A Critical Discussion on the Ways in Which Sociologists Attempt to Study Aspects of Gender
In order to study gender, sociologists must adopt particular research methodologies and examine certain theoretical perspectives when conducting research in gender. The study of gender is broad and consists of many different aspects regarding masculinities and femininities including hegemonic masculinity and the concept of ‘doing/undoing gender’. These aspects of gender and the methodologies adopted by sociologists to study theses aspects will be discussed in this essay. Similarly theoretical perspectives sociologists utilise such as those of Bourdieu and Piketty will be examined.
One aspect sociologists have attempted to study within gender is ‘hegemonic masculinity’. As discussed by Morell, Jewkes and Lindegger in “Hegemonic Masculinities/Masculinities in South Africa: Culture, Power, and Gender Politics” (2012), hegemonic masculinity analyses ‘power in conjunction with issues of hierarchy, allowing for differentiation between groups of men who had different relations to one another and more or less power in relation to a dominant group’ . Morrell, Jewkes and Lindegger examine hegemonic masculinity within South Africa, a highly patriarchal and violent country, through quantitative research methods. Statistics highlight certain demographics that contribute to the study of gender within South Africa; for example it was found that 40% of households are run by women and often fathers are
Gender refers to the socially constructed categories of feminine and masculine. It is one of the major factors in social difference and inequality in today’s society. Gender inequality refers to unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals based on their gender. It arises from differences in socially constructed gender roles. Using a paragraph based approach I intend to individually analyse various aspects of gender differences referencing to the theory of socialisation and also making links to the works of Marx, Durkham and Goffman. My essay will cover different aspects of gender inequalities still present in today’s contemporary society.
Sociological imagination highlights how society places the two sexes in unequal positions of wealth, power and privilege. It is therefore very useful to look beyond the gender itself and see the global issues associated with it. There are differences regarding the type of gender in different countries, the levels of gender inequality and the amount of violence that are necessary to maintain both systems of difference and domination. Women were always viewed as weak, sensitive, dependent and unintelligent so the society formed a view that they have to sit home, do the housework and raise the children. They were always considered less skilled, incapable of doing a hard work and even now women are more likely to be paid less than man. Women are more likely to be abused and they are less likely to have access to formal power. According to the United Nations, “At least one in five of world’s female population has been physically or sexually abused by a man at some time in their life” (UNFPA, 2000: p. 25).
Gender roles have played a major part in society. According to the book “The Psyche of Feminism” “A gender role is a theoretical construct in the social sciences that refers to a set of social and behavioral norms that are considered to be socially appropriate
In order to better comprehend the issues in which I will be examining, it is important to have an understanding of the difference between sex and gender, the role and definition of a 'patriarchal society',
The sociology of gender is one of the largest subfields within sociology; sociological gender studies look at the social construction of gender and how gender interacts with other social structures within society (Crossman, 2016). It Is important that one understands the difference between sex and gender to understand the sociology of gender; unlike gender, sex is biologically determined and relates to the reproductive organs a person has. In order to separate gender and sex sociologists use different pronouns; when discussing gender, sociologists use the terms man/woman and when discussing sex sociologists will use the terms male/female (Crossman, 2016). Although most people fall into wither the category of male or female, some people are born with ‘sex organs’ that do not clearly fit into either of the two specific sex categories, these people are known as intersex (Ashley Crossman, 2016). Gender is described as a social classification based on one’s identity and how one presents themselves to the world; this identity relates to the way one behaves and interacts within society. Many sociologists view gender as a learned behaviour and look at gendered identities as being culturally produced which makes gendered identities socially constructed (Crossman,
The sociological imagination allows me to experience gender in the years before the feminist movement, learning the roles of man and woman, and looking at today’s differences. The imagination affects us all. It allows us to look back in history, and look at the patterns that are still in effect today, or the patterns that are no longer in effect today. A recognition of these patterns allows us to understand what may happen in the future and how we can better society. What did I learn about gender in society? Let’s dive
Therefore, feminist sociology is not effective in leading women towards change or an end to dominant heterosexual assumptions that put patriarchy at power. Thus, it is difficult for women to breakthrough the oppression merely on theories and lacking practical action or reforms. When sociologists, such as Smith uses categories to analyze the relationship between women and her male counterpart, she draws on this notion that there is this believed or assumed natural heterogender relationship in society. As Smith proposed, men are able to work in the public materialist world and contribute to the everyday capitalist world is due to the existence of a female figure working within the private sphere to support the workings within the household, and in turn, make a patriarchal and capitalist society possible. Therefore, there is the assumed husband and wife, nuclear family in the household, with each playing their part and indicating that every individual is required to situate themselves as actors in this
In “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” Joan W. Scott provides many angles to explore the relevancy of gender. The first thing that needs to be examined is her argument. The main argument that Joan W. Scott is trying to make is how beneficial to history using gender as a category for analysis would turn out. Another factor that needs to be made in assessing her article is how she presents her argument and findings. Scott formats her article with a beginning, middle, and end. She begins by defining “gender,” and how that term has been used in general. She goes on to describe some of the theories that have analyzed gender. The next part that she explains is how, of late, politics has been coincided with the analysis of gender. Finally, she ends her paper by providing her bottom-line opinion about the analysis and approach of gender.
How is gender and gender roles socially constructed? Soulliere states that gender is a cultural creation that is frequently developed by and represented through popular cultural media such as advertisements, music, sports, and entertainment television (Soulliere 2006). The article “Wrestling with Masculinity: Messages about Manhood in the WWE” by Danielle M. Soulliere (2006), examines messages about manhood revealed by televised professional wrestling (Soulliere 1). Messages concerning masculinity and manhood were investigated and compared to the cultural version of masculinity (Soulliere 2006). Soulliere’s research proves that the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) depicts messages, which supports the dominant hegemonic form of masculinity (Soulliere 2006). To further grasp and understand Soulliere’s hypothesis, we must first examine her research methods and outcomes.
The term gender refers to the characteristics of a person despite the person’s biological sex. Gender role, which is the focus of sociologists, is the anticipated attitude and behavior that a certain society connects with each sex. With this definition, gender is placed evenly in the sociocultural context. Events that previously occurred had a vital impact on gender roles. Due to this, the study of gender emerged as one of the significant disciplines in the field of sociology in the twentieth century. The gender issues were studied using various research and theory. The research on gender issues provided a testament that all social interactions that occur, and the institutions where they occur, are gendered in one way or the other. Sociologists explain gender roles with respect to various theoretical perspectives. The perspectives are the ways of perceiving social reality that guide the process of research and provide a method for understanding the data. The sociological perspectives on gender roles include functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interaction, and feminist sociological theory (pearsonhighered.com).
The definition of masculinity shows young males that in order to be respected, power must be applied upon others and intimidation is the only method of gaining this respect. Through the use of this power and intimidation, females are often oppressed and kept under the control of men. Woman has need of the male in order to gain human dignity, to eat, to enjoy life, to procreate; it is through the service of sex that she gets these benefits; because she is confined to that function, she is wholly an instrumentality of exploitation (De Beauvoir, 360). Males use power over women to reassure their manliness and to portray their masculinity. This violence is not only present in households. It is also present in masculinity versus nature in a capitalist society, where the environment must be altered and destroyed for economic gains. It appears that violence against nature-that is, the impossible and disastrous drive to dominate and conquer the natural world-is integrally connected with domination among humans (Kaufman, 7). Another example of showing this power is through rape and sexual abuse. Through rape, men display their dominance in the most violent and gruesome ways. As Kaufman notes, in the testimonies of rapists on hears over and over again expressions of inferiority, powerlessness, anger (15). By committing this crime, males display their physical strength upon the victim and this is what masculinity is defined as, a display of power and
In contemporary society, hegemonic masculinity is defined by physical strength and boldness, heterosexuality, economic independence, authority over women and other men, and an interest in sexual relationships. While most men do not embody all of these qualities, society supports hegemonic masculinity within all its institutions, including the educational institute, the religious institute and other institutes which form the ideological state apparatus.
When considering gender and sex, a layman’s idea of these terms might be very different than a sociologist’s. There is an important distinction: sex, in terms of being “male” or “female,” is purely the physical biological characteristic differences – primarily anatomical differences. (There are also rare cases of “intersexual” individuals as outlined in the Navarro article, “When Gender Isn’t a Given”.) Gender, on the other hand, is an often misconstrued concept that is commonly mistaken as synonymous with sex. A non-sociologist might surmise the following, “men act masculine and women act feminine, therefore, it must follow that gender is inherent to sex,” however, this is not necessarily the case.
The two themes that need to be discussed in order to explain gender differences are difference and inequality. Difference is how men and women are differentiated. It is the way social relationships, processes and institutions distinguish between men and women that sociologists are interested in. also how them processes “create meanings about femininity and masculinity” (Marsh and Keating, 2003 p.265). Inequality refers to the way gender distinctions and inequalities are linked together, as well as power relations and hierarchy. Sociologists are trying to determine whether inequalities between men and women are due to social distinctions (Marsh and Keating, 2003). Feminist sociologists argue that women experience a drawback