SOC 211 Paper - 1 Kathleen Cherrie Prof. Apodaca April 24,...

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1 Kathleen Cherrie Prof. Apodaca April 24, 2008 SOC 211 Research Paper Crossing Lines In today’s society, people are taught to act a certain way and follow the rules or “social norms” that society has set out and whenever there is a disturbance in this balance, social problems arise. A social problem is an issue in society that induces material or psychic suffering for certain segments of the population (Eitzen and Zinn 2006). Within many of these issues rests a power struggle of some sort, and the ever increasing gap between the two sides only continues to widen as the problem itself remains unsolved. Another factor contributing to social problems is social deviance, which is defined as behavior that does not conform to social expectations (Becker 1963:8-9). This is a concept that is socially created, a relative concept, found universally in society, serves society by reaffirming the rules, and allows the powerful to determine who or what is deviant (Eitzen and Zinn 2006).
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2 Because society has established a predetermined set of rules one must follow, those who are considered to be social deviants end up being ridiculed, harmed, and deprived. A major problem seen today is the inequality in gender and the discrimination against homosexuals. In contemporary U.S. society, people are expected to act in a heterosexual manner and this is called compulsory heterosexuality. It describes the beliefs and practices that enforce heterosexual behavior as normal while stigmatizing other forms of sexual expression (Eitzen and Zinn 2006). Homosexuals are a minority, so they are naturally powerless and subject to negative stereotypes and discrimination because they do not match with the rest of society and are therefore seen as deviants. Since homosexuals violate the social norms of society, they are not only separated but they are also seen as sick, sinful, and criminal. Due to this point of view, homosexuals are greatly deprived of many opportunities in the work force and even further discriminated against when it comes to rights such as marriage. While not all gender discrimination involves homosexuals, it is an important component because much of homosexuality revolves around gender issues. Before going any further, it is important to understand what gender is and how it is
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3 associated with power. First off, gender and sex are by no means the same. Sex is a biological term that distinguishes men from women in several different manners such as height, weight, muscle mass and sexual characteristics. Gender, on the other hand, is a performance based on masculine and feminine associations and is how one chooses to present themselves in society through a stylized repetition of acts that construct a person’s identity (Butler 1990). Clearly feminine and masculine traits are not defined by genetics but rather modeled from one culture to another, within any one culture over time, as well as between and among different groups of women and men, depending on class, race, ethnicity and sexuality (Eitzen
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This note was uploaded on 05/06/2008 for the course SOC 211 taught by Professor Apadaca during the Spring '08 term at Chapman University .

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SOC 211 Paper - 1 Kathleen Cherrie Prof. Apodaca April 24,...

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