sociological perspective on gender

It is difficult for women to rise above men, as dominant group members create the rules for success and opportunity in society (Farrington and Chertok 1993). The same rights, the same duties. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The functionalist perspective of gender roles suggests that gender roles exist to maximize social efficiency. Interactionists believe that these meanings are derived through social interaction, and that these meanings are managed and transformed through an interpretive process that people use to make sense of, and handle, the objects that constitute their social worlds. According to conflict theorists, sexism is a weapon used by men to create and sustain stratification. This was due to women’s dependence on men for the attainment of wages. West & Zimmerman emphasized that gender is maintained through accountability. Men, like any other group with a power or wealth advantage in Conflict Theory, fought to maintain their control over resources (in this case, political and economic power). While certain gender roles may have been appropriate in a hunter-gatherer society, conflict theorists argue that the only reason these roles persist is because the dominant group naturally works to maintain their power and status. In light of this theory, the oppression and marginalization of women is thus shaped not only by gender, but by other factors such as race and class. According to conflict theory, society is defined by a struggle for dominance among social groups that compete for scarce resources. The word gay, for example, once meant “cheerful,” but by the 1960s it carried the primary meaning of “homosexual.” In transition, it was even known to mean “careless” or “bright and showing” (Oxford American Dictionary 2010). Intersectionality suggests that various biological, social and cultural categories, including gender, race, class and ethnicity, interact and contribute towards systematic social inequality. Sanday’s study of the Indonesian Minangkabau (2004) revealed that in societies some consider to be matriarchies (where women comprise the dominant group), women and men tend to work cooperatively rather than competitively regardless of whether a job is considered feminine by U.S. standards. While generally providing a critique of social relations, much of feminist theory also focuses on analyzing gender inequality and the promotion of women’s interests. For example, a sociologist studying why middle-school girls are more likely than their male counterparts to fall behind grade-level expectations in math and science might use a feminist perspective to frame her research. Earlier we discussed the gender gap in earnings, with women earning 79.4% of what men earn, but women of color face both a gender gap and a racial/ethnic gap. A common analogy, popularized by Herbert Spencer, presents these parts of society as “organs” that work toward the proper functioning of the “body” as a whole. Learning plays a role in this process of shaping gender roles. According to conflict theory, society is a struggle for dominance among social groups (like women versus men) that compete for scarce resources. This type of approach would appeal to the sensitive and relational characteristics typically associated with femininity. In other words, both gender and sexuality are socially constructed. It was– and continues to be– important to recognize that white women faced a different form of discrimination than working class women of color, who not only had to deal with sexism, but also fought against racism and class oppression. New York: Harper & Row. These roles were considered functional because women were often limited by the physical restraints of pregnancy and nursing and unable to leave the home for long periods of time. A structural functionalist view of gender inequality applies the division of labor to view predefined gender roles as complementary: women take care of the home while men provide for the family. Whether we are expressing our masculinity or femininity, West and Zimmerman argue, we are always “doing gender.” Thus, gender is something we do or perform, not something we are. If men exclude women from the competiti… For example, a sociologist studying why middle-school girls are more likely than their male counterparts to fall behind grade-level expectations in math and science might use a feminist perspective to frame her research. Many women had to assume the role of breadwinner (or modern hunter-gatherer) alongside their domestic role in order to stabilize a rapidly changing society. Scholars of interactionism study how individuals act within society and believe that meaning is produced through interactions. Gender inequality is very real and it affects our society in many ways, but here’s the thing, it’s not exclusive to women, it affects men too and no doubt transgender people. In 1971, Broverman and Broverman conducted a groundbreaking study on the traits mental health workers ascribed to males and females. A Sociological Perspective on Gender and Career Outcomes Barbara F. Reskin and Denise D. Bielby B oth economists and sociologists have documented the association between gender and career outcomes. Women are socialized into expressive roles. In sociological research, functional prerequisites are the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, and money) that an individual requires to live above the poverty line. Erving Goffman, one of the forefathers of this theoretical perspective, emphasized the importance of control in social interactions. While she has long hair and is wearing makeup, typically feminine markers, her clothes are much more masculine in nature. Sociological research points to the ubiquity of gender’s influence in both private and public spheres, and it identifies differences—and similarities—in how genders are treated socially and factors that change this treatment. Symbolic interactionism aims to understand human behavior by analyzing the critical role of symbols in human interaction. OpenStax College, Introduction to Sociology. Feminism focuses on the theory of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the assertion of male supremacy. Therefore, cultural and individual aspects ought to be put into consideration when exploring the complexity of masculinity as perceived by women. When changes occurred in the social and economic climate of the United States during World War II, changes in the family structure also occurred. Feminist theory is a type of conflict theory that examines inequalities in gender-related issues. Confounding Expectation: The woman in this picture blurs the boundaries between the symbols that are traditionally considered masculine or feminine. The first and second waves of the feminist movement were primarily driven by white women, who did not adequately represent the feminist movement as a whole. Theoretical Perspectives on Gender Sociological theories help to explain complex human behaviors, social phenomena, and social structures. ... Society’s inequities along social class, race and ethnicity, and gender lines are reproduced in our health and health care. This is certainly relevant to the discussion of masculinity and femininity, because the characteristics and practices of both are socially constructed, reproduced, and reinforced through daily interactions. According to the symbolic interactionist perspective, we “do gender”: http://cnx.org/contents/02040312-72c8-441e-a685-20e9333f3e1d/Introduction_to_Sociology_2e, only when they apply to our biological sex, only if we are actively following gender roles. Patriarchal perspectives and arrangements are widespread and taken for granted. Symbolic interactionism aims to understand human behavior by analyzing the critical role of symbols in human interaction. Gender stratification occurs when gender differences give men greater privilege and power over women, transgender and gender-non-conforming people. Conflict theory asserts that social problems occur when dominant groups mistreat subordinate ones, and thus advocates for a balance of power between genders. The division of labor works to maximize resources and efficiency. “: This 1919 German social democratic election poster advocates for the rights of women. Later, when asked to describe the characteristics of a healthy person (not gender specific), the list was nearly identical to that of a male. The social construction of sexuality refers to the way in which socially created definitions about the cultural appropriateness of sex-linked behavior shape the way people see and experience sexuality. If you meet with a female loan officer, on the other hand, you might make an emotional appeal, by stating your positive social intentions. Sociological theories help sociologists to develop questions and interpret data. Therefore, various forms of oppression, such as racism or sexism, do not act independently of one another; instead these forms of oppression are interrelated, forming a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination. Offers a sociological perspective of gender that can be applied to our lives. Until relatively recently, women in Western cultures could not vote or hold property, making them entirely dependent on men. T.M. Again, the characteristics associated with a healthy male were very similar to that of a healthy (genderless) adult. Viewing the family as the most integral component of society, assumptions about gender roles within marriage assume a prominent place in this perspective. The men, however, do not experience the sense of bifurcated consciousness under this social structure that modern U.S. females encounter (Sanday 2004). Therefore, men and women are treated differently within a society. Rosenblum, Karen Elaine, and Toni-Michelle Travis. Simply put, it is a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. According to interactionists, gender stratification exists because people act toward each other on the basis of the meanings they have for each other, and that these meanings are derived from social interaction. Once established, these roles were passed on to subsequent generations since they served as an effective means of keeping the family system functioning properly. Explain gender stratification from the feminist perspective. Focusing on the most recent research and theory–both in the U.S. and … The argument is supported by two theories which are, sexism and discrimination. In patriarchal societies, men’s contributions are seen as more valuable than those of women. Engels suggested that the same owner-worker relationship seen in the labor force is also seen in the household, with women assuming the role of the proletariat. This notion is based on the work of West and Zimmerman (1987). When asked to name the characteristics of a female, the list featured words such as unaggressive, gentle, emotional, tactful, less logical, not ambitious, dependent, passive, and neat. The feminist perspective of gender stratification more recently takes into account intersectionality, a feminist sociological theory first highlighted by feminist-sociologist Kimberlé Crenshaw. Another scholar might proceed from the conflict perspective to investigate why women are underrepresented in political office, and an interactionist might examine how the symbols of femininity interact with symbols of political authority to affect how women in Congress are treated by their male counterparts in meetings. The functionalist perspective of gender roles suggests that gender roles exist to maximize social efficiency. The goal of social interaction is to communicate with others. The feminist perspective of gender stratification more recently takes into account intersectionality, a feminist sociological theory first highlighted by feminist-sociologist Kimberlé Crenshaw. Horney observes that when addressing gender inequality, the basic psychoanalytic paradigm can be used. Gender, like all social identities, is socially constructed. But, this is about the way that society has conveniently pushed men to the side and forgotten that sometimes we’re also victims and not just the perpetrator. Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. This approach looks at society through a macro-level orientation and broadly focuses on the social structures that shape society as a whole. This was due to women’s dependence on men for the attainment of wages. Describe gender inequality from the view of the functionalist perspective. The theory was first highlighted by Kimberlé Krenshaw. Men are more likely than women to partic-ipate in the labor force, and men average more hours of paid labor per week and more weeks per year. When sociologists examine gender from this perspective, we can view men as the dominant group and women as the subordinate group. The functionalist perspective sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. Mary Ann Weathers drew attention to the ways in which white women face a different form of discrimination than working class women of color, who additionally must fight racism and class oppression. Perhaps these diagnoses are not just a reflection of women’s health, but also a reflection of society’s labeling of female characteristics, or the result of institutionalized sexism. This interpretation of feminine characteristic may help us one day better understand gender disparities in certain illnesses, such as why one in eight women can be expected to develop clinical depression in her lifetime (National Institute of Mental Health 1999). Because the meanings attached to symbols are socially created and not natural, and fluid, not static, we act and react to symbols based on the current assigned meaning. Conflict theory suggests that men, as the dominant gender, subordinate women in order to maintain power and privilege in society. This theory shows that gender it is not a fixed or innate fact, but instead it varies across time and place. Friedrich Engels, a German sociologist, studied family structure and gender roles from a Marxist perspective. Thus, when people perform tasks or possess characteristics based on the gender role assigned to them, they are said to be doing gender (rather than “being” gender), a notion first coined by West and Zimmerman (1987). Conflict between the two groups caused things like the Women’s Suffrage Movement and was responsible for social change. One conversational partner can conform to the expectations of the other, he or she can ignore certain incidents, or he or she can solve apparent problems. Social interaction is a face-to-face process that consists of actions, reactions, and mutual adaptation between two or more individuals. This concept seems extremely dated, but in 2006, Seem and Clark replicated the study and found similar results. In response to this phenomena, the sociologist Charles H. Cooley’s developed the theory of the “looking-glass self” (1902). Friedrich Engels, a German sociologist, studied family structure and gender roles from a Marxist perspective. Functional prerequisites may also refer to the factors that allow a society to maintain social order. Intersectionality suggests that various forms of oppression– such as racism, classism, and sexism — are interrelated to form a system of oppression in which various forms of discrimination intersect. Contemporary conflict theorists suggest that when women become wage earners, they gain power in the family structure and create more democratic arrangements in the home, although they may still carry the majority of the domestic burden. Consider the Women’s Suffrage Movement or the debate over women’s “right to choose” their reproductive futures. When people perform tasks or possess characteristics based on the gender role assigned to them, they are said to be doing gender. Conflict theory posits that stratification is dysfunctional and harmful in society, with inequality perpetuated because it benefits the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor. Topics: Gender, Transgender, Gender role Pages: 4 (1592 words) Published: March 31, 2011. According to Goffman, during an interaction, individuals will attempt to control the behavior of the other participants, in order to attain needed information, and in order to control the perception of one’s own image. Offers a sociological perspective of gender that can be applied to our lives. Describe gender from the view of the interactionalist perspective. Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements, namely: norms, customs, traditions, and institutions. Radical feminism, in particular, evaluates the role of the patriarchy in perpetuating male dominance. New York: Harper & Row. Both masculinity and feminity are performed gender identities, in the sense that gender is something we do or perform, not something we are . The functionalist perspective of gender inequality was most robustly articulated in the 1940s and 1950s, and largely developed by Talcott Parsons’ model of the nuclear family. Feminist theory uses the conflict approach to examine the reinforcement of gender roles and inequalities, highlighting the role of patriarchy in maintaining the oppression of women. They determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, and interact within the context of society. Social constructionism is one of the key theories sociologists use to put gender into historical and cultural focus. Gender is a core part of personality that rests on the child’s awareness of its anatomy and its identification with the same-sex parent. Imagine, for example, that you walk into a bank, hoping to get a small loan for school, a home, or a small business venture. This is due to women’s dependence on men for the attainment of wages, which is even worse for women who are entirely dependent upon their spouses for economic support. Feminist theory analyzes gender stratification through the intersection of gender, race, and class. Members of society are socially stratified on many levels, including socio-economic status, race, class, ethnicity, religion, ability status, and gender. If the interaction is in danger of ending before an individual wants it to, it can be conserved through several steps. https://open.lib.umn.edu/sociology/chapter/11-1-understanding-sex-and-gender In this theory, Cooley argued that an individual’s perception of himself or herself is based primarily how society views him or her. The Social Construction of Gender That gender is a social construct becomes especially apparent when one compares how men and women behave across different cultures, and how in some cultures and societies, other genders exist too. Summarize understandings of the family as presented by functional, conflict, and social interactionist theories. Imagine that you walk into a bank hoping to get a small loan for school, a home, or a small business venture. To understand the nature of society, assumptions about gender inequality Ashlee Garcia Structural-Functionalist perspective symbolic perspective... The road, a German sociologist, studied family structure and gender roles and inequalities edition ) incorporates of. Perceive himself to be put into consideration when exploring the complexity of masculinity and femininity, 2011 to. Of natural and static gender as learned behavior and a culturally produced identity, and interests in most,! 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