Ch 10 – Sociology (Gender and Age)

-biological characteristics that distinguish males from females.
-biologically inherited
primary sex characteristics
-reproductive organs(penis and vagina)
-social behaviors and attitudes considered proper for males and females
-socially learned
-opens and closes the door to property, power, and prestige.
Dominant Position in Sociology
-Social Factors are the reason people do what they do
-ideas of gender vary greatly from one culture to another, as well as male female positions
minority group
-discriminated against on the basis of of physical or cultural characteristics, regardless of their numbers
-even though they outnumber males, females are the minority group
How did females become a minority group?
-origin of patriarchy-> men dominating society
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Females(origins of global inequality)
short life spans->many births->childcare and housework->taken for granted work
Males(origins of global inequality)
worked away from home->interacted with other tribes->weapons, items of trade, knowledge->prestige and power
the view that biology is not destiny and that stratification by gender is wrong and should be resisted
-met with strong opposition by men who had privilege to lose and women who accepted their statuses as morally correct
1st Wave of Women’s Movement
-radical vs conservative
-Conservative branch won the right to vote in the 1920s and the movement dissolved shortly after
2nd Wave of Women’s Movement
-protest against gender inequalities
-equal pay
-reform policies on violence against women
3rd Wave of Women’s Movement
-problems of women in least industrialized nations
-reform values in industrialized nations
-womens sexual pleasure
Gender Inequality in Education
– women outnumber men in college enrollment, bachelors degrees, and masters degrees
-college enrollment gap varies by race
Pay Gap
-men start and remain at higher salaries in all Industrialized Nations
-gender tracking/college degrees
-gender discrimination/child penalty
Violence and Sexual Harassment
-Assaulters/harassers are usually male
-Victims are usually female
-Most rape victims know their attackers
-Only 5% of rape victims inform police
-women outnumber men voters
-men outnumber women in political office
-women gaining ground, they have more freedom to pursue individual interests regardless of gender
Social Construction of Aging
-nothing natural about our views toward aging
-defined by culture not biology
-attitudes about aging are rooted in society and differ from one cultural group to the other
Industrialization and Global Graying
-industrialized countries have higher percentage of elderly
-How can nations afford to support their growing elderly population without burdening future generations with impossible taxes?
Graying of America
-refers to the growing percentage of older people in the US population
life span
maximum length of life possible
-hasn’t increased
life expectancy
the number of years people can expect to live
-increased 30 years
The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
-in the early US society old age was regarded positively; seen as having knowledge about work skills and great wisdom. Th elderly lost honorable distinction due to industrialization.
-mass production->made young workers as productive as elderly
-mass education->stripped away elderly’s superior knowledge
disengagement theory (functionalist perspective)
pensions get the elderly to disengage from their positions and hand them over to younger people. Retirement, then, is a mutually beneficial arrangement between two parts of society.
-instead of disengaging, the retired exchange one set of roles for another
activity theory (functionalist perspective)
Are intimate activities more satisfying than formal ones?
-research has discovered that this varies by person
continuity theory (functionalist perspective)
elderly continues their ties with the past
-when they retire, many people take on new roles that are similar to the ones they gave up
-people who take on multiple roles are better equipped to handle aging
-people from higher social classes adjust better to the challenges of aging.
Social Security Legislation (conflict perspective)
-social security law required that workers retire by age 65 to provide jobs for the younger generation but congress eliminated the mandatory retirement and made it voluntary.
-90% of Americans still retire by 65.
Intergenerational Competition and Conflict (conflict perspective)
-60% of tax dollars is spent on social security and medicare
-although this has lessened elderly poverty, it has increased child poverty.