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Unformatted text preview: is book will pr0vide a gateway to inter- iot claim more than that. will find them in two books where I first roaches to gender: Gender and Power: Politics (1987) and Which Way is Up? in: (1983). This book revises the earlier t work, especially: rodernist ideas about gender, bodies and the psychology of difference; 1 on men and masculinity; )n gender in organizations; ite about gender in relation to imperial- ‘ )ntemporary globalization. weighed down with long thank-you lists. rill be obvious in the text and references. In Fisher for research assistance, Christa- :, Patricia Selkirk for expert advice, Carol ucial questions, Robert Morrell and Ulla :rlds for me, Toni Schofield for demand- for demanding coherence — and to all , for providing vital encouragement and has provided support and inspiration he book is dedicated the memory of her I Benton. The epigraph is from Pam’s :ond Anniversary’. R. W. Connell University of Sydney The Question of Gender Recognizing gender In the year 2000 the American people, with the aid of a number of lawyers, elected a President. The fortunate candidate was a man, George W. Bush. His unfortunate opponent, Al Gore, was also a man. So was Mr Bush’s running-mate, who duly became Vice—President. So was Mr Gore’s running—mate, who did not. So were seven of the nine Supreme Court justices who made the key decision about which of them would win. Messages of congratulation flooded in from the leaders of other world powers: from the Prime Minister of Great Britain, a man; the Prime Minister of japan, a man; the Chancellor of Germany, a man; the Prime MiniSter of France, a man; the President of the Russian Federa— tion, a man; the President of the People’s Republic of China, a man. They are not exceptional. On the most recent count, 93 per cent of all cabinet ministers in the world’s governments are men. The year before, the American people were troubled by extraordinary violence in the country’s schools. The Columbine high school massacre was the peak in a pattern of killings where one or two pupils take guns to the school they attend and shoot fellow pupils and teachers. Some of the dead were girls, but none of the killers were. It seems that an estab— lished pattern of violence among men has now appeared among teenage boys as well. Multiple killings are not unique to the United States. In January 1996 there was a multiple murder in the state of Queensland in Australia. 2 THE QUESTION OF GENDER Three children had been found shot to death in a car parked outside a house in which four adults were found dead. A wife, fearing her violent husband, had left him and was living in hiding with her parents. Appar— ently the husband extracted her address from the children while they were on a custody visit, then murdered them, murdered her, murdered .2 her parents, and finally shot himself. This was one of twenty-eight multi— ple killings with guns in Australia from 1987 to 1996. All twenty-eight killers were men. Men are much more likely than women to own weapons — by a ratio of four to one, according to research on gun own» it ership in the USA. Women do most of the housework, and also most of the work of caring for young children. Women are much less likely to be present in the public realm than men, and when they are, usually have less in the way of resources. For instance, in almost all parts of the world men are more likely than women to have a paid job. The world ‘economic activity rate’ for women is just over two—thirds of the rate for men, according to 1997 figures. The main exceptions are former Soviet countries and parts of west Africa, where women’s eco— nomic participation rates are unusually high. But in Arab states women’s participation rates are as low as one-fifth the rate for men, and in south Asia and Latin America they are about half the rate for men. When women do get jobs, their average wages are lower than men’s. And partly for this reason, women’s average incomes are much lower than men’s, though women do at least as many hours of work as men, and often more. It is a notable fact — in the light of claims that we live in a ‘post-feminist’ world where equality has been achieved — that women’s average incomes, world-wide, are 56 per cent of men’s average incomes. Accordingly, most women in the world, especially women with children, are economically dependent on men. And in many parts of the world some men believe that women who are dependent on them must be their property — to discard if they wish, to kill if need be. Four decades after the Women’s Liberation movement criticized sexist stereotypes, Western media are still packed with images of female passivity. On my way to work I pass a newsagency which displays the posters for the week’s mass—circulation magazines. Almost every poster shows a young woman: usually blonde, always dangerously thin, heavily made up, pretty, and not doing anything. Girls are still taught by maSS culture that they need above all to be desirable, as if their main task were j lk cushions waiting for Prince Charming to come, checking ar signs will be com- ‘ ._‘_x_. Atagwa‘m. . i .5“ in most contemporary societies, to lie on si the horoscope from week to week to learn if their st patible when he arrives. I shot to death in a car parked outside a 'e found dead. A wife, fearing her violent living in hiding with her parents. Appar— er address from the children while they nurdered them, murdered her, murdered nself. This was one of twenty—eight multi- alia from 1987 to 1996. All twenty-eight nuch more likely than women to own ) one, according to research on gun own— .sework, in most contemporary societies, ring for young children. Women are much ‘ public realm than men, and when they y of resources. For instance, in almost all ~re likely than women to have a paid job. ‘ate’ for women is just over two—thirds of ) 1997 figures. The main exceptions are arts of west Africa, where women’s eco— nusually high. But in Arab states women’s [5 one-fifth the rate for men, and in south re about half the rate for men. heir average wages are lower than men’s. omen’s average incomes are much lower r at least as many hours of work as men, 3 fact — in the light of claims that we live here equality has been achieved — that 'ld-wide, are 56 per cent of men’s average )men in the world, especially women with endent on men. And in many parts of the women who are dependent on them must if they wish, to kill if need be. [omen’s Liberation movement criticized dia are still packed with images of female : I pass a newsagency which displays the rculation magazines. Almost every poster I blonde, always dangerously thin, heavily g anything. Girls are still taught by mass 1 to be desirable, as if their main task were ; for Prince Charming to come, checking eek to learn if their star signs will be com- .«...;.-_..._i.,,..,.,...».;-.n_.-vi_a<._.__...-.r... . . . A THE QUESTION OF GENDER 3 Boys are not generally taught to make themselves attractive. Rather they are taught the importance of appearing hard and dominant ~ whether they feel like it or not. At school and in the media boys are steered t0wards competitive sports, and are often put under heavy peer pressure to show their toughness. Not surprisingly, it is mainly young men who are recruited into jobs that require the use of force: police, the military, private security, and blue—collar crime. And it is mainly young women who are recruited into jobs that repair the consequences of violence: nursing, psychology, and social work. Here we have diverse facts — about politics, about violence, about economics, about mass culture, about childhood and youth. Recogniz- ing that they are all connected is the basis of modern thought about gender. These facts form a pattern, which we may call the gender arrangements or ‘gender order’ of contemporary society. Recognizing the gender order is easy; understanding it is not. Creative thinkers such as Simone de Beauvoir and Juliet Mitchell, and social move- ments such as Women’s Liberation, have pointed out the gender patterns and tried to change them. But their ideas have always been contested. A number of conflicting theories of gender n0w exist, and some i35ues about gender are still very difficult to resolve. At the same time, there is now a large volume of research on gender questions, some of it very good; and there is a growing fund of practical experience with gender reform. Understanding gender In everyday life we normally take gender for granted. We instantly recognize a person as a man or woman, girl or boy. We arrange much of our everyday business around the distinction. Conventional marriages require one of each. Mixed doubles tennis requires two of each, but most sports require one kind at a time. The most popular television broadcast in the world is said to be the American Super Bowl, in which a hundred million people watch a strikingly gendered event: large armoured men Crash into each other in pursuit of a leather ball, and thin women in short skirts dance and smile in the pauses. Most of us cannot crash or dance so well, but we do our best in other ways. As men or women we slip our feet into differently shaped shoes, button our shirts on opposite sides, get our heads clipped by different hairdressers, buy our pants in separate shops, and take them off in separate toilets. These arrangements are so common, so familiar, that they can seem part of the order of nature. Belief that gender distinction is ‘natural’ 4 THE QUESTION OF GENDER makes it scandalous when people don’t follow the pattern F for instance, when people of the same gender fall in love with each other. So homo- sexuality is declared ‘unnatural’ and bad. The same issue of the Aus- tralian newspaper that reported the multiple killing in 1996 also reported a new move by the government of the state of Tasmania. As part of its law-andvorder package in the run-up to a state election, the penalty for men having sex with other men in their own homes was to be raised from twenty-one to twenty—five years in jail. But if having sex with another man is unnatural, why have a law against it? We don’t provide penalties for violating the third law of therm- odynamics. The proposed Tasmanian law — like anti—gay ordinances in United States cities, like the criminalization of women’s adultery in Islamic Sharia law — only makes sense because the matter is not fixed by nature. These laws are part of an enormous social effort to channel people’s behaviour. Ideas about gender—appropriate behaviour are constantly being circulated, not only by legislators but also by priests, parents, teachers, advertisers, retail mall owners, talk—show hosts and disk jockeys. Events like the Super Bowl are not just consequences of our ideas about gender difference. They also help to create and disseminate gender difference, by displays of exemplary masculinities and femininities. Being a man or a woman, then, is not a fixed state. It is a becoming, a condition actively under construction. The pioneering French feminist Simone de Beauvoir put this in a classic phrase: ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. Though the positions of women and men are not simply parallel, the principle is also true for men: one is not born masculine, but acquires and enacts masculinity, and so becomes a man. As de Beauvoir further saw — following the pioneering psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud — this ‘becoming’ follows many different paths, involves many tensions and ambiguities, and may produce unstable results. Part of the mystery of gender is how a pattern that on the surface appears so stark and rigid, on close examination turns out so fluid, complex and uncertain. So we cannot think of womanhood or manhood as fixed by nature. But neither should we think of them as simply imposed from outside, by social norms or pressure from authorities. People construct themselves as masculine or feminine. We claim a place in the gender order — OI respond to the place we have been given - by the way we conduct our- selves in everyday life. Most people do this willingly, and often enjoy the gender polarity Wearing leather jacket and engineer boots, my body declares: I am ple don’t follow the pattern — for instance, ier fall in love with each other. So homo- al’ and bad. The same issue of the Aus- d the multiple killing in 1996 also reported at of the state of Tasmania. As part of its run-up to a state election, the penalty for ten in their own homes was to be raised 'e years in jail. )ther man is unnatural, why have a law nalties for violating the third law of therm- :manian law m like anti—gay ordinances in ninalization of women’s adultery in Islamic because the matter is not fixed by nature. iormous social effort to channel people’s appropriate behaviour are constantly being tors but also by priests, parents, teachers, , talk—show hosts and disk jockeys. Events st consequences of our ideas about gender :eate and disseminate gender difference, by nities and femininities. then, is not a fixed state. It is a becoming, istruction. The pioneering French feminist in a classic phrase: ‘One is not born, but tough the positions of women and men are iple is also true for men: one is not born nacts masculinity, and so becomes a man. — following the pioneering psychoanalyst ng’ follows many different paths, involves :s, and may produce unstable results. Part ow a pattern that on the surface appears amination turns out so fluid, complex and nanhood or manhood as fixed by nature. of them as simply imposed from outside, )m authorities. People construct themselves e claim a place in the gender order — or been given — by the way we conduct our- igly, and often enjoy the gender polarity. engineer boots, my body declares: I am THE QUESTION OF GENDER 5 pleased to be masculine; I cultivate toughness, hard edges, assertiveness. Wearing lace collar and ruffled skirt, my body declares: I am pleased to be feminine; I cultivate softness, smooth and rounded forms, receptive— ness. In Western culture, sexual pleasure is often organized around gender polarity. Most of us desire either men or women, but not both. What is gender—ambiguous is often an object of disgust or derision: ‘You can’t tell them apart nowadays . . .’ Yet gender ambiguities are not so rate. There are masculine women and feminine men. There are women in love with other women, and men in love with other men. There are people who enjoy both leather jackets and ruffled skirts. There are women who are heads of households, and men who bring up children. There are women who are soldiers and men who are nurses. Psychological research suggests that the great majority of us combine masculine and feminine characteristics, in varying blends, rather than being all one or all the other. Gender ambiguity can be an object of fas- cination and desire, as well as disgust. Gender impersouarions are fam— iliar in both popular and high culture, from the cross-dressed actors of Shakespeare’s stage to drag m0vies like Tootsie and Priscilla. There is certainly enOugh gender blending to provoke heated reminders from fundamentalist preachers, conservative politicians and football coaches — categories which increasingly overlap — that we ought to be what we naturally are, dichotomous. There are whole social move- ments dedicated to re—establishing ‘the traditional family’, ‘true feminin- ity’ or “real masculinity’. These movements are themselves clear evidence that the boundaries they defend are none too stable. But the effort to sustain the gender categories also sustains the relations between them — and therefore sustains the inequalities they produce, and the harm they do. The inequalities of income and politi- cal authority already mentioned are part of a larger pattern of inequal— ities between women and men. Most wealth is in the hands of men, most big institutions are run by men, most science and technology is con- trolled by men. In many countries, including big populations such as Bangladesh, India, Nigeria and Egypt, women are much less likely than men to have even been taught to read. On a world scale, two-thirds of illiterate people are women. In countries like the United States, Australia and Germany middle-class women have gained full access to higher educ- ation and have made inroads into middle management and professions. But as the US Congress’s Glass Ceiling Commission recently showed, even in those countries many informal barriers operate to keep the top )i' 6 THE OUESTfON OF GENDER levels of power and wealth still a world of men. Of the senior managers of major US corporations 95 to 97 per cent are men. There is also unequal respect. In many situations, including the cheerleaders at the football game, women are treated as marginal to the main action, or as just the objects of men’s desire. Whole genres of humour — bimbo jokes, woman-driver jokes, wife jokes, mother—in-law jokes, spinster jokes, dumb-whore jokes, rolling—pin jokes — are based on contempt for women’s triviality and stupidity. A whole industry, ranging from heavy pornography and prostitution to soft—core adver- tising, markets women‘s bodies as objects of consumption by men. Equal- opportunity reforms in the workplace often run into a refusal by men to be under the authority of a woman. The same happens in many religions, among them Catholic Christianity, mainstream Islam, and some sects of Buddhism. All of these prevent women from holding major religious office, and often treat women symbolically as a source of defilement for men. Though men in general benefit from the inequalities of the gender order, they do not benefit equally. Indeed, many pay a considerable price. Boys and men who depart from dominant definitions of masculinity because they are gay, effeminate, or simply wimpish, are often subject to verbal abuse and discrimination, and are sOmetimes the targets of violence. Men who conform to dominant definitions of masculinity may also pay a price. As research on men’s health shows, men have a higher rate of industrial accidents than women, have a higher rate of death by violence, more alcohol abuse, and (not surprisingly) more sporting injuries. Men of marginalized ethnic groups may be targeted for racist abuse and are likely to have the poorest working conditions, health status and life expectancy. Gender arrangements are thus, at the same time, sources of pleasure, recognition and identity, and sources of injustice and harm. This means that gender is inherently political — but it also means the politics can be complicated and difficult. Inequality and oppression in the gender order have repeatedly led to demands for reform. Movements for change include the nineteenth- century campaigns for married women’s property rights and votes for women, and twentieth-century campaigns for homosexual law reform, women’s trade unionism, equal employment opportunity, . women’s reproductive rights, and the prevention of rape and domestic 5 violence. . Political campaigns resisting some of these changes, or seeking ri counter-changes, have also arisen. The scene of gender politics currently l a world of men. Of the senior managers 0 97 per cent are men. )CCt. In many situations, including the ame, women are treated as marginal to objects of men’s desire. Whole genres of n-driver jokes, wife jokes, mother—in-law hore jokes, rolling—pin jokes — are based viality and stupidity. A whole industry, phy and prostitution to soft—core adver- as objects of consumption by men. Equal- rkplace often run into a refusal by men to nan. The same happens in many religions, inity, mainstream Islam, and some sects 'ent women from holding major religious symbolically as a source of defilement for nefit from the inequalities of the gender ly. Indeed, many pay a considerable price. 'om dominant definitions of masculinity rte, Or simply wimpish, are often subject ration, and are sometimes the targets of n dominant definitions of masculinity may n men’s health shows, men have a higher 11 women, have a higher rate of death by :, and (not surprisingly) more sporting ethnic groups may be targeted for racist poorest working conditions, health status ms, at the same time, sources of pleasure, ources of injustice and harm. This means cal — but it also means the politics can be in the gender order have repeatedly led merits f0r change include the nineteenth- .ed women’s property rights and votes entury campaigns for homosexual law )nism, equal employment opportunity, and the prevention of rape and domestic ng some of these changes, or seeking ;en. The scene of gender politics currently THE QUESTION OF GENDER 7 includes anti-gay campaigns, anti—abortion (‘pro-life’) campaigns, a spec- trum of men’s movements, and a complex international debate about links between Western feminism and Western cultural dominance in the world. In this history, the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation move- ments of the 1960549705 were pivotal. They did not reach all their political goals, but they had a profound cultural impact. They called attention to a whole realm of human reality that was poorly understood, and thus created a demand for understanding as well as action. This is the historical take—off point of contemporary gender research. Political pracrice launched a deep change — which increasingly seems like a revol- ution — in human knowledge. This book is an attempt to map this revolution. It will describe the terrain revealed by gender politics and gender research, introduce the debates about how to understand it and change it, and offer solutions to some of the problems these debates have run into. In chapter 2 I discuss four notable examples of recent gender research, to show how the broad issues just discussed take shape in specific investigations. Chapter 3 turns to the issue of ‘difference', the extent of sex differences, and the way bodies and society interact. This requires an account of gender as a social structure, which I present in chapter 4, exploring the different dimensions of gender and the process of hiStorical change. Chapters 5 and 6 discuss gender on the small scale, in personal life, and the rather different issues raised by gender on the large scale, in institu— tions and world society. Chapters 7 and 8 address gender theory and gender politics, mapping the growth of understanding, the conflicts of ideas, and what is at stake in movements for change. This raises ques- tions both about the micro-politics of personal life, and the large—scale politics of institutions and movements, ending with a discussion of gender politics in world society. Defining gender As a new awareness of issues developed, a new terminology was needed. Over the last thirty years the term ‘gender’ has become common in English—language discussions to describe the whole field (though it has never been universally accepted). The term was borrowed from grammar. Ultimately it comes from an ancient Indo—European word—root meaning ‘to produce’ (cf. ‘generate’), which gave rise to words in many languages meaning ‘kind’ or ‘class’ (e.g. ‘genus’). In grammar ‘gender’ 8 THE QUESTION OF GENDER came to refer to the specific distinction between classes of nouns ‘corresponding more or less’ — as the nineteenth-century Oxford English Dictionary primly noted — ‘to distinctions of sex (and absence of sex) in the objects denoted‘. Grammar suggests how widely such distinctions permeate human cultures. In many languages not only the words for people are gendered, but also the words for objects, concepts and states of mind. Language is an important aspect of gender, but does not provide a consistent framework for understanding it. Languages engender concepts in different ways. For instance ‘terror’ is feminine in French (‘13 terreur’), masculine in German (‘der Schrecken’), and neuter in English. Different languages make different distinctions. English is a relatively un—gendered language (among its few gender distinctions are the pronouns ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘it’). Yet English has both sex’ and ‘gender’ where German has one word, ‘Geschlechr’. Japanese does not have a closely analogous word at all — so a Japanese text on gender transliter- ates the English word. Many languages define a trichotomy of classes: masculine, feminine and neuter. Most contemporary discussions of gender in society, however, drop the third category and emphasize a dichotomy. Starting from a pre- sumed biological divide between male and female, they define gender as the social or psychological difference that corresponds to that divide, elaborates it, or is caused by it. In its most common usage, then, the term ‘gender’ means the culturai difference of women from men, based on the biological division betweer male and female. Dichotomy and difference are the substance of the idea Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. There are decisive objections to such a definition: 0 Human life does not simply divide into two realms, nor does humar character divide into two types. Our images of gender are ofter dichotomous, but the reality is not. Abundant evidence will be seer throughout this book. 0 A definition in terms of difference means that where we cannot sec difference, we cannot see gender. With such a definition we coult not recognize the gendered character of lesbian or homosexual desiri (based on gender similarity), nor the powerful gender dynamic 0 an all-male army. We would be thrown into confusion by researcl which fOund only small psychological differences between womel and men, which would seem to imply that gender had evaporated (See chapter 3.) ic distinction between classes of nouns as the nineteenth—century Oxford English distinctions of sex (and absence of sex) in ar suggesrs how widely such distinctions many languages not only the words for the words for objects, concepts and states aspect of gender, but does not provide understanding it. Languages engender or instance ‘terror’ is feminine in French Eerman (‘der Schrecken’), and neuter in make different distinctions. English is a ge (among its few gender distinctions are t’). Yet English has both ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ i, ‘Geschlecht’. Japanese does not have a — so a Japanese text on gender transliter— richotomy of classes: masculine, feminine ‘y discussions of gender in society, however, nphasize a dichotomy. Starting from a pre— aen male and female, they define gender as ifference that corresponds to that divide, it. then, the term ‘gender’ means the cultural n, based on the biological division between and difference are the substance of the idea. are from Venus. us to such a definition: ly divide into two realms, nor does human ) types. Our images of gender are often ity is not. Abundant evidence will be seen ,ifference means that where we cannot see gender. With such a definition we could i character of lesbian or homosexual desire ity), nor the powerful gender dynamic of uld be thrown into confusion by research psychological differences between women :em to imply that gender had evaporated. “.mma ____.__-._ THE QUESTION OF GENDER 9 - A definition based on dichotomy excludes the patterns of differ ence among women, and among men, from the concept of gender. But there are such differences that are highly relevant to the pat- tern of relations between women and men. For instance, the difference between violent and non—violent masculinities matters a lot, and so does the difference between femininities which are oriented to heterosexual relations and those which are not. (See chapter 5.) o A definition in terms of personal characteristics ignores processes which lie beyond the individual person. Large-scale social processes are based on the shared capacities of women and men more than on their differences. The creation of goods and services in a modern economy is a major example: it is the common capacities of women and men as workers that matters most to the productivity of indus try. Yet the products of the process — the wealth generated, for instance — may be distributed in highly gendered ways. The development of social science has provided a way past these dif— ficuities. The key is to move from a focus on difference to a focus on relations. Gender is, above all, a matter of the social relations within which individuals and groups act. Gender relations do include difference and dichotomy, but also include many other patterns. For instance, gender in the contemporary world involves massive hierarchies of power among men — as seen in multinational corporations, or armies — which can in no sense he reduced to ‘male/fernale differences’, however caused. Enduring or extensive patterns among social relations are what social theory calls ‘structures’. In this sense, gender must be understood as a social structure. It is not an expression of biology, nor a fixed dichotomy in human life or character. It is a pattern in our social arrangements, and in the everyday activities or practices which those arrangements govern. Gender is a social structure, but of a particular kind. Gender involves a specific relationship with bodies. This is recognized in the com— monsense definition of gender as an expression of natural difference, the bodily difference of male from female. What is wrong with this for— mula is not the attention to bodies, nor the concern with sexual repro— duction, but the idea that cultural patterns simply ‘express’ bodily difference. Sometimes cultural patterns do express bodily difference. But often they do more than that, or less than that, or something else completely. 10 THE QUESTION OF GENDER In relation to the distinction of male from female bodies, social practices sometimes exaggerate (e.g. maternity clothes), sometimes deny (many employment practices), sometimes mythologize (computer games), some- times complicate (‘third gender’ Customs). 50 we cannot say that social arrangements routinely ‘express’ biological difference. But we can say that, in a variety of ways, society addresses bodies and puts reproductive difference into play. There is no fixed ‘biological base' for the social process of gender. Rather, there is an arena in which bodies are brought into social processes, in which our social conduct does something with reproductive difference. I will call this the ‘repro- ductive arena’. This allows a definition of gender that escapes the paradoxes of ‘dif ference’. Gender is the structure of social relations that centres on the reproductive arena, and the set of practices (governed by this structure, that bring reproductive distinctions between bodies into social processes To put it informally, gender concerns the way human society deals witl human bodies, and the many consequences of that ‘dealing’ in our per sonal lives and our collective fate. The terms used in this definition an explained more fully in chapters 3 and 4 below. This definition has important consequences. Among them: Gende patterns may differ strikingly from one cultural context to another, bu are still ‘gender’. Gender arrangements are reproduced socially (not bio logically) by the power of structures to constrain individual action, 5( they often appear unchanging. Yet gender arrangements are in fac always changing, as human practice creates new situations and as struc tures develop crisis tendencies. Finally, gender may have an end. Each 0 these points will be explored later in the book. Note on sources Most of the statistics mentioned in this chapter, such as income, eco nomic activity rates and literacy, can be found in United Nations Devel opment Programme (1999; see list of references at back of book). Figure on parliamentary representation and numbers of ministers are fror. Inter—Parliamentary Union (1999), and on managers, from Glass Ceilin Commission (1995b). Sources of information on men’s health can b found in Schofield et a1. (2000). A report on the murder—suicide cas referred to is in the Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Jan. 1996, p. 1, and 01 the Tasmanian government anti-gay initiative, p. 3. For gun massacre )f male from female bodies, social practices maternity clothes), sometimes deny (many imes mythologize (computer games), some- er’ customs). So we cannot say that social :55’ biological difference. variety of ways, society addresses bodies nce into play. There is no fixed ‘biological : gender. Rather, there is an arena in which al processes, in which our social conduct .Ctive difference. I will call this the ‘repro- gender that escapes the paradoxes of ‘dif— are of social relations that centres on the et of practices {governed by this structure) :tions between bodies into social processes. oncerns the way human society deals with consequences of that ‘dealing’ in our pet- fate. The terms used in this definition are era; 3 and 4 below. tant consequences. Among them: Gender from one cultural context to another, but ngements are reproduced socially (not bio- 'uctures to constrain individual action, so 1g. Yet gender arrangements are in fact tactice creates new situations and as struc- .. Finally, gender may have an end. Each of later in the book. ned in this chapter, such as income, eco— cy, can be found in United Nations Devel— : list of references at back of book). Figures :ion and numbers of ministers are from )99), and on managers, from Glass Ceiling 5 of information on men’s health can be 00). A report on the murder—suicide case orning Herald, 26 Jan. 1996, p. 1, and on nti—gay initiative, p. 3. For gun massacres THE QUESTION OF GENDER 11 in Australia see Crook and Harding (1997), and for gun ownership in the USA see Smith and Smith (1994). The quotation on ‘woman’ is from de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949: 295). Definitions and etymology of the word ‘gender’ are in The Oxford English Dictionary, vol. 4, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1933, p. 100. ...
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