and family stability? Gender For more gender-related statistics, see the U. New York: Routledge.
Ling, Lisa. Weiss, Debra C. Case, M. Cowan, Sharon. Diamond, Milton. Kinsey, Alfred C.
Chapter 12. Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Poasa, Kris. Ryle, Robyn. Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration.
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Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. New York: Columbia University Press. Statistics Canada. Taylor, Catherine and Tracey Peter. Every class in every school: The first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools. Final report. Retrieved February 13, www. Gender Coltrane, Scott and Michele Adams.
Gender and Families. Davis, Donald M. Etaugh, Clair and Judith Bridges. Farrington, K. Boss, W. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. Schumm and S. New York: Plenum.
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Hawke, Lucy A. Hochschild, Arlie R. New York: Viking. Kane, Eileen. Kilbourne, Jean. New York: Touchstone Publishing. Lips, Hillary M. McInturff, Kate. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Mead, George Herbert. Murdock, George Peter and Douglas R. National Institute of Mental Health. Unpublished Epidemiological Catchment Area Analyses.
Nellie McClung Foundation. Parsons, Talcott. NY: Free Press. Pincus, Fred. New York, NY: Routledge. Raffaelli, Marcela and Lenna L. Ready, Diane. Risman, Barbara and Danette Johnson-Sumerford. Sadker, David and Myra Sadker. Sanday, Peggy Reeves. Women at the Center: Life in a Modern Matriarchy. Seem, Susan Rachael and Diane M. Smith, Dorothy. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Smith, Stacy. Staples, Robert and Leanor Boulin Johnson.
Black Families at the Crossroads: Challenges and Prospects. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Thorne, Barrie. Gender Play: Girls and Boys in Schoo l. Broude, Gwen J. New York, NY: Springer. Buss, David M. January Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Devor, Aaron. How Many Genders? A Survey of Canadian Adults. Fisher, T. Moore and M. Foucault, Michel. NY: Vintage Books. Grose, Thomas K. Kinsman, Gary. Buse, and Mercedes Steedman eds.
In Whose National Security? Canadian State Surveillance and the Creation of Enemies. Toronto: Between the Lines Press. Milhausen, Robin and Edward Herold. Perceptions of University Women. Parsons, Talcott, Robert F. Family, Socialization, and Interaction Process. New York: Free Press. Pew Research Center. June 4. Potard, C. Courtois, and E. Epistemology of the Closet. Widmer, Eric D. Figure Skip to content Increase Font Size. Learning Objectives The Difference between Sex and Gender Define and differentiate between sex and gender Define and discuss what is meant by gender identity Understand and discuss the role of homophobia and heterosexism in society Distinguish the meanings of transgendered, transsexual, and homosexual identities Gender Explain the influence of socialization on gender roles in Canada Understand the stratification of gender in major North American institutions Describe gender from the view of each sociological perspective Sex and Sexuality Understand different attitudes associated with sex and sexuality Define sexual inequality in various societies Discuss theoretical perspectives on sex and sexuality.
Making Connections: Sociological Research Being Male, Being Female, and Being Healthy In , Broverman and Broverman conducted a groundbreaking study on the traits mental health workers ascribed to males and females. Section Quiz Sex Gender Both sex and gender None of the above 2. Gender identity Gender bias Sexual orientation Sexual attitudes 3. At infancy In early adolescence In early adulthood In late adulthood 4. Transgendered Transsexual A cross-dresser Homosexual 5.
Which of following is correct regarding the explanation for transgenderism? It is strictly biological and associated with chemical imbalances in the brain. It is a behaviour that is learned through socializing with other transgendered individuals. It is genetic and usually skips one generation. Currently, there is no definitive explanation for transgenderism.
Women are typically shorter than men. Men do not live as long as women. Women tend to be overly emotional, while men tend to be level-headed. Men hold more high-earning, leadership jobs than women. Children can act however they wish around their peers because children are unaware of gender roles.
Peers serve as a support system for children who wish to act outside of their assigned gender roles. Peers tend to reinforce gender roles by criticizing and marginalizing those who behave outside of their assigned roles. None of the above 8. Conflict theory Functionalism Feminist theory Symbolic interactionism 9. Only women are affected by gender stratification. True False During half of our activities Only when it applies to our biological sex Only if we are actively following gender roles All of the time, in everything we do United States Sweden Mexico Ireland Compared to most Western societies, U.
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