ideal beauty is likely the pursuit of an illusion Dominant or emphasized

Ideal beauty is likely the pursuit of an illusion

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ideal beauty is likely the pursuit of an illusion Dominant or “emphasized” definitions of femininity—as embodied by looks—are always undergoing change, from the hysterical Victorian housewife to the sporty working girl of the 1980s to today’s heroically perfect-in-all-ways supermom In addition to a dominant image of femininity, some theorists argue that today there exists a hegemonic masculinity as well o Hegemonic masculinity is the condition in which men are dominant and privileged, and this dominance and privilege is invisible Hegemonic masculinity is so dominant that it easily escapes our attention and is regarded as the norm against which all others are judged Ideal masculinity in the 1700s went hand in hand with kindness and intellect, and preferably a little poetry, a very different image from the modern-day ideal of the “man’s man” Gender roles are sets of behavioral norms assumed to accompany one’s status as a male or female Many of the differences we observe between men and women do not have much to do with gender differences at all; instead, the behaviors arise as a result of the different positions men and women occupy To say that gender is a social construct is to say that it isn’t a given Gender is a phenomenon that shapes reality and organizes our lives even if we don’t realize it, and even when we wish it didn’t R V CHAPTER 8: GENDER
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The Woman Question Rubin’s Sex/Gender Question The “woman question”: What explains the nearly universal dominance of men over women? What is the root of the patriarchy ? o DEF: a nearly universal system involving the subordination of femininity to masculinity In the field of anthropology, most scholars studying societies around the world had previously assumed that women’s subordination was a given o If such subordination occurred everywhere, it must be fulfilling some function, and it could just as well be passed over in favor of more novel research questions Rubin challenged this notion and proposed the “sex/gender system” in which, she argued, every society participates in some form or another o She used the structural perspective of Claude Levi-Strauss, a French anthropologist, to suggest that because of the universal taboo against incest— fathers and brothers cannot sleep with their daughters and sisters—women who start out belonging to one man (their father or their brother if dad dies) must leave their families of origin and go belong to another man (their husband) o Women are treated like valuable property whose trade partners strengthen relations between families headed by men o The resulting sex/gender system, she argued, was not a given; it was the result of human interaction Feminist thinkers widely agreed that the task at hand was to explain universal male dominance Because women give birth and then rear children, they become identified with domestic
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  • Spring '08
  • MUELLER
  • Sociology, Paradoxes of Gender

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