Chapter 10 Sex, Gender and Sexuality



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Chapter 10


Chapter Outline 

  • Sexual Differentiation

  • Perspectives on Gender Inequality

  • Gender as Social Construction and Social Structure

  • Differences in Life Chances by Sex

  • Gender and Power

  • The Sociology of Sexuality



 Sex and Gender

  • Biology differentiates the sexes.

  • Society differentiates male and female roles.

  • Gender roles ascribed to men and women vary greatly from culture to culture.



 Gender Roles Across Cultures

  • In virtually all cultures:

  • Women are expected to focus on child-raising.

  • Men tend to have more power.

  • Male children are valued over female children.



Violence Toward Women

  • In the U.S. in 1996 more than 840,000 women were murdered, raped, assaulted or robbed by an intimate.

  • More than 100 million women, in African countries and in Asia, South America, and Europe, have undergone genital mutilation.

  • In India 6,006 new brides were known to have been murdered in 1997 by their husbands or in-laws.



Structural-functional Theory of Gender Inequality

  • Focuses on the functions of gendered division of labor:

  • Reduces competition between men and women.

  • Makes both sexes specialists in their roles.

  • Requires an interdependence of men and women.



Conflict Theory of Gender Inequality

  • Subjugation of women to subordinate roles benefits men and capitalism.

  • Capitalists benefit from a labor market that splits the interests of men and women workers—in favor of men.

  • Segmented labor market provides a low-wage female labor reserve.





Symbolic Interaction and Gender Inequality

  • Sexism arises through culturally patterned interaction in everyday life.

  • Studies demonstrate differences in the ways boys and girls are are treated by teachers and each other.



Symbolic Interaction and Gender Inequality

  • Teachers tend to ask boys analytical questions.

  • Boys in a summer camp setting tend to be ranked based on athletic prowess and aggressiveness.

  • Girls are devalued and denied power relative to even the lowest status boys.



Differences in Life-chances by Sex

  • There is a gap between the sexes when it comes to doctoral or professional degrees.

  • The care of children makes it difficult for women to be considered on an equal occupational footing with men.

  • Labor-force participation by women approaches that of men.



Bachelor’s Degrees Earned, by Field, 1971 and 2000



Bachelor’s Degrees Earned, by Field, 1971 and 2000



Labor-Force Participation of Men and Women 16 and Over





Reasons Why Women and Men Have Different Jobs

  • Gendered jobs.Lower paying jobs like nursing and teaching tend to be “women’s work”.

  • Different qualifications.Women are less likely to have as much experience or education as men.

  • Discrimination, often based on sexism, works against women’s options in the world of work.



Same Job, Different Earnings

  • Three reasons why men earn more than women who do the same work:

    • Different titles.
    • Segmented labor market.
    • Family responsibilities.


Sex Differences in Earnings from the Same Occupation



 Male Disadvantages

  • Men also pay for the imbalances of power and privilege in gender roles.

  • Mortality rates for men are higher throughout the life cycle partly due to norms that encourage men to suppress their feelings.



Male Disadvantages

  • The male role does not encourage the cultivation of emotionally supportive relationships.

  • Men may suffer serious stress from associating self-esteem with net worth.





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