lec032210 - Professor Deborah Carr Introduction to...

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Professor Deborah Carr Introduction to Sociology Monday March 22, 2010 Topic: Gender I. Review of key concepts A. Sex 1. Definition: Biological identity of male or female. B. Gender 1. Definition: The socially learned expectations and behaviors associated with members of each sex. C. Gender identity. One’s definition of one’s self as a man or women. Gender identity is a core component of one’s self-concept, and molds one’s expectations for ourselves, our interests, and social interactions. (see videoclip on transgendered persons) II. Gender Differences: Biological, Social, or Some Combination? A. Biological explanations for gender differences 1. Biological determinism: Explanations that attribute complex social phenomena to physical characteristics, such as hormones including testosterone. 2. Evidence of biological differences? a. Sex is based on chromosomes. XY chromosomes make a male, XX chromosomes make up a female. b. . Empirically documented differences: i. Boys have higher infant mortality rates ii. Men tend to have greater physical strength, on average. iii. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, is associated with male propensity to violence. Research has indicated that if male monkeys are castrated at birth, they become less aggressive. Female monkeys given testosterone will act more aggressively than normal females. (However, testosterone levels actually increase with experiences of dominance. So, opportunities to prevail and to behave in a violent/aggressive way may perpetuate and exacerbate this baseline gender difference).
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