Chapter 8 SOCI.docx - Mars and Venus Feminism is an...

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Mars and Venus Feminism is an intellectual, consciousness-raising movement based on the idea that women and men should be accorded equal opportunities and respect. The movement's chief goal could be described as getting people to understand that gender is an organizing principle of life. Gender structures social relations on unequal ground, thus power is fundamentally at play when we talk about gender differences. Sex is the natural or biological differences that distinguish males from females; sexuality refers to desire, sexual preference, sexual identity, and behavior; gender is a social construct that consists of a set of social arrangements that are built around sex. Sex: A Process in the Making The study of gender involves looking very closely at the relationship between nature and nurture and not assuming that one overshadows the other or that there is a clear line separating the two. It is common to think that there are only two sexes—male and female—and that all people fall into one group or the other, and indeed this is a way of imposing order in a chaotic world. But there is evidence to suggest that we need to embrace a more expansive definition of sex , one that goes beyond two rigid and distinct categories. The Ancient Greeks thought that there was one body, the male body , and that the female body was its inversion . This notion endured until the mid-eighteenth century. Essentialism and biological determinism assign gender and explain gender differences purely in terms of natural or biological attributes. Gender: What Does It Take To Be a Woman (or a Man)? We can expand our understanding of gender differences by examining other cultures to see how they construct gender and by looking back in history to see how ideas about gender have changed. Some theorists claim that here is a hegemonic masculinity in society today—an ideal notion of a man that is so dominant, people aren't even really aware of it. However, the notion of the ideal man has changed over time, once again proving that gender is not a rigid, unchanging category.
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