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Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies




In tampon to replace home Butler's copy, consider her account of east performativity. Through, they are culturally binding or acquired.


The lowered self-esteem and the denigration of their own sex noted by Smith 23 and Goldberg 24 are a logical consequence. These pressures even affect the supposedly unchangeable IQ scores. Corresponding with the drive for social acceptance, girls' IQs drop Womeb those of boys during high school, rise slightly if they go to college, and go construftion a steady and consistent decline when and if they become full time housewives. Negative self-conceptions have negative effects in a manner that can only be called a self-fulfilling prophecy. They stifle motivation and channel energies into those areas that are likely to get some positive social rewards.

Then those subject to these pressures are condemned for not having strived for the highest social rewards society has to offer. A good example of this double bind is what psychologists call the "need for achievement. In women it has barely been looked at; women didn't fit the model social scientists set up to explain achievement in men. Girls do not seem to demonstrate the same consistent correlation between achievement and scores on achievement tests that boys do. For example, Stivers found that "non-motivated for college" girls scored higher on achievement motivation exams than "well-motivated for college" girls.

The general policy followed by the researchers was that if girls didn't fit, leave them out. Nonetheless some theories have been put forward. Pierce postulated that part of the confusion resulted from using the same criteria of achievement for girls that were used for boys-achievement in school.

Therefore, be did a study of marriage vs. In fact, the achievement orientation Womne both sexes goes precisely where it is socially directed -- educational achievement for constructino and marriage achievement for girls. Pierce suggested that "achievement motivation in girls attaches itself not to academic performance, but rather to more Women construction sex adult Women construction sex goals. This would be a logical assumption in that academic success is much less important to achievement status as a woman than it is for a consgruction. This is the constructioj adult woman Their achievement motivations are directed toward realizing personal goals through their relationship with men Girls who are following the sexx course of development are most likely to seek adult status through marriage at an early age.

One might postulate that both kinds of success might be possible, particularly for the highly achievement-oriented woman. But in fact the two are construcfion often perceived as Wonen success in one is seen to contsruction success consttuction the other. Horner Wkmen completed a study at the University of Michigan from which she postulated a psychological barrier to achievement in women. She administered a TAT word item to undergraduates that said "After first term finals Anne finds herself at the top of her medical school class. Success in the normal sense is threatening to women.

Further research confirmed that fear of social rejection and role conflict did generate a "motive to avoid success. This is reinforced by peer and cultural pressures. However, many sex differences appear too early to be much affected by peer groups and are not directly related to sex-role attributes. One such sex difference is spatial perception, or the ability to visualize objects out of their context. This is a test in which boys do better, though differences are usually not discernible before the early school years. They indicate that boys perceive more analytically, while girls are more contextual. This ability to "break set" or be "field independent" also does not seem to appear until after the fourth or fifth year.

Levy has observed that "overprotected" boys tend to develop intellectually like girls. In other words, the independent child is likely to be more active, not only psychologically but physically, and the physically active child will naturally have more kinesthetic experience with spatial relationships in his environment. Sontag did a longitudinal study in which he compared children whose IQs had improved with those whose IQs had declined with age. He discovered that the child with increasing IQ was competitive, self-assertive, independent, and dominant in interaction with other children.

Children with declining IQs were passive, shy, and dependent. When one of the people working on it was asked about what kind of developmental history was necessary to make a girl into an intellectual person, he replied, "The simplest way to put it is that she must be a tomboy at some point in her childhood. Maternal protection apparently 'feminized' both the boys and the girls.

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Being person-oriented and contextual in perception are very valuable attributes for many fields where, nevertheless, very few cinstruction are found. Such characteristics constguction also valuable in the arts and some of the social sciences. Construcfion while women do succeed here more than in the sciences, their achievement is still not equivalent to that of men. One explanation of this, of course, is the Horner study that established a, "motive to avoid success. The very same early independence and mastery training that has such a beneficial effect on analytic thinking also determines the extent of one's achievement orientation.

Girls receive more affection, more protectiveness, more control and more restrictions. Boys are subjected to more achievement demands and higher expectations. With sons, socialization seems to focus primarily on directing and constraining the boys' impact on the environment. With daughters, the aim is rather to protect the girl from the impact of environment. The boy is being prepared to mold his world, the girl to be molded by it. Otherwise, the boy finds himself in the same situation as the girl, who, having received greater affection, is more sensitive to its withdrawal, with the result that a little discipline goes a long way and strong authority is constricting rather than constructive.

Like girls, first children tend to be better socialized but also more anxious and dependent, whereas second children, like boys, are more aggressive and self-confident. Not only do his high degrees of nurturance and protectiveness toward girls result in "oversocialization," but "the presence of strong paternal power is particularly debilitating.

Construction sex Women

In short, boys thrive in a patriarchal context, girls in a matriarchal one. This reflects the fact that adolescents may receive too much mothering. In looking at the kinds of role models that mothers provide for developing daughters, they discovered that it is those women who are looked upon as unfeminine whose daughters tend to achieve intellectually. These mothers are "aggressive and competitive women who were critical of their daughters and presented themselves to their daughters as intellectually competitive and aggressive role models.

It is reasonable to assume that the girls identified with these intellectually aggressive women who valued mastery behavior. If McClelland is right in all the relationships he finds between child-rearing practices in particular independence and mastery trainingachievement-motivation scores of individuals tested, actual achievement of individuals, and indeed, the economic growth of whole societies, 54 there is no longer much question as to why the historical achievement of women has been so low. In fact, with the dependency training they receive so early in life, the Women construction sex is that they have achieved so much.

But this is not the whole story. Maccoby, in her discussion of the relationship of independence training to analytic abilities, notes that the girl who does not succumb to overprotection and develop the appropriate personality and behavior for her sex has Women construction sex major price to pay: Or, as other observers have noted: The occupations with the highest concentrations of women are in the health care, teaching or caregiving fields, according to the U. The jobs with the highest concentrations of men tend to involve traditionally blue-collar fields such as heavy equipment operation and repair or construction, as well as computer and engineering occupations.

In addition, about nine-in-ten mechanical engineers and roughly eight-in-ten computer programmers are male. They have a similar educational and racial and ethnic profile and a similar median age compared with women who say their workplaces are mostly female. So the differences in attitudes and workplace experiences are most likely not attributable to demographic differences. MacKinnon's thought is not that male dominance is a result of social learning see 2. That is, socialized differences in masculine and feminine traits, behaviour, and roles are not responsible for power inequalities.

Females and males roughly put are socialised differently because there are underlying power inequalities. MacKinnon, then, sees legal restrictions on pornography as paramount to ending women's subordinate status that stems from their gender. The positions outlined above share an underlying metaphysical perspective on gender: All women are thought to differ from all men in this respect or respects. For example, MacKinnon thought that being treated in sexually objectifying ways is the common condition that defines women's gender and what women as women share. All women differ from all men in this respect. Further, pointing out females who are not sexually objectified does not provide a counterexample to MacKinnon's view.

Being sexually objectified is constitutive of being a woman; a female who escapes sexual objectification, then, would not count as a woman. One may want to critique the three accounts outlined by rejecting the particular details of each account. For instance, see Spelman [, chapter 4] for a critique of the details of Women construction sex view. A more thoroughgoing critique has been levelled at the general metaphysical perspective of gender realism that underlies these positions. It has come under sustained attack on two grounds: If gender were separable from, for example, race and class in this manner, all women would experience womanhood in the same way.

And this is clearly false. For instance, Harris and Stone criticise MacKinnon's view, that sexual objectification is the common condition that defines women's gender, for failing to take into account differences in women's backgrounds that shape their sexuality. In fact, the rape of a black woman was thought to be impossible Harris So, the argument goes sexual objectification cannot serve as the common condition for womanhood since it varies considerably depending on one's race and class. Betty Friedan's well-known work is a case in point of white solipsism. But she failed to realize that women from less privileged backgrounds, often poor and non-white, already worked outside the home to support their families.

Friedan's suggestion, then, was applicable only to a particular sub-group of women white middle-class Western housewives. But it was mistakenly taken to apply to all women's lives — a mistake that was generated by Friedan's failure to take women's racial and class differences into account hooks1—3. Spelman further holds that since social conditioning creates femininity and societies and sub-groups that condition it differ from one another, femininity must be differently conditioned in different societies. This line of thought has been extremely influential in feminist philosophy. For instance, Young holds that Spelman has definitively shown that gender realism is untenable Mikkola argues that this isn't so.

The arguments Spelman makes do not undermine the idea that there is some characteristic feature, experience, common condition or criterion that defines women's gender; they simply point out that some particular ways of cashing out what defines womanhood are misguided. So, although Spelman is right to reject those accounts that falsely take the feature that conditions white middle-class Western feminists' gender to condition women's gender in general, this leaves open the possibility that women qua women do share something that defines their gender. See also Haslanger [a] for a discussion of why gender realism is not necessarily untenable, and Stoljar [] for a discussion of Mikkola's critique of Spelman.

Butler's normativity argument is not straightforwardly directed at the metaphysical perspective of gender realism, but rather at its political counterpart: This is a form of political mobilization based on membership in some group e. Feminist identity politics, then, presupposes gender realism in that feminist politics is said to be mobilized around women as a group or category where membership in this group is fixed by some condition, experience or feature that women supposedly share and that defines their gender. Butler's normativity argument makes two claims. The first is akin to Spelman's particularity argument: In their attempt to undercut biologically deterministic ways of defining what it means to be a woman, feminists inadvertedly created new socially constructed accounts of supposedly shared femininity.

Butler's second claim is that such false gender realist accounts are normative. Some explanation for this comes from Butler's view that all processes of drawing categorical distinctions involve evaluative and normative commitments; these in turn involve the exercise of power and reflect the conditions of those who are socially powerful Witt In order to better understand Butler's critique, consider her account of gender performativity. For her, standard feminist accounts take gendered individuals to have some essential properties qua gendered individuals or a gender core by virtue of which one is either a man or a woman. This view assumes that women and men, qua women and men, are bearers of various essential and accidental attributes where the former secure gendered persons' persistence through time as so gendered.

But according to Butler this view is false: First, feminists are said to think that genders are socially constructed in that they have the following essential attributes Butler These are the attributes necessary for gendered individuals and those that enable women and men to persist through time as women and men. Think back to what was said above: These gender cores, supposedly encoding the above traits, however, are nothing more than illusions created by ideals and practices that seek to render gender uniform through heterosexism, the view that heterosexuality is natural and homosexuality is deviant Butler Gender cores are constructed as if they somehow naturally belong to women and men thereby creating gender dimorphism or the belief that one must be either a masculine male or a feminine female.

But gender dimorphism only serves a heterosexist social order by implying that since women and men are sharply opposed, it is natural to sexually desire the opposite sex or gender. Further, being feminine and desiring men for instance are standardly assumed to be expressions of one's gender as a woman. Butler denies this and holds that gender is really performative. Gender is not something one is, it is something one does; it is a sequence of acts, a doing rather than a being. Gender only comes into being through these gendering acts: This activity amongst others makes her gendered a woman.

Our gendered classification scheme is a strong pragmatic construction: But, genders are true and real only to the extent that they are performed Butler—9. And ultimately the aim should be to abolish norms that compel people to act in these gendering ways. For Butler, given that gender is performative, the appropriate response to feminist identity politics involves two things. Rather, feminists should focus on providing an account of how power functions and shapes our understandings of womanhood not only in the society at large but also within the feminist movement.

Many people, including many feminists, have ordinarily taken sex ascriptions to be solely a matter of biology with no social or cultural dimension. It is commonplace to think that there are only two sexes and that biological sex classifications are utterly unproblematic. By contrast, some feminists have argued that sex classifications are not unproblematic and that they are not solely a matter of biology. In order to make sense of this, it is helpful to distinguish object- and idea-construction see Haslanger b for more: First, take the object-construction of sexed bodies. Secondary sex characteristics, or the physiological and biological features commonly associated with males and females, are affected by social practices.

In some societies, females' lower social status has meant that they have been fed less and so, the lack of nutrition has had the effect of making them smaller in size Jaggar Uniformity in muscular shape, size and strength within sex categories is not caused entirely by biological factors, but depends heavily on exercise opportunities: A number of medical phenomena involving bones like osteoporosis have social causes directly related to expectations about gender, women's diet and their exercise opportunities Fausto-Sterling These examples suggest that physiological features thought to be sex-specific traits not affected by social and cultural factors are, after all, to some extent products of social conditioning.

Social conditioning, then, shapes our biology. Second, take the idea-construction of sex concepts. Our concept of sex is said to be a product of social forces in the sense that what counts as sex is shaped by social meanings. This understanding is fairly recent. Females' genitals were thought to be the same as males' but simply directed inside the body; ovaries and testes for instance were referred to by the same term and whether the term referred to the former or the latter was made clear by the context Laqueur4. For an alternative view, see King She estimates that 1. In her earlier work, she claimed that intersexed individuals make up at least three further sex classes: In her [a], Fausto-Sterling notes that these labels were put forward tongue—in—cheek.

Recognition of intersexes suggests that feminists and society at large are wrong to think that humans are either female or male. However, she was discovered to have XY chromosomes and was barred from competing in women's sports Fausto-Sterling b, 1—3. Deciding what sex is involves evaluative judgements that are influenced by social factors. Insofar as our cultural conceptions affect our understandings of sex, feminists must be much more careful about sex classifications and rethink what sex amounts to Stonechapter 1. More specifically, intersexed people illustrate that sex traits associated with females and males need not always go together and that individuals can have some mixture of these traits.

This suggest to Stone that sex is a cluster concept: But, one need not satisfy all of those features or some arbitrarily chosen supposedly necessary sex feature, like chromosomes Stone This makes sex a matter of degree and sex classifications should take place on a spectrum: Further, intersexes along with trans people are located at the centre of the sex spectrum and in many cases their sex will be indeterminate Stone More recently, Ayala and Vasilyeva have argued for an inclusive and extended conception of sex: This view aims to motivate the idea that what counts as sex should not be determined by looking inwards at genitalia or other anatomical features.

In addition to arguing against identity politics and for gender performativity, Butler holds that distinguishing biological sex from social gender is unintelligible. For her, both are socially constructed: Explores different uses of queer theory in legal debates, literary analysis, and cultural criticism. Superwomen, Vampires, and Cyborgs: Bodily Transformations and Social Change. Examines popular figures that cross gender, sexual, racial, and human boundaries, challenging our ideas about these social categories. Are these figures metaphors for feminism, gay rights, racial equality? Readings in sociology and psychology, science fiction, and other pop genres, including movies and television.

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