Chapter 12. Gender, Sex, and also Sexuality
Figure 12.1. Some children may find out at an early age that their gender does not correspond with their sex. (Photo courtesy that trazomfreak/flickr)

Learning Objectives

12.1. The Difference between Sex and also Gender

Define and also differentiate between sex and genderDefine and discuss what is meant by sex identityUnderstand and also discuss the function of homophobia and also heterosexism in societyDistinguish the meanings of transgendered, transsexual, and also homosexual identities

12.2. Gender

Explain the affect of socialization on gender roles in CanadaUnderstand the stratification of gender in major North American institutionsDescribe sex from the watch of every sociological perspective

12.3. Sex and also Sexuality

Understand various attitudes linked with sex and also sexualityDefine sex-related inequality in assorted societiesDiscuss theoretical perspectives ~ above sex and sexuality

Introduction come Gender, Sex, and also Sexuality

When Harry was born, his parents, Steve and Barb, to be delighted to include another boy to their family. However as their baby boy started to grow and also develop, they noticed the Harry started to express self in a manner the they perceived as more feminine 보다 masculine. The gravitated towards dolls and other playthings that our society typically associates with girls. Yet Harry’s preference was no simply around liking pink much more than blue or flowers more than fire trucks. He even began to attract himself together a girl, complete with a dress and high-heeled shoes. In fact, Harry did not just wish to it is in a girl; he believed he was a girl.

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In kindergarten, Harry frequently got into disagreements with male classmates due to the fact that he insisted that he to be a girl, no a boy. He also started calling self “Hailey.” Steve and Barb met with numerous psychologists, all of whom told them that Hailey was transgendered. But Steve and Barb had a hard time knowledge that your five-year-old son can have currently developed a sex identity the went against society’s expectations. Came to with the society ramifications associated with his child being transgendered, Steve hope this was just a phase. But Barb, and eventually Steve, realized the Harry’s feelings to be genuine and also unyielding, and they made the decision come let harry live together Hailey—a girl. They came to this decision after concluding that the criticism he would certainly endure indigenous his peers and also other members of culture would be much less damaging 보다 the confusion he might experience within if he were required to live as a boy.

Many transgendered kids grow increase hating your bodies, and this populace can have high rates of medicine abuse and also suicide (Weiss 2011). Fearful of these outcomes and eager to do their son happy, Steve and Barb currently refer come Harry together Hailey and enable her to dress and behave in courtesy that are considered feminine. Come a stranger, Hailey is most likely to appear just like any other girl and may even be thought about extra girly due to her love of all things pink. Yet to those who as soon as knew Hailey as Harry, Hailey is most likely to endure much more ridicule and also rejection together the an outcome of adopting a feminine gender identity.

Currently, seven-year-old Hailey and her parents are comfortable through her gender status, but Steve and also Barb space concerned around what questions and also problems could arise as she gets older. “Who’s going to love my child?” asks Steve (Ling 2011). This concern isn’t asked because Hailey is unlovable, but due to the fact that North American culture has however to totally listen come or recognize the an individual narratives of the transgendered population (Hines and also Sanger 2010).

In this chapter, us will discuss the differences between sex and also gender, together with issues like gender identity and sexuality. What does it median to “have” a gender in our society? What go it average to “have” a sexuality? we will also explore assorted theoretical perspectives top top the subjects of gender and also sexuality.

12.1. The Difference between Sex and also Gender

Figure 12.2. If the biological differences in between males and females are relatively straightforward, the social and social aspects of being a guy or woman can be complicated. (Photo courtesy the FaceMePLS/flickr)

When filling the end a record such as a task application or college registration kind you are often asked to carry out your name, address, phone number, birth date, and sex or gender. But have you ever before been request to administer your sex and her gender? similar to most people, it may not have occurred to you that sex and also gender room not the same. However, sociologists and most various other social researchers view sex and gender together conceptually distinct. Sex describes physical or physiological differences in between males and females, including both main sex qualities (the reproductive system) and an additional characteristics such together height and muscularity. Gender is a ax that describes social or cultural distinctions associated with being masculine or female. Gender identity is the degree to i m sorry one identifies together being one of two people masculine or feminine (Diamond 2002).

A person’s sex, as identified by his or she biology, does not constantly correspond with his or she gender. Therefore, the state sex and gender room not interchangeable. A baby boy who is born with male genitalia will be identified as male. Together he grows, however, he may identify with the feminine facets of his culture. Due to the fact that the ax sex refers to biological or physical distinctions, attributes of sex will certainly not differ significantly between different human being societies. Because that example, all persons the the mrs sex, in general, regardless of culture, will eventually menstruate and develop breasts that have the right to lactate. Features of gender, on the other hand, may vary greatly in between different societies. For example, in American culture, it is taken into consideration feminine (or a trait of the mrs gender) come wear a dress or skirt. However, in many Middle Eastern, Asian, and also African cultures, dresses or skirts (often described as sarongs, robes, or gowns) deserve to be taken into consideration masculine. The kilt worn through a Scottish male does not make him appear feminine in his culture.

Figure 12.3. George Catlin (1796-1872), Dance to the Berdache. Caitlin’s sketch depicts a ceremonial dance amongst the Sac and Fox indians to celebrate the two-spirit person. (Photo couresy of Wikimedia Commons).

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The dichotomous see of sex (the id that one is either male or female) is details to details cultures and is no universal. In some cultures, sex is viewed as fluid. In the past, some anthropologists offered the ax berdache come refer to people who sometimes or permanently dressed and also lived together the opposite gender. The practice has actually been provided among specific Aboriginal teams (Jacobs, Thomas, and also Lang 1997). Samoan society accepts what they refer to as a “third gender.” Fa’afafine, which translates as “the way of the woman,” is a term provided to describe individuals who are born biologically male but embody both masculine and also feminine traits. Fa’afafines are considered critical part of Samoan culture. People from other societies may mislabel them together homosexuals because fa’afafines have a varied sex-related life the may incorporate men or ladies (Poasa 1992).