Gender, Culture and Power

Course Code: SOCI 2200

Academic Year: 2021-2022

"Boys will be boys", "you throw like a girl", "Man-up", "she's a 'girly-girl'", "he's a 'man's man'". These phrases are commonplace in our society, but what value judgments, beliefs and ideologies do they contain? Being accepted as "a man" in this culture seems to require rejecting everything associated with "femininity". Consequently, female traits, and thereby girls and women, are often devalued and denigrated. Human traits tend to be sorted into rigid boxes of "feminine" and "masculine" and straying out of one's socially-designated box regularly invites gender policing and enforcement by society in the form of jokes, homophobia, bullying, and violence. In this course, we will examine the ways in which both masculinity and femininity are constructed throughout the lifespan, and then analyze their various cultural meanings and social implications. We will focus on evaluating prominent biological and psychoanalytic explanations of gender, and then move onto developing a thorough understanding of a range of current sociological and feminist perspectives on gender relations that are attentive to discourse, power, privilege, cultural difference, 'race' and sexual diversity. Gender dynamics and gendered interactions will be analyzed in various realms of our cultural environment including the internet, media, film, art, education, health, work and intimate relationships. Category and Level: Society, Culture and Commerce, Lower Level Restrictions: None