1. Gender and Society
The course contents shall expose
the "common-sense" world of
gender around us; considers how
we develop our gendered
identities; explores the workings of
the institutions that shape our
gendered lives; and leads to an
understanding of the relationship
between gender and the social
2. This subject demands to answer
Why do we
need to study
3. Module 1:
The Study of Gender and Society
Gender Basics: Sex vs. Gender
Beyond Sex and Gender
Theoretical Approaches in the Study of
4. Research on
Gender and Society
Research on gender is conducted by scholars in a range of fields
including communication, anthropology, history, philosophy, psychology,
and sociology. In doing their research, scholars rely on a broad array of
methods. To give you an understanding of the research that informs the field of
gender, the following discussions, based on the Julia Wood’s (2009) scholarly
works on gender, briefly describe different research methods.
5. Quantitative Research
These gather data that can be quantified and analyze the data to draw conclusions. These methods are
most closely associated with the social sciences. Three of the more common quantitative methods are
descriptive statistics, surveys, and experiments. Descriptive statistics describe populations,
proportions, and frequencies. They answer questions such as: How often do women and men interrupt in
conversations? How much are men and women in the same professional positions paid? How much
hours of child care do mothers and fathers perform? What are the key concerns of men in their 50s?
Surveys, which may be written or oral (interview) ask people to report their feelings, thought, experiences
and so forth. Surveys could ask women and men: What do you do with your close friends? How often do
you argue with friends? Experiments are controlled studies that manipulate one thing (called an
independent variable) to determine how it affects another thing (called a dependent variable).
Experiments have been conducted to find out what happens to women’s self-esteem when they look at
fashion magazines; whether different images come to people’s minds when they see the words “urban
man” and “urban people”; and whether people who view pornography are more likely to engage in
violence against women than people who do not view pornography.
6. Qualitative Research Methods
These are sometimes called interpretive methods, which aim to understand the
nature or meaning of experiences that cannot be quantified. These methods have
grown out of the humanities and remain most closely tied to humanistic disciplines.
Two of the most popular qualitative methods are textual analysis and ethnography.
As the name applies, textual analysis involves describing communication texts and
interpreting their meaning. Communication scholars have a broad view of texts that
includes written, oral, and nonverbal symbolic activities. Ethnography relies on
extensive and sensitive observation of human activity to discover what things mean
to humans. Ethnography has helped us understand how different cultures define and
enact gender and how those enactments support specific cultural values.
Ethnography study has also provided precise descriptions of women’s and men’s
flirting behaviors and how they are interpreted.
7. Critical Research Methods
These identify and challenge inequalities and problems in social life.
In this way, scholars engaged in critical research hope to raise
awareness of inequalities and problems and to motivate change. These
methods are particularly associated with disciplines in the humanities
and liberal arts. Critical research has given us insight into ways in which
communication practices sustain male dominance in conversations and
ways that organizational structures and practices create hostile work
environments for women and minorities.
8. Mixed Research Methods
These are exactly what the name implies--- mixture of two or
more methods. Some scholars find it useful to combine methods
to get multiple types of information. For example, a scholar might
document the frequency (descriptive statistics) of men’s and
women’s smiling in social situations and then interview men and
women (qualitative method) to learn why they smile and how
they interpret smiles from other women and men.
of Gender Studies
Gender studies have grown out of the need to address some of the big
issues in everyday life as well as on the global arena of international politics in
which cultural, economic, political and social inequalities are played out
(Woodward, 2015). Gender awareness has become integral to disciplinary
fields as diverse as history, literature, science, sociology and economics, as
well as emerging as a field of studies, which goes much further than the
mainstreaming of gender.
10. Sociology: as the study of the society, sociologists ask “how
society ‘constructs’ gender roles?” They investigate how social
institutions such as family and religion socialize us on our gender
Anthropology: anthropologists are mainly concerned with the
study of humans and their culture and tend to ask “where did
gender roles originate and how did gender relations evolve
and develop?” Their focus may include pointing-out men's
domination during the stone-age period and comparing this to
modern day situation.
11. History: historians are very much fascinated with the recorded
events of the past and may ask questions such as “why is there
gender inequality in a particular historical period?” A historian
interested in Chinese women's history, for example, may
investigate the role of “concubines” in the history of Chinese
empires and dynasties.
Political Science: scholars following the political science
framework may want to know “how is ‘power’ allocated
between different and diverse genders?” A political analyst may
want to research on the power dynamics during the fight for
12. Economics: economists try to analyze how societies produce,
consume, distribute and allocate scarce resources and in by
doing so may ask the question “how is the division of labor
distributed among and between gender?” Modern-day
economists may want to focus their work on issues related to
women workers’ rights.
Psychology: psychologists are very much concerned with human
behavior and may raise questions such as “why do behavioral
differences occur between men and women and those in
between?” They may want to find out why women are described
as “emotional” while men are “stiff”?
14. Studying gender and society enhances one’s
appreciation of complex ways in which cultural
values and practices influence one’s views of
masculinity and femininity and men and
women. By appreciating these complex ways,
one becomes tolerant of differences thereby
becoming more respectful of others’ views,
orientation and identification to specific
15. The study of gender and society enhances
one’s insight into his or her own gender, both
as it is now and as one decides to revise it. One
will become more aware of ways cultural
expectations of gender are communicated in
daily life. In turn, this awareness will allow an
individual to think more critical about whether
there are cultural expectations that he or she
would want to accept or challenge.
16. Last but not the least, studying gender
strengthens one’s membership in society.
Learning about general differences in gender
categories will enlarge one’s ability to
appreciate the distinct validity of diverse
gender identities. This allows an individual to
understand and adopt to the ways of getting
along with other members of the society that
may differ from one’s own gender.
17. Gender Basics:
Sex VS. Gender
Gender is widely used in indicating an individual’s biologically determined
“sex” (i.e., male or female) which cannot fully address the complex nature of a
concept such a gender (Cohen and Harvery, 2007). People tend to ask “what is
your gender?” which is a misconception of “what is your sex?” Without prior
learning about the thin line that separates these two confusing terminologies,
more people tend to mis-use these words.
18. Sex as Biologically Determined
In its broadest sense, “sex” refers to the biological and physiological differences
between male and female. The term sex is a physical differentiation between the
biological male and the biological female. Therefore an infant is labeled “boy” or “girl”
upon birth depending on their sex, the external genital between their legs. The basis
of such characterization is the genital differences between male and female. There
are, however, some people who are born with sex organs that do not clearly fit their
category, known as intersex.
A person is socialized according to its specific gender expectations and roles. For
example, biological males are subject to masculine roles (i.e., strong, aggressive,
and bold) while biological females are subject to feminine roles (i.e., polite,
accommodating, and nurturing).
19. Gender is a social classification based on one’s identity,
presentation of self, behavior, and interaction with others.
Sociologists view gender as learned behavior and a culturally
produced identity, and as such, it is a social category. According to
WHO, “Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics
of women and men, such as norms, roles, and relationships of
and between groups of women and men. It varies from society
to society and can be changed.”
Gender as Socially Constructed
20. Unlike sex, gender denotes the social and cultural role of each
sex within a given society. Environment, including family
interactions, the media, peers, and education often helps people
to develop their gender roles (Cross, 2018).
Gender can be divided into number of different components
relating to ideas of masculinity and femininity: Gender identity,
gender presentation, and gender roles.
21. Gender Identity
Gender identity is the sense of ourselves as men, women, or other
gendered beings. It is how a person sees himself or herself
regardless of her sex. A person’s gender identity may be the same
as or different from their birth-assigned sex. For example, a person’s
biological sex is male but its definition of oneself is a woman. Gender
identity shapes how we think about others and ourselves and it
influences our behaviors.
22. Gender presentation or expression refers to how a person
publicly expresses or presents their gender through the way
they dress, hair, make-up, body language, and voice. For
example, you may be identified as a woman and dress in
masculine way or vis-à-vis. Gender identity and gender
presentation are not necessarily related. A person may dress on
whatever they are comfortable with regardless of their biological
sex or gender identity.
23. Gender Role
Gender role in society is how a person is expected to act, speak,
dress, and groom based on the assigned sex given when a person
is born. For example, girls and women are expected to be typically
feminine such as being polite, accommodating, and nurturing. On the
other hand, men are expected to be strong, aggressive, and bold.
Gender roles may vary depending on society, ethnic group, and
24. A stereotype is a biased judgment about a person or group
and is not always accurate. Stereotypes in gender can cause
unequal and unfair treatment because of a person’s gender. For
example, a girl was cheated on by his boyfriend and that made her
conclude that all men are cheaters. Though her boyfriend indeed
cheated on her, it does not mean that all men are cheaters.
There are four basic kinds of gender stereotypes:
25. Personality traits – for example, people
expect that women are weak, meek, and
dependent, while men are usually strong,
aggressive, and independent. This example is
considered gender stereotype because not all
women are weak and dependent. Actually,
most women in this century is more
independent than men.
26. Domestic behaviors – for example, women are
often expected to take care of children, wash
the dishes, clean the house, do the laundry,
etc, while men are often expected to take care
of finances, do home repairs, etc. This is
considered as gender stereotype because in
this generation, men and women share the
responsibilities with each other. Though some
still are traditional.
27. Occupations – for example, people tend to
think that nurses, teachers, and etc. are for
women only while pilot, engineer, doctor, and
etc. are for men. This gender stereotype is true
years ago but now either gender can have
their own profession base on their preferences.
28. Physical appearance – for example, women are
usually thought to be thin, graceful, and sexy
while men are masculine and tall. Also, women
are supposed to wear dresses that are
appropriate to their assigned sex same goes with
men. Though the examples given are true but in
this generation, people now have different
perspectives regarding what should men and
women look like or how should men and women
be presented with the way they are dressed.
29. BEYOND SEX AND GENDER
30. Since the 1960’s sweeping changes in the gender system are
sometimes called a “revolution”. Looking at it since the 1900s,
women have become the sole image of the gender revolution,
for example, women were able to catch up with what men are
doing, like, employment, college degrees, rates in college
graduation, politics, and more. This gender revolution that solely
focuses on women began affecting other genders like the
LGBTQ+ and even men itself.
31. The LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
queer, and more. During the late-nineteenth century, the
concept of distinct gender identity merely does not exist.
However, gay identity just fully emerges in the mid-twentieth
century (Iovannone, 2018).
According to Havelock Ellis as cited in Beccalossi (2012), a
person who is attractive to the same sex and that gender
presentation contrast to their assigned sex is referred to as
“sexual inverts”, or we would identify them now as gay or
32. Ulrich (as cited in Iovannone, 2018) claims that “Urning” is
another gender between male and female, which he describes
as the third gender whom today we describe as gay, trans, or
genderqueer. According to Ulrich as cited in Iovannone (2018),
male urnings were “male-bodied” with the souls of women, and
women urnings were “women-bodied” with the souls of men.
The term homosexual was not yet popular until the mid-
twentieth century when homosexual activists preferred the term
“homophile” over “homosexual” because the term homosexual is
33. The term “gay” came into popular usage in the 1960s, which
emerged as an underground term in the early twentieth century.
Though today “gay” typically refers to men who are attracted to
men historically, “gay” was a broad term that comprise entirely
the modern LGBTQ+. Lesbian comes from the Greek island of
Lesbos that is associated with the poet Sappho on whom they
describe love and attraction between women.
34. The advent of the late mid-twentieth-century Women’s
Movement gave gay women the consciousness to articulate how
their experiences differed from heterosexual women. Yet, until
the 1990s, the term “gay” refers to the entirety of the sexual and
gender minorities. This usage shifted with the rise of bisexual,
transgender, and queer movements giving birth to the four-letter
LGBT. German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld originated
‘Transvestite’ in 1910 whom he later develop the Berlin Institute.
‘Transsexual’ was coined in 1949, ‘Transgender’ in 1971, and
‘Trans’ (British term) in 1996.
35. Persons who are not identified as ‘transsexual’ adopt the term
‘transgender’ because ‘transsexual’ is associated with medical
transition across the gender binary. The term ‘Q’ in LGBTQ+
stands for ‘queer’ or those who is still questioning their gender
identity or sexual orientation. The term ‘queer’ literally means
“odd” or “quaint”, however, these terms are still considered as
derogatory term for gays.
36. Different initials emerged since the 1990s. One expanded the
term LGBTQ+ to LGBTQQIP2SAA which stands for lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual,
two spirits, asexual, and ally. However, the prolonged-term truly
comprised the different gender identity or sexual orientation of
someone but it is not necessarily efficient. It is difficult to
remember let alone say. LGBTQ initialism is not just a random
initial that represents identities but they tell the story of modern
LGBTQ Rights Movement.
In the world we live in everything seems to be a man and a woman. But what
does it mean to be a man or a woman? On the other hand, what does it mean if
people want to change their gender? What about if they want to dress like the
opposite sex? What about those people who is neither male nor female? What
about gays? Does being gay has something to do with changing their gender?
To know all of this, we will need a help from our genderbread person.
39. Either you are born male or female. However, a lot of people do not
know that some are not born a hundred percent male or female or born
with ambiguous genitals, which we call intersex. A person can be
identified as intersex through genitals, chromosomes, gonads, and
hormones. On the entire world, only seven countries and five states in
America have some sort of legal recognition of intersex. So what is the
identification card of an intersex person is? As mentioned above, only a
few countries recognize intersex persons therefore, people have to
choose the sex of the intersex person at birth.
40. Gender identity refers to what a person thinks of who he/she is. A
person can feel that he/she is feminine or masculine. But just like sex,
gender identity lies in a spectrum. Some people may feel more feminine
than the other or the other way around. Some may also feel like being a
male or female or neither. There are lot of terms to define this gender
identities such as, genderqueer, non-binary, bigender, genderfluid,
agender, genderneutral, pangender, and third gender. Only one can
identify its gender identity.
41. Cisgender – is a person whose sex and gender identity are aligned. For
example, a person is born female and her gender identity is feminine.
Transgender – is a person whose sex and gender identity do not align.
The word transsexual was used to describe a person who had
undergone gender confirmation surgery. However, the word transsexual
is outdated and considered a derogatory term. Further, not all
transgender want to undergo surgery.
43. Gender presentation or expression is manifested in how people
express or present themselves to the world. Just like sex and gender
identity, one’s gender expression can be either male or female. A person
can express themselves on how they dress, how they do their hair and
makeup, how they talk, the way they walk sleep, and or what their
hobbies and interest are. Everything is gendered.
44. Attraction has something to do with whom a person is attracted to---
whether a person is attracted to the same, opposite, or both sexes.
Heterosexual – is a person who is attracted to the opposite gender.
Homosexual – is a person who is attracted to the same sex.
Bisexual – is a person who is attracted to both sexes.
Human sexuality, which is related to the element of attraction, is
considered fluid, which means it could change throughout time. For
example, one person can be attracted to a man or woman. Or, a person
could be attracted to men their entire life then all of a sudden is now
attracted to women.
45. Pansexual – is a person who is not attracted to either of the two sexes
but is attracted to a person’s personality.
Asexual – is a person who is not attracted to either of the two sexes at
all. However, this does not mean that an asexual person does not desire
a romantic relationship or affection just no sex.
The construction of gender is complex. It consists of the great amount of
psychology, biology, sociology etc.