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Transcript of WAGS148
Sex vs. Gender:
What's the Difference?
Intro to Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
This course is an introduction to the field of women's, gender & sexuality studies (WGSS).
WGSS focuses on gender arrangements (the ways society creates, patterns, and rewards our understandings of femininity and masculinity) and examines the multiple ways these arrangements affect everyday life.
WGSS is concerned with gender as it intersects with multiple categories such as race, ethnicity, social class, age, and sexuality.
WGSS explores how we perform femininity and masculinity and how this interacts with our other identities -- and the ways women and other feminized bodies experience discrimination and oppression -- and how patriarchy functions to structure power and authority.
WGSS understands the concept of privilege and the importance of understanding our own privileges if we want to work toward equality and social justice.
WGSS involves the study of gender as a central aspect of human existence.
WGSS seeks understanding of these issues and realities with the goal of social justice.
[+ religion, family membership, age, intellect, sense of humor, physical attractiveness…]
Sex is biologically determined
Gender is culturally constructed
Sex and gender clearly shape our experiences, but what else comes into play?
The concept of
has its roots in a field of black women’s studies that challenged white feminist scholars in ways that transformed the discipline.
challenges us to understand the ways all people’s experiences of gender are created by the intersection or coming together of multiple identities like race, ethnicity, social class, and so on.
Intersectionality demonstrates that categories of difference such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, class, or ability do not act independently of one another
instead, these categories of difference interrelate creating systems of privilege and oppression that reflect the "intersection" of multiple forms of power and discrimination.
How do we know how to "do gender?"
What are Some Common Signs of Gender Shaping Institutions?
have women come?
facts from: MANIFESTA: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future
by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards
The name of your Whirlpool gas stove is Mrs. America
Women make, on average, 52 cents to the dollar earned by males
The Miss America Pageant is the biggest source of scholarship money for women
Women vote at a lower rate then men and there are vast differences in rate of holding political office
What is Feminsim?
from I Was a Teenage Feminst
This is what a feminist looks like...
Media (advertising, news, TV/Film, fashion/hobby mags)
There are several trends that suggest that minorities will outnumber whites by 2043, as has been predicted. Children of color under age 5 are almost a majority, representing 49.9 percent of that age group. And, according to previous Census analyses, minorities younger than 18 are expected to overtake the number of white children by 2019.
Named "the most sexist commercial of 2013" by several media outlets...
High school graduation rates by race in MN
Another challenge inherent in WGSS is to understand that notions we have of “woman” and “man” as stable and fixed categories are in fact social constructions that are historically and culturally variable, and subject to change through social and political action.
And WGSS pushes us even farther to understand that gender performances are privileged and constrained by institutional structures that produce social and political consequences for all of us.
WGSS pushes us to see how women and men who conform to gender norms are at once privileged and constrained by those norms.
What's With "The Waves?"
WGSS has its origins in the women's movement of the 1960's and 70's, and is thought of as the academic arm of the feminist movement.
"First Wave" = mid-19th century movement that sought to overturn legal obstacles to women's participation in society (the right to vote was a primary goal)
"Second Wave" = 1960's through the 80's. Period of social activism that focused on formal and informal inequalities associated with the workplace, family, sexuality, and reproductive freedom
"Third Wave" = contemporary movement that is more inclusive, focused on the intersections of multiple identities and issues, engages a global perspective, and is a site for social justice
So, "How Far have Women Come?" is a very complex question!
The shooting and killing of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, puts a name and a face to racial profiling and violence.
What Is Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies?
Women’s, gender, and sexuality studies brings three fields of inquiry into conversation in order to engage critical analyses ranging from the personal to the global at the intersections of sex, gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, and ability.
: foregrounds the lived experience and material conditions of women
Gender Studies: highlights the social construction of masculinities and femininities
Sexuality Studies: focuses on sexual behaviors, expressions, identities, and politics
The goal of WGSS is not only to provide an academic framework for understanding the intersections of the three areas of study, but also to provide advocacy and work toward social change and social justice.
It's important to understand that this intro course focuses on feminist issues in the U.S. -- and that these are not necessarily the most important concerns of women in other parts of the world.
, the movement for the social, political, and economic equality of women across national boundaries, is a powerful arm of feminism.
As we are focusing on WGSS from a U.S. perspective, it's important that we recognize our own history of
, and the
power of U.S.-based corporations, consumerism, and popular culture around the globe
The Media is a Powerful
that tells us how to "do gender"
bell hooks: Intersectionality names imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy and posits dominater culture as interlocking systems that sustain domination and exploitation. hooks insists we must challenge ALL systems.
Old Dominion University, 2015
Winona State University, 2015
The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 granted all women in the U.S. the right to vote. However, Black women still faced a number of issues. There were organized attempts--some states actually passed state laws--to prevent Black women from voting such as purposeful long waits at voting places (up to 12 hours), head taxes or poll taxes, and tests before they were deemed able to vote. One test required that African-American women read and summarize the Constitution before they were allowed to vote.
This continued until the 1960s when the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
In 2014, the Supreme Court voted to invalidate portions of this act, based on the fact that our country has changed and they are no longer needed.
“Intersectionality,” is a term (coined by Black legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989) that captures how multiple forms of oppression, multiple –isms, can be experienced simultaneously, as in an intersection, when traffic can come at you from four different directions.
Men are affected too
“The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs.
Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure…
Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others, their society, and the broader world in which we live.”
-- Adams, Maurianne, et al., Eds. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. Routledge, 2007.