In Unit 1 we examined the concept of social construction and how it can help us see the ways systems of race, class, and gender, function to establish the boundaries of our lives. In Unit 2 we considered the impact of poverty and class privilege. In this Unit we are going to extend our understanding of how sexism and heterosexism, operate in extending power to some in this society but not to everyone. We will also map out interconnections between the various systems in order to better comprehend that these “isms” most often work together, overlap, and compound one another. The power of words, of definitions, of language itself is explored in this part’s selections, and the selected readings invite you to consider the multiple ways you might participate in or be impacted by structures of domination. The author of our text, Paul Rothenberg’s selection of pieces foregrounds a structural analysis of power relations, and in her introduction she is careful to provide precise definitions for words such as “racism” and “sexism.”
Week Three Module 5
Unit 3, Module 5: Gender Discrimination
Discrimination of every type is a fact of life in every area of contemporary society. Yet, despite the gains made in recognizing sexuality through gay rights, there is a strong desire to dismiss issues of gender as a problem of the past. Boys and girls, women and men are under enormous pressure from the earliest ages to conform to sex-role stereotypes that divide basic human attributes between the two sexes. Differences between women and men are never merely differences but are constructed hierarchically so that women are always portrayed as different in the sense of being deviant and deficient.
When women were arguing for the right to vote in the 19th Century this 1909 cartoon depicts the fear of men
To understand that the actual lives of real women and real men throughout history stand in sharp contrast to the images of masculinity and femininity that have been constructed by society and then rationalized as reflecting innate differences between the sexes.
Required Reading, Viewing and Listening
In unit two, we begin our look at the historical and social construction of gender and discrimination. For this class meeting you must review the course lectures and read the following sections of the Rothenberg text: Race, Class and Gender in the United States:
Module 5: gender
Night to His Day”: The Social Construction of Gender, Judith Lorber, pp. 54-65
Patriarchy, Allan Johnson, pp. 153–162
Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls Convention, 1848, pp. 513–16
United States Constitution: 19th Amendment, 1920, p. 550
The Equal Rights Amendment (Defeated), p. 562
- Study: Median Wealth for Single Black Women: $100, Single Hispanic Women: $120, Single White Women: $41,000 (20:02), Democracy Now!
Homophobia As a Weapon of Sexism, Suzanne Pharr, pp. 163-172
Week Three Module 6
Unit 2, Module 6: The Social Construction of Sexuality
The society in which we live channels, guides, and limits our imagination in sexual matters. Central to the construction of difference is the social construction of sexuality, which has in fact changed over the years and centuries. In this module, we will explore what has been and is the social function of sexual categorizing in modern America, and examine whose interests have been served by division of the world into heterosexual and homosexual.
To understand how a historical view locates heterosexuality and homosexuality in America’s contemporary timeline.
Required Reading and Viewing
For this class meeting you must read the following sections of the Rothenberg text: Race, Class and Gender in the United States:
Module 6: sexuality
- The Social Construction of Sexuality, Ruth Hubbard, pp. 66-69
- The Invention of Heterosexuality, Jonathan Ned Katz, pp. 70-81
- Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity, Michael S. Kimmel, pp. 82-93
- The Case of Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson: Ableism, Heterosexism,and Sexism, Joan L. Griscom, pp. 472-480
- Anti-Gay Stereotypes, Richard D. Mohr, pp. 585-591
- Why Transgender Identity Matters, Rebecca Juro, pp. 283-285
Week Three – Discussion
Welcome to our Module discussion. This is the interactive part of the course and where the majority of class activity will take place. This course is designed so that active participation in the Discussions will serve as preparation for Unit Exams. It is important that your answers stay focused on the key ideas found in the various source. Please, no outside sources.
Once you have finished all of the required reading for this Module, please answer one of the following questions (see How to Make Answers and Responses directions below):
How to Make Answers and Responses:
- After completing the required readings and web viewings, there are two Discussion questions.
- Students will post an answer to one of the discussion questions
- Then, for responses, those who answered question #1 will respond to the question #2 answers; those who answered question #2 will respond to the question #1 answers.
Formatting Tips and Reminders:
- At minimum your answer to each question must be comprised of at least 250 words.
- Please label your answers with your name and the question #.
- Avoid typing in one large block. Instead break up your posting into small paragraphs so students can more easily read through them.
- Be sure to cite your sources properly in your posting.
- See the “Plagiarism, Eh?” video in Course Tools/Useful Links/Writing-related links to understand why referenced work need to be cited.
- Refer the various Course Tools/Useful Links/Writing-related links on in-text APA citing.
- Remember to spell check.
- Grading expectations are explained in the Syllabus.
How to Make Answers and Responses:
After completing the required readings and web viewings, there are two discussion questions.
Students will post an answer to one of the discussion questions. Answer post is due by 11:59 pm PST on Thursday.
Then, for responses, those who answered question #1 will respond to the question #2 answers; those who answered question #2 will respond to the question #1 answers. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm PST on Sunday.
- 1 – Gender sameness and difference
The U.S. society has historically held patriarchal notions, meaning our society has been structured around the male sex as having the positions of power and authority in the society. In this discussion you will consider the status of patriarchy per the Johnson reading which explains that patriarchy in any society has three components: 1) male-dominated 2) male-identified and 3) male-centered
For this discussion question, select any one of these components of patriarchy and explain its relation to American society. Then also consider how the component of patriarchy you selected supports Lorber’s claims that gender discrimination is organized around both “sameness” and “difference.”
- 2 – Inventing Sexuality
Katz describes the “invention of heterosexuality” over the course of time and U.S. social views, looking specifically at what for a long time has been considered a “natural” part of human sexuality and social values related to romance, love, and relationships. For this discussion question, select one of the time periods Katz analyzes to discuss