Gender and Intersectionality: Doing Gender
Terms in this set (12)
a determination made through the application of socially agreed upon biological criteria for classifying persons as females or males
the activity of managing situated conduct in light of normative conceptions of attitudes and activities appropriate for ones sex category, gender has no specific site, it is NOT a set of traits, nor a role, but the product of social doings of some sort.
society expects this to be clearly displayed. Any confusion or ambiguity can seriously disrupt social interaction because so much of our interaction (in our culture) is predicated on sex category. Placement in a sex category is achieved by applying that sex criteria to one's everyday life.
How is this process of doing gender subject to a great deal of ambiguity in the course of everyday life?
Gender as attitudes and practices that are generally influenced by ideas or depictions of masculinity or femininity (gender "decorum"), though every individual interprets and acts upon these ideas differently. That is, people "do gender" differently. Hence "doing gender" is open to a great deal of interpretation and negotiation, and therefore variation. Gender is something that one does, repetitively in interactions with others. Doing gender consists of acting to situations so that the outcome is gender-appropreiate, or perhaps gender-inappropriate
Power of gender
"Doing gender means creating differences between girl and boys and women and men." These differences are socially constructed and reconstructed through everyday interactions, but most people come to see them as "essential," natural, innate biological differences. Such widespread assumptions of the essentialness of gender (naturalizing gender) makes gender more real and constraining, and gives it power over us. If gender is believed to be biological, then it must be inevitable and irresistible.
Gender as situational
Society consists of a multitude of routine situations ("standardized social occasions") that call for gendered behavior, or at the very least provide opportunities for the production of gendered differences; where individuals that identify as males can act like men and individuals that identify as females can act like women (masculine or feminine behavior). There are infinite possibilities to play the gender card, and bring gender into situations to reinforce sex categories. Such gendered constructions require tireless "work," but people don't perceive it as labor, or as "doing"; they perceive it as just "being" natural.
As these attitudes and behaviors contribute to the unequal distribution of wealth, status, and power. If actors come to believe that gender differences are natural they will also come to believe that gender inequalities are natural and therefore legitimate. Hence, women act in ways that contribute to their own subjugation; when they don't, this causes confusion and conflict. Such inconsistencies need to be managed in some way, or some compromise must be reached. When people don't act in ways that are considered appropriate for their sex category, then they are usually discredited; if lots of people act in ways (i.e., social activism) that deviate from the normative sex category, then the criteria for the sex category might be revised. Therefore, women can now "do" medicine without their womanhood or motherhood being discredited
How does society promote sex categories?
Sex differences are constructed and dramatized through gender, which are embedded in social institutions. Society provides individuals resources and rewards to act in ways that support the idea that sex categories are "natural" and "essential" - such as the division of public bathroom facilities between men and women.
How do individuals (men) interact with society in the construction of these ideas and practices?
Society allocates greater resources to men in their performance of masculinity, which gives them access to greater wealth, status and power. Men have the power to insert sex categories into situations where masculinity and femininity are irrelevant to performance, such as referring to a doctor as a "woman" doctor. They can discredit women who they perceive to be violating accepted feminine and masculine attitudes and practices.
How does Agnes' case support the "doing gender" perspective?
Women can be seen as unfeminine, but that does not make them unfemale. Being a woman goes beyond a style of dress (an identifying display) or allowing men to light her cigarette (a gender display). Agnes learned that it is offensive to sunbath on the lawn because that would display yourself to other men and she should not insist on having things her way. Doing gender is situational always.
"Sex categorization and the accomplishment of gender are not the same." Explain.
Agnes' life: she had surgery to become a female and she could act like one, but she could give herself away by overdoing her performance as a woman.
How does the authors' "doing gender" approach differ from previous sociological perspectives of gender. Why do the authors reject the idea of gender "roles?"
Roles are situated identities assumed and relinquished as the situation demands, rather than mastered identities, (such as sex category). Unlike roles such as: nurse, doctor, patient, professor, student gender has no specific role in any of those occupation; it has no organizational context.