Sociology – Topic 4 Gender Identities

Notes on gender identities for AS Sociology

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Emma Rudd BMA
19th September
Sociology ­ Topic 4 Gender Identities
Sex and Gender
Biologically determined is the approach that believes gender is based on
nature. The genetic differences between men and women create the differences
in their attitudes.
Socially constructed is the approach that argues that gender is based in
`nurture'/socialisation. Different societies create different gender expectations.
Sex refers to the physical and biological differences between men and
women it is more or less fixed. E.g. they have different hormones, genitals etc.
Where as gender refers to cultural expectations attached to a persons sex.
These expectations are stereotypical and usually exaggerated the influence
people's perceptions. E.g. in many cultures women are seen as feminine
sensitive, caring and gentle and men are seen as masculine aggressive,
ambitious, competitive etc.
Gender Socialisation
Agency of Socialisation Piece of research 1 Piece of research 2
Primary Socialisation Oakley spoke of Statham studied parents who
­ Family manipulation, which refers to are deliberately trying to
the way parents avoid genderstereotyping
encourage or discourage their children. It was found
behaviour based on its that it was almost
appropriateness for their impossible for parents to
child's sex. He also spoke overcome cultural pressure
about canalisation, which from friend's family and other
refers to the way parents sources.
channel children's interests
into toys that are seen as
normal for that child's sex.
Secondary Socialisation Murphy and Elwood's Christine Skelton studied a
Education researched concluded by primary school and
saying that by the time describes ways in which
children went to school they gender stereotypes were
were already aware of created and maintained.
gendered interests and E.g. at assembly the head
behaviours, and these would ask male staff to move
attitudes may be reinforced equipment, and posters on
throughout their school the walls at the school
experience. showed boys being active or
naughty and girls being
passive and good.
Secondary Socialisation Connell (1995) spoke about Sue Lees looked at how
Peer Group the style of hegemonic girls express their
masculinity, which is where feminine identities
boys are put under pressure through their appearance.

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Emma Rudd BMA
19th September
to present themselves as She said that girls are forced
hard, strong and into this in order to show that
independent, so they soon they are `good' girls rather
learn to hide any signs of than `slag's'. She said they
gentleness, kindness and are taught to control and
vulnerability. Emma Renold discipline their bodies. I.e.
again studies and proves they must act modestly, sit
this theory in 2001. with their legs firmly together
and not take up to much
space.…read more

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Emma Rudd BMA
19th September
Gender Socialisation Evaluation
Gender socialisation can be criticised as it tends to ignore peoples
ethnicity, area, class and age which makes a difference, also men and
women's experiences are very different and these also do not tend to be
Gender socialisation tends to encourage traditional gender roles
which reinforce male dominance. Hegemonic masculinity makes it difficult
for boys to form their own alternative masculinity.…read more

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Emma Rudd BMA
19th September
Liberal feminists are hopeful to achieve gender equality but radical
feminists are more pessimistic.…read more



Excellent resource, V Helpful!!

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