Gender and Identity


Gender identity

Gender and Sex

The difference between sex and gender is that sex refers to someone as amle or female based upon their internal and extenal sex organs whereas gender describes the chracteristics that a cultuture delineates as masquline and feminine.

Gender Behaviours

As gender links to behaviour and behaviour is part of our identity.

Male sterotypes to gender identity

  • Being tough
  • Provide for the family
  • Family man
  • Joker
  • Jock
  • Dominat
  • Sporty
  • Not emotional
  • Smart
  • Vain

Female Sterotypes:

  • Emotional
  • Symapasise

Doing the cleaning

  • Not smart
  • Doing the cooking
  • Trophy wife
  • Not sporty
  • Vain
  • Over dramatic
  • Split personality

David Gauntlett work on Social Order and Social Reproduction

As discussed i Media, Gender and Idenity: An introduction (2002) David Gauntlett

He provided the example 'When a boy goes to school wearing eyeliner and a dash of lipstick, the shockwaves can be powerful. Yet he only suplemented his apperance with materials which are used by millions of women every day. Women who choose not to shave their legs or armpits may be singled out in a similar way, treated as deviants for ignoring social convention about femine apperance.'

Gauntlett notes that everyday actions reinforce and reproduce a set of expecations. It is this set of other people's expectations which make up the 'social forces' and scoial structures'. We can use these to construct aspects of our identity, to fit in with other collective identities or feel alienated if we appear different.

Gauntlett discusses that it is because of this faith in the way we 'expect'; things to be, that some people are so shaken when others challenge the taken-for-granted consensus about how, for examplle how men and women behave.

Gauntlett continues 'we could say, for example that this explains why some men are disturbed- or even angered- to see other men acting in an effeminate manner, because this behaviour challenges their everyday understanding of how things should be in the world.

Gauntlett concludes 'The performance of gender appears here, as something which is learned and policed, and which has to be constantly worked on and monitored.

3 Waves of Feminism

  • 1st Wave- mid 19th/early 20th century. This was a fight for social and policical equality. There was a stuggle or women's right to vote. 1918- granting the vote for women over 30.1928-Women recieved the vote on equal terms of men. Key concerns icludes education, employments and marraige laws. thew sucesses higher education for women, married women's property's rights and the widening of access to professions such as medicine.
  • 2nd Wave- Liberation 1960's and 1970's. Largely to do with struggles with equal pay, equal rights at work, and better represntation in public bodies such as parliament. Acess to contraception, increasing choice of women to be be pregnant or not. Sterotype of dowdy, man hating feminist.
  • 3rd wave- 1980s-1990s. Less emphasis of battles for equality. More emphasis on positve nature of ambiguity and difference. (Not all women are the same, so it does not matter). Girl power- Spice girls. Heroines- Buffy Xena.

Second Wave Feminism

Laura Mulvey 1975

  • Visual pleasure and narrative cinema
  • The 'male gaze'
  • Much of our media output assumes the spectator is male or consturcts reality from a male's POV
  • Women see themselves in the eys of men
  • In order for a woman to expereice pleasure from the film, she has to position herself in a similar role to the male viewer, enjoying the spectacle.

Simone de Beauvoir

Liberation Through Socialist Struggle

In The Second Sex, published in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir downplayed her association with feminism as she then knew it. Like many of her associates, she believed that socialist development and class struggle were needed to solve society's problems, not a women's movement. When 1960s feminists approached her, she did not rush to enthusiastically join their cause.

As the resurgence and reinvention of feminism spread during the 1960s, Simone de Beauvoir noted that socialist development had not left women better off in the USSR or in China than they were in capitalist countries. Soviet women had jobs and government positions, but were still unfailingly the ones attending to the housework and children at the end of the workday.

This, she recognized, mirrored the problems being discussed by feminists in the United States about housewives and women's "roles."

The Need for a Women's Movement

In a 1972 interview with Alice Schwarzer, Simone de Beauvoir declared that she really was a feminist. She called her rejection of a women's movement a shortcoming of The Second Sex. She also said the most important thing women can do in their lives is work, so they can be independent. Work was not perfect, nor was it a solution to all problems, but it was the "first condition for women's independence," according to Simone de Beauvoir.

 Simone de Beauvoir also theorized that women could not be truly liberated until the system of patriarchal society itself was overthrown. Yes, women needed to be liberated individually, but they also needed to fight in solidarity with the political left and the working classes.

Her ideas were compatible with the belief that "the personal is political."

No Separate Women's Nature

Later in the 1970s, Simone de Beauvoir, as a feminist, was dismayed by the idea of a separate, mystical "feminine nature," a New Age concept that seemed to be gaining popularity.

"Just as I do not believe that women are inferior to men by nature, nor do I believe that they are their natural superiors either."
- Simone de Beauvoir, in 1976

In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir had famously stated, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." Women are different from men because of what they have been taught and socialized to do and be.

It was dangerous, she said, to imagine an eternal feminine nature, in which women were more in touch with the earth and the cycles of the moon. According to Simone de Beauvoir, this was just another way for men to control women, by telling women they are better off in their cosmic, spiritual "eternal feminine," kept away from men's knowledge and left without all the men's concerns like work, careers and power.

"A Return to Enslavement"

The notion of a "woman's nature" struck Simone de Beauvoir as further oppression. She called motherhood a way of turning women into slaves. It did not have to be that way, but it usually ended up that way in society precisely because women were told to concern themselves with their divine nature. They were forced to focus on motherhood and femininity instead of politics, technology or anything else outside of home and family.

This was a way of rendering women second-class citizens: the second sex.

Transformation of Society

The Women's Liberation Movement helped Simone de Beauvoir become more attuned to the day-to-day sexism women experienced. Yet, she did not think it was beneficial for women to refuse to do anything the "man's way" or refuse to take on qualities deemed masculine.

Some radical feminist organizations rejected leadership hierarchy as a reflection of masculine authority and said no single person was in charge. Some feminist artists declared they could never truly create unless they were completely separate from male-dominated art. Simone de Beauvoir recognized that Women's Liberation had done some good, but she said feminists should not utterly reject being a part of the man's world, whether in organizational power or with their creative work.

From Simone de Beauvoir's point of view, the work of feminism was to transform society and women's place in it.

Gaye Tuchman- The symbolic Annihilation of women in Mass Media 

  • She writes “From children’s shows to commercials to prime-time adventures and situation comedies, television proclaims that women don’t count for much.”
  • Tuchman uses the term “symbolically annihilated” to describe how women are extremely underrepresented in television in today’s society.
  • Tuchman suggests that this lack of representation for the female race tells society that women do not have an influence, or matter much in American society
  • television portrays an approval of married women and a “condemnation of single and working women.” She writes that “single women are more likely to be victims of violence than married women, and working women are more likely to be villains than housewives”




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