Sex and Gender:

  • Sex: biological differences between males and females
  • Gender: the roles that people perform and the values and attitudes that people have regarding men and women
  • Gender constructs: colours, gifts, jobs

o Ex: pink for girls, blue for boys

The Cultural Construction of Gender Identity:

  • Cultural Constructs: models of behaviour and attitudes that a particular culture transmits to its members

o Body posture

o Clothing and bodily adornment

o Cross-dressing o Status and social value

o Speech styles


  • A concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which culturally constructed categories such as gender, race, class, ability, and other axes of identity intersect on various levels
  • While they do intersect, the result is institutionalized inequality

Gender and Sexuality:

  • Sexual feelings and practices shaped by culture
  • Beliefs about what is appropriate for different genders
  • Relationship between sex and marriage

Gender and Homosexuality:

  • Attitudes about homosexuality reflect cultural learning
  • Third gender categories:

o Neither men nor women - genderqueer

o Hijras - in between gender in India

o Two-spirits


  • Heterosexual
  • Homosexual
  • Bisexual
  • Asexual - no interest in other people sexually
  • Pansexual - attraction to people heterosexual and transgender (video)
  • Polysexual - attracked to many different types of orientations
  • Transsexual (does this belong on this list?)

o Might not be sexually related

Gender Roles and Relations:

  • Gender roles:

o Constellations of rights, duties, attitudes, and behaviours

o Culturally associated with each gender

  • Gender relations:

o Norms of interaction between men and women

o May reflect differences in relative status, prestige, and power

Division of Labour by Gender:

  • Men's and women's work often complementary
  • Some patterns common cross-culturally; other tasks variable

o Example of cross-cultural pattern: women cook

  • Gender roles change as economic and material factors change

o WWII - men to war, women take over their jobs in factories

  • Gendered division of labour also supported by cultural beliefs

Gender and Status:

Continuum of gender relations

  • Gender equality <-^Gender inequality -> male dominance
  • Status of women varies greatly across cultures
  • In general, women's status is higher where their labour contributes major share of food

o Foraging societies - egalitarian (equal) - pull their weight=more status

Gender and Subsistence:

  • Modes of subsistence relate to gender roles, gender status, and gender relations
  • Foragers and Gender:

o Economic roles defined by gender, but some what flexible in many societies o Status of women related to source of annual caloric intake

  • More women contribute, the higher their status
  • Gender in Pastoral and Horticultural Societies:

o Status influenced by the control over distribution of produce and goods

o Somewhat related to descent and residence patterns

o Mostly male dominated

  • Gender in Agricultural States:

o Complex societies with social stratification

o Often characterized by male dominance, but degree varies widely

o Role/status of women is dependant on economic, political, and historical factors

  • Industrialism and Gender:

o Women marginalized

o Segregation in employment

o Gender gap - unequal pay

o Cult of domesticity

  • Women knowing how to do all of the things around the house (cooking, cleaning, raising kids) - keep going with it because their good at it
  • Post-Industrial Era:

o Expansion of service sector

  • Men and women
o Social reproduction work undervalued
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