Chapter 3 - Chapter 3 Gender Families*The Two-Spirit People...

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Chapter 3 : Gender & Families *The Two-Spirit People Existed in more than 100 native cultures A man or woman who dressed like, performed the duties of, and behaved like a member of the opposite sex Two ways to become a two-spirit o Display characteristics that the parents thought were to “spirit like”… son=feminine. Interested in the work of opposite sex. o Through spiritual visions. People thought they received signs from deities that they were supposed to be 2 spirited. o These people were accepted members of society. Some thought to have super natural powers. o Male two-spirits were more common than female two-spirits. o Around 19 th century, the existence of these people became rare as European culture took over. *Difference between Sex and Gender Sex refers to biological characteristics that distinguish men and women (chromosomes, reproductive organs, etc) Gender refers to social and cultural differences that distinguish men and women. (boys don’t cry) How many genders are there? o Hermaphrodites (intersexual)- choose which sex to make child, treat with hormone therapy, etc. o Transsexual- believe they were born in the wrong body, born female but believes she should be a male. o In our society we only conceptualize TWO genders! Male & female. Can a person’s gender identity be modified? o Two-spirits could shed their role & change… o Children develop gender identity around pre-school. Reinforced throughout childhood, adolescence. Part of how you define yourself. The BRAIN is the most important part of determining your gender identity, not genitalia. How much do gender differences reflect men’s attempts to retain power over women? o Female two-spirits were less common. All gender differences reflect some form of gender politics. Gender differences reflect political differences, which reflect male dominance.
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