query_builder January 31, 2009

Journal Entries: Gender and Sexism

By the article, Sex and Gender through the Prism of Difference adopts a global, transnational perspective on how race, class, and sexual diversity are central to the study of sex and gender. In contrast with other article in this area–which tends to focus on U.S. or European viewpoints–this article features based on research done elsewhere throughout the world. In this paper it will be studied how interacting power relations organized through modern ideas of gender and ‘race’ interact and inform ideas of class, ‘nation’, and sexuality and how these shape human sex and gender in these two articles, i.e., Sex and Gender Through the Prism of Difference by Maxine Beca Zinn, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, and Michael Messner and the second article is Gender Performativity by Sarah E.Chinn.

The broad goals of this article include:

  1. Defining how these articles examine gender and sex socialization and social interaction, both theoretically and methodologically, and how these differ from other articles.
  2. Showing how the articles relate to concepts such as whether they support or contradict arguments.
  3. This paper is not to review these articles, but rather to demonstrate the engagement with the articles.
  4. Examining the different authors’ arguments in these articles.
  5. Understanding how gender, race, sexuality, and class intersect.

A key focus will be the institutionalization of social hierarchies of ‘difference’ through globalized processes of colonization, capitalism, and nation-state formation/reproduction. Emphasis will be placed on examining how ‘differences’, instead of being natural, arise out of these social relations and processes. This course has three main themes: the social organization of knowledge and experience; the complexity of simultaneous, interlocking systems of power that structure daily life and personal experience; and the significance of social resistance as a force for change. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students will be asked to translate their critical thinking skills to re-evaluate taken-for-granted assumptions.

By the first article, it is opened this wide-ranging collection with a provocative analytical introduction that sets the stage for understanding gender as a socially constructed experience (Zinn, Hondagneu-Sotello, & Messner 2000). The central themes of these articles is changes and continuities in gender roles within the U.S., the social processes that influence our lives and our gender identities, and the connections between gender, power, and inequality. As it is explored these themes, it has been studied how culture, the economy, and the family have been pivotal sites for the maintenance, reproduction, and change in gender roles in the U.S. It has been paid special attention to the ways in which race, class and sexual orientation intersect processes of gender relations and social change between these articles.

Some current events like gender and popular culture, Islam, and men and war are also materialized in the first article, on the other hand those issues are totally absent in the second article. It also addresses a number of compelling topics, including the effects of globalization on notions of masculinity, the difficulties faced by Muslim women living in post-9/11 America, and the perceptions of “blackness” worldwide. Unlike second article, by the first article guided through the complex realities of today’s gender relationships, Gender Through the Prism of Difference is ideal for undergraduate or graduate courses in the sociology of gender; women’s studies; gender roles; the sociology of women; women in society; race, class, and gender; feminist theory; and social inequality. “The most pressing question that comes out of gender performativity as a theory is: but what can you do with it? That is not to say that all theory has to have an immediate practical application, but gender performativity is so deeply entrenched in our sense of self, and the theories that have arisen to explain it are so rich and suggestive, that it’s not surprising that activists have searched for ways to use the theory to help us talk back to the regime of gender” (Sarah, 1997, p. 306). More than any other gender reader, Gender through the Prism of Difference gives a clear, current, understanding of gender in a broad social context.

  • Takes a sociological perspective on contemporary gender relations.
  • Emphasizes the theme of “difference” or how other inequalities such as race, class, or age affect our gendered experiences.
  • Presents a discussion of women’s and men’s issues.
  • Includes articles on international and transnational factors in addition to the articles on U.S. gender relations.
  • Integrates scholarship on the social construction of masculinities.
  • Retains a good mix of new and recent material with classic articles on gender.
  • Incorporates more personal narratives by young people.
  • Emphasizes gender as it is lived and experienced by the students reading the book with the inclusion of new articles relevant to the lives of undergraduates.
  • Includes a new section on “Popular Culture” (Part VII).

On the other hand, Gender Performativity gives a clear, current, understanding of gender in a broad social context on the following issues:

  • In the beginning: per formative language
  • Making subjects: Althusser and Foucault
  • Judith Butler and gender performativity
  • Performance, performativity, excess and shame

Lastly, Sarah (1997) argued that “[g]ender is work and, as Butler argues, gender performativity is always on the edge of failure. It takes courage to jump over that edge, and jump with your eyes open. It might be that the best way to do things with gender is to know what gender is doing with us, and then work it” (p. 307). Sometimes the sociological perspective as it relates to gender. That is, to understand how genderrelated behavior and definitions of gender are shaped by particular social processes. Gender roles’ and more about ‘gender performativity’ are pointed out in the second article. Finally, it is said that by these both article it is showed how gender and sex are related to race and class in the human lives.

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