Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Gilbert Herdt, PhD June Gilbert Herdt is a cultural and psychological anthropologist and an international expert on. Human Sexuality: Self, Society, and Culture Gilbert Herdt Professor of Sexuality Studies and Anthropology and Chair of Sexuality Studies, Nicole Polen-Petit pdf . Human Sexuality: Self, Society, and Culture, 1st Edition by Gilbert Herdt and Nicole Polen-Petit () Preview the textbook, download or get a FREE.
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As with most people, it may not have occurred to you that sex and gender are not the same. However, sociologists and most other social scientists view sex and gender as conceptually distinct. Sex refers to physical or physiological differences between males and females, including both primary sex characteristics the reproductive system and secondary characteristics such as height and muscularity. Gender is a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with being male or female.
Gender identity is the extent to which one identifies as being either masculine or feminine Diamond Therefore, the terms sex and gender are not interchangeable. A baby boy who is born with male genitalia will be identified as male. As he grows, however, he may identify with the feminine aspects of his culture.
Since the term sex refers to biological or physical distinctions, characteristics of sex will not vary significantly between different human societies. For example, all persons of the female sex, in general, regardless of culture, will eventually menstruate and develop breasts that can lactate. Characteristics of gender, on the other hand, may vary greatly between different societies. For example, in American culture, it is considered feminine or a trait of the female gender to wear a dress or skirt.
However, in many Middle Eastern, Asian, and African cultures, dresses or skirts often referred to as sarongs, robes, or gowns can be considered masculine. The kilt worn by a Scottish male does not make him appear feminine in his culture.
Figure George Catlin , Dance to the Berdache. Photo couresy of Wikimedia Commons. The dichotomous view of gender the notion that one is either male or female is specific to certain cultures and is not universal.
In some cultures, gender is viewed as fluid. In the past, some anthropologists used the term berdache to refer to individuals who occasionally or permanently dressed and lived as the opposite gender. It was not until the s that American and British psychologists and other professionals working with intersex and transsexual patients formally began distinguishing between sex and gender. Since then, psychological and physiological professionals have increasingly used the term gender Moi In an effort to clarify usage of the terms sex and gender, U.
Alabama, S. In Canada, there has not been the same formal deliberations on the legal meanings of sex and gender. In the case of Nixon v. The controversy was not over whether Kimberly was a woman, but whether she was woman enough for the position. VRR argued that as Kimberly had not grown up as a woman, she did not have the requisite lived experience as a woman in patriarchal society to counsel women rape victims.
The B. The court acknowledged that the meaning of both sex and gender vary in different contexts. The case is currently under appeal. These legal issues reveal that even human experience that is assumed to be biological and personal such as our self-perception and behaviour is actually a socially defined variable by culture. According to current scientific understanding, individuals are usually aware of their sexual orientation between middle childhood and early adolescence American Psychological Association They do not have to participate in sexual activity to be aware of these emotional, romantic, and physical attractions; people can be celibate and still recognize their sexual orientation.
Homosexual women also referred to as lesbians , homosexual men also referred to as gays , and bisexuals of both genders may have very different experiences of discovering and accepting their sexual orientation. Alfred Kinsey was among the first to conceptualize sexuality as a continuum rather than a strict dichotomy of gay or straight.
To classify this continuum of heterosexuality and homosexuality, Kinsey created a six-point rating scale that ranges from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual see Figure The Kinsey scale indicates that sexuality can be measured by more than just heterosexuality and homosexuality. Sedgwick recognized that in North American culture, males are subject to a clear divide between the two sides of this continuum, whereas females enjoy more fluidity.
This can be illustrated by the way women in Canada can express homosocial feelings nonsexual regard for people of the same sex through hugging, handholding, and physical closeness. In contrast, Canadian males refrain from these expressions since they violate the heteronormative expectation. While women experience a flexible norming of variations of behaviour that spans the heterosocial-homosocial spectrum, male behaviour is subject to strong social sanction if it veers into homosocial territory because of societal homophobia Sedgwick There is no scientific consensus regarding the exact reasons why an individual holds a heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual orientation.
There has been research conducted to study the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, but there has been no evidence that links sexual orientation to one factor APA Research, however, does present evidence showing that homosexuals and bisexuals are treated differently than heterosexuals in schools, the workplace, and the military.
The Canadian Climate Survey reported that 59 percent of LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered high school students had been subject to verbal harassment at school compared to 7 percent of non-LGBT students, 25 percent had been subject to physical harassment compared to 8 percent of non-LGBT students, 31 percent had been subject to cyber-bullying via internet or text messaging compared to 8 percent of non-LGBT students, 73 percent felt unsafe at school compared to 20 percent of non-LGBT students, and 51 percent felt unaccepted at school compared to 19 percent of non-LGBT students Taylor and Peter Much of this discrimination is based on stereotypes, misinformation, and homophobia, an extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuals.
Major policies to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation have not come into effect until the last few years. In the federal government legalized same-sex marriage.
The Canadian Human Rights Act was amended in to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, including the unequal treatment of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. Organizations such as Egale Canada Equality for Gays And Lesbians Everywhere advocate for LGBT rights, establish gay pride organizations in Canadian communities, and promote gay-straight alliance support groups in schools.
In this socialization process, children are introduced to certain roles that are typically linked to their biological sex. These roles are based on norms, or standards, created by society. In Canadian culture, masculine roles are usually associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles are usually associated with passivity, nurturing, and subordination. Role learning starts with socialization at birth.
Even today, our society is quick to outfit male infants in blue and girls in pink, even applying these colour-coded gender labels while a baby is in the womb.
One way children learn gender roles is through play. Parents typically supply boys with trucks, toy guns, and superhero paraphernalia, which are active toys that promote motor skills, aggression, and solitary play. Fathers tend to be more involved when their sons engage in gender appropriate activities such as sports. Men tend to outnumber women in professions such as law enforcement, the military, and politics. Women tend to outnumber men in care-related occupations such as child care, health care, and social work.
Adherence to them demonstrates fulfillment of social expectations but not necessarily personal preference Diamond Gender Identity Canadian society allows for some level of flexibility when it comes to acting out gender roles. To a certain extent, men can assume some feminine roles and women can assume some masculine roles without interfering with their gender identity.
Individuals who identify with the role that is the opposite of their biological sex are called transgendered. Transgendered males, for example, have such a strong emotional and psychological connection to the feminine aspects of society that they identify their gender as female. The parallel connection to masculinity exists for transgendered females. It is difficult to determine the prevalence of transgenderism in society.
Statistics Canada states that they have neither the definitive number of people whose sexual orientation is lesbian, gay, or bisexual, nor the number of people who are transgendered Statistics Canada Transgendered individuals who wish to alter their bodies through medical interventions such as surgery and hormonal therapy—so that their physical being is better aligned with gender identity—are called transsexuals.
Not all transgendered individuals choose to alter their bodies: many will maintain their original anatomy but may present themselves to society as the opposite gender. This is typically done by adopting the dress, hairstyle, mannerisms, or other characteristic typically assigned to the opposite gender. It is important to note that people who cross-dress, or wear clothing that is traditionally assigned to opposite gender, are not necessarily transgendered.
There is no single, conclusive explanation for why people are transgendered. Transgendered expressions and experiences are so diverse that it is difficult to identify their origin. Some hypotheses suggest biological factors such as genetics or prenatal hormone levels as well as social and cultural factors such as childhood and adulthood experiences. It is known, however, that transgendered and transsexual individuals experience discrimination based on their gender identity. People who identify as transgendered are twice as likely to experience assault or discrimination as non-transgendered individuals; they are also one and a half times more likely to experience intimidation National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs These organizations hope that by educating the public about gender identity and empowering transgendered and transsexual individuals, this violence will end.
If you are a man, imagine that you were forced to wear frilly dresses, dainty shoes, and makeup to special occasions, and you were expected to enjoy romantic comedies and glamour reality shows. If you are a woman, imagine that you were forced to wear shapeless clothing, put only minimal effort into your personal appearance, not show emotion, and watch countless hours of sporting events and sports-related commentary.
It would be pretty uncomfortable, right? Well, maybe not. Many people enjoy participating in activities that are typically associated with the opposite sex and would not mind if some of the cultural expectations for men and women were loosened.
Now, imagine that when you look at your body in the mirror, you feel disconnected. As you get older, you hate the way your body is changing, and, therefore, you hate yourself. These elements of disconnect and shame are important to understand when discussing transgendered individuals. Fortunately, sociological studies pave the way for a deeper and more empirically grounded understanding of transgendered experience. Chaz Bono is the transgendered son of Cher and Sonny Bono.
Being transgendered is not about clothing or hairstyles; it is about self-perception. Gender Figure Traditional images of North American gender roles reinforce the idea that women should be subordinate to men. Aggressive behaviour, when it does not inflict significant harm, is often accepted from boys and men because it is congruent with the cultural script for masculinity.
Just as a playwright expects actors to adhere to a prescribed script, society expects women and men to behave according to the expectations of their respective gender role. Scripts are generally learned through a process known as socialization, which teaches people to behave according to social norms.
Socialization Children learn at a young age that there are distinct expectations for boys and girls.
Cross-cultural studies reveal that children are aware of gender roles by age two or three. At four or five, most children are firmly entrenched in culturally appropriate gender roles Kane Children acquire these roles through socialization, a process in which people learn to behave in a particular way as dictated by societal values, beliefs, and attitudes. For example, society often views riding a motorcycle as a masculine activity and, therefore, considers it to be part of the male gender role.
Attitudes such as this are typically based on stereotypes, oversimplified notions about members of a group. Gender stereotyping involves overgeneralizing about the attitudes, traits, or behaviour patterns of women or men. For example, women may be thought of as too timid or weak to ride a motorcycle. Sexism refers to prejudiced beliefs that value one sex over another. Sexism varies in its level of severity. In parts of the world where women are strongly undervalued, young girls may not be given the same access to nutrition, health care, and education as boys.
While illegal in Canada when practised as discrimination, unequal treatment of women continues to pervade social life. It should be noted that discrimination based on sex occurs at both the micro- and macro-levels.
Many sociologists focus on discrimination that is built into the social structure; this type of discrimination is known as institutional discrimination Pincus Gender socialization occurs through four major agents of socialization: family, education, peer groups, and mass media. Each agent reinforces gender roles by creating and maintaining normative expectations for gender-specific behaviour.
Exposure also occurs through secondary agents such as religion and the workplace.
Repeated exposure to these agents over time leads men and women into a false sense that they are acting naturally rather than following a socially constructed role. Family is the first agent of socialization. There is considerable evidence that parents socialize sons and daughters differently.
Generally speaking, girls are given more latitude to step outside of their prescribed gender role Coltrane and Adams ; Kimmel ; Raffaelli and Ontai However, differential socialization typically results in greater privileges afforded to boys. They may be given fewer restrictions on appropriate clothing, dating habits, or curfew.
Sons are also often free from performing domestic duties such as cleaning or cooking and other household tasks that are considered feminine. Daughters are limited by their expectation to be passive, nurturing, and generally obedient, and to assume many of the domestic responsibilities.
Even when parents set gender equality as a goal, there may be underlying indications of inequality. For example, when dividing up household chores, boys may be asked to take out the garbage or perform other tasks that require strength or toughness, while girls may be asked to fold laundry or perform duties that require neatness and care. It has been found that fathers are firmer in their expectations for gender conformity than are mothers, and their expectations are stronger for sons than they are for daughters Kimmel This is true in many types of activities, including preference of toys, play styles, discipline, chores, and personal achievements.
It should be noted that parental socialization and normative expectations vary along lines of social class, race, and ethnicity. Research in the United States has shown that African American families, for instance, are more likely than Caucasians to model an egalitarian role structure for their children Staples and Boulin Johnson The reinforcement of gender roles and stereotypes continues once a child reaches school age.
Until very recently, schools were rather explicit in their efforts to stratify boys and girls. The first step toward stratification was segregation. Girls were encouraged to take home economics or humanities courses and boys to take shop, math, and science courses. Studies suggest that gender socialization still occurs in schools today, perhaps in less obvious forms Lips Teachers may not even realize that they are acting in ways that reproduce gender-differentiated behaviour patterns.
Yet, any time they ask students to arrange their seats or line up according to gender, teachers are asserting that boys and girls should be treated differently Thorne Even in levels as low as kindergarten, schools subtly convey messages to girls indicating that they are less intelligent or less important than boys. For example, in a study involving teacher responses to male and female students, data indicated that teachers praised male students far more than their female counterparts.
Additionally, teachers interrupted girls more and gave boys more opportunities to expand on their ideas Sadker and Sadker Further, in social as well as academic situations, teachers have traditionally positioned boys and girls oppositionally—reinforcing a sense of competition rather than collaboration Thorne Boys are also permitted a greater degree of freedom regarding rule-breaking or minor acts of deviance, whereas girls are expected to follow rules carefully and to adopt an obedient posture Ready Mimicking the actions of significant others is the first step in the development of a separate sense of self Mead Like adults, children become agents who actively facilitate and apply normative gender expectations to those around them.
When children do not conform to the appropriate gender role, they may face negative sanctions such as being criticized or marginalized by their peers. Though many of these sanctions are informal, they can be quite severe.
Boys, especially, are subject to intense ridicule for gender nonconformity Coltrane and Adams ; Kimmel Mass media serves as another significant agent of gender socialization. In television and movies, women tend to have less significant roles and are often portrayed as wives or mothers. When women are given a lead role, they are often one of two extremes: a wholesome, saint-like figure or a malevolent, hypersexual figure Etaugh and Bridges Research indicates that of the top-grossing G-rated movies released between and , three out of four characters were male.
Out of those movies, only seven were near being gender balanced, with a character ratio of less than 1. Television commercials and other forms of advertising also reinforce inequality and gender-based stereotypes. Women are almost exclusively present in ads promoting cooking, cleaning, or child care—related products Davis Think about the last time you saw a man star in a dishwasher or laundry detergent commercial. In general, women are underrepresented in roles that involve leadership, intelligence, or a balanced psyche.
Of particular concern is the depiction of women in ways that are dehumanizing, especially in music videos. Even in mainstream advertising, however, themes intermingling violence and sexuality are quite common Kilbourne Social Stratification and Inequality Stratification refers to a system in which groups of people experience unequal access to basic, yet highly valuable, social resources.
Canada is characterized by gender stratification as well as stratification of race, income, occupation, and the like. Evidence of gender stratification is especially keen within the economic realm.
I also enjoy the article, short though it is, for touching on a number of related points which only serve to underline the way in which 'food studies' is a great connector of human behaviours in vast series of activities, so in a couple of hundred years we visit ancient Greece, medieval Europe, 19th-century haute cuisine, the poor of Paris and the modern cook in the normal household.
I confess the entry is open to criticism for not extending its remit to other cultures than the West, for example not touching on doniburi in Japan, but this perversely reinforces my affection for the piece as it indicates just how infinitely extensible the Companion format can be and how from small beginnings giant castles can arise. What do you think is the most commonly held misconception in your subject area?
My response to this is that there are two allied misconceptions: in the first place that the best, or even the only, cooking worth talking about is French haute cuisine and its supporting act cuisine bourgeoise, and in the second that gastronomy meant as a shorthand word for fat or portly people sitting seriously round an expensive table tasting and commenting on very expensive food is the most significant touchstone for people interested in food and cookery.
The Companion is not too sympathetic to the gastronomic viewpoint. Alan Davidson was healthily sceptical of any hint of pomposity or self-importance and remained open to influence by many cultures while studiously avoiding any false hierarchy of the senses, on the one hand, or of culinary worth. If it was eaten, it had its own value, whatever it might be. The time when we shared a perception of cookery as a top-down activity: the elite disseminating its tastes and values to the masses, is now long past and I think the Companion has played its part in this broadening of appreciation although notwithstanding it has been occasionally criticised for excessive attention to Western affairs.
Foodways and food culture are subjects worth studying for their own sake, without interposing an arbitrary point of view such as that with pays constant homage to France. That country's culinary heritage may have been accorded UNESCO protection, but it is only one amongst many that deserve our attention. I would be intrigued to ask the 18th-century English cookery writer Hannah Glasse to dine with me.