Image from Drawn and Quarterly
We commonly differentiate ‘sex’ as biological identity, from ‘gender,’ which is the cultural, social, and psychological differences between males and females. Gender then refers to the patterns we associate with men and women in a cultural context. The relationship between sex and gender often seen as direct or compulsory, but is socially constructed. As I’ve previously posted, the Gender Unicorn illustrates the difference between gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, physical attraction, and emotional attraction.
Recently, Germany has recognized a third gender for intersex people. As I’ve previously posted, intersex people “do not fit the typical definition of male or female… biological characteristics.” Theorist Judith Butler argues gender is performative in that it “produces a series of effects” that “consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman.” We are not born as men and women, but that it is in social interaction that gender identities are reproduced.
Other terms that have entered the general vernacular around gender include ‘cisgender’ and ‘transgender’ people. Cisgender people are those whose sex assigned at birth does correspond with their gender identity. Transgender people are those whose sex assigned at birth does not correspond with their gender identity. Because transgender people encounter intolerance and violence, gender performance can be complex.
It is becoming more common for young people to identify as gender ‘non binary,’ meaning they do not identify as male or female, or ‘non conforming,’ meaning their gender expression does not correspond with the cultural expectations of their respective gender. A study recently found that 27% of teenagers in California are gender nonconforming. In Oregon and California, residents can legally identify as non binary on drivers licenses and state documents. In 2017, a baby in Canada became the first to have the gender status of ‘unassigned’ or ‘undetermined’ on their health records. Some celebrities, such as musician Sam Smith and actress Amandla Stenberg, have also come out as gender non binary.
I previously posted a reference to campus gun policies in relation to relative deviance and sex. Relative deviance is when behavior is defined as deviant in a cultural context. Restated, how we define deviance is dependent upon both when/time and where/culture. With the recent school shooting in Florida, activists are mobilizing around changing gun laws. Various sources are making cultural comparisons to point to the duality of Americans’ views on guns.
Transgender people’s rights:
image from Feminist News
Sanitary and sexual products, in an ad campaign from EVOLVE:
images from Upworthy
image from Feminist News
Humanitarian crisis around disease:
video from Sunday with Lubach, a comedy news parody television show in the Netherlands.
image from Cagle by cartoonist Jeff Parker for Florida Today and Fort Myers News-Press
And with campus issues specifically, such as lab safety:
image from MadBiologist on reddit
One of the core questions raised in sociology is are we determined by society or do we determine society? Comedian Tom Ballard interviewed journalist Stan Grant on his podcast Like I’m A Six-Year-Old. In the second half of this episode (122) arguments of structure and agency arise around Aboriginal people’s rights and treatment in Australia. Within the interview the two also discuss assimilation, defining a nation’s history, and the role of media in politics.
image from Tom Ballard’s website
The episode can be found at the above link or here: 122 – Stan Grant (Live At Yack Festival) Pt. 1
A not – exhaustive list of some songs before 1980 that reference LGBTQ people and issues. (*Needless to say, these should all be contextualized for their relative milieu. Some are direct in their topic, others oblique. These are not necessarily advocacy or activist related songs and can contain tokenizing and stereotypical characterizations.)
Gene Malin – “I’d Rather Be Spanish than Manish,” 1932
Troy Walker – “Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe,” 1962
Van Morrison – “Madame George,” 1968
Lou Reed – “Candy Says,” 1969
The Kinks – “Lola,” 1970
Madeline Davis – “Stonewall Nation,” 1971
David Bowie – “John, I’m Only Dancing,” 1972
Jobriath – “I’m A Man,” 1973
Chris Robinson – “Looking for a Boy Tonight,” 1973
The Miracles – “Ain’t Nobody Straight in LA,” 1975
Valentino – “I Was Born This Way,” 1975
Rod Stewart – “The Killing of Georgie,” 1976
Sylvester – “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real,” 1978
The Village People – “YMCA,” 1978
Tom Robinson – “Glad To Be Gay,” 1978
Bonus spoken word:
Rae Bourbon – “Let Me Tell You About My Operation,” 1956
In the 2016, the Trump campaign accused Hillary Clinton of lacking “stamina,” being “nasty,” not looking presidential, and stated that she was unable to “satisfy” her husband, and therefore would be unable to “satisfy” America. Though an increasing number of Americans might say they are open to voting for a female president, it is inarguable that some of the anti Clinton rhetoric was rooted in sexism.