Diablog 2 Follow up

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In the article "Queer Theory, Gender Theory" by Riki Wilchins it mentions that "somewhere in the 18th century, sex as we know it was invented" (Laqueur 83). How is sex, as we know it and how was it in the past before the 18th century? Many people believe that sex is natural but how come in today's society we have to learn about what sex is? As said in the article "sex is not just about reproduction, it is not about genes, XY chromosomes and hormones either. Sex is introduced to explain skeletal structure, mental aptitude, and posture... "(85) How can sex be used to explain skeletal structure but not hormones and genes? In addition a question that came up while I was reading these articles was: Why is it that men were made by society to be masculine and not feminine? The history or origin of this I think begins with gender roles. These roles have even influenced how the medical society views males and females sperm as discussed earlier in prior blogs was seen as "heroic" and eggs a disappointment (88). Why is this though, why are "the testes are Marines on Paris Island, the ovaries are all inventory problems and K-Mart?" In order for reproduction to occur both are equally important in fact because females are given the number of eggs at birth and males have an abundance amount of sperm why is the egg not valued more? In my opinion if this was the way gender roles originated and the stereotypes of women and men started than why is the woman not viewed as inferior?

3 Comments

First I believe it is important to understand the concept of gender stereotypes. In my opinion Gender stereotypes are simply conventionally simplified and a standardized conception/ image concerning the typical roles of males and females. These stereotypes come from a society that has “deemed” what is appropriate for men and women. Historically it is recognized that society had “deemed” females and domestic while men where given authority. However in certain cultures such as the Chinese culture males and females were viewed as opposites that complete one another. Although they are viewed as completing one another I found it interesting how this article viewed males and females, the article titled “Gender Stereotypes” explains how the Chinese labeled them as Yin and Yang. Where “yin represents the female, the negative, the darkness and softness” and yang represented “the positive, brightness and hardness.” Although the Yin and Yang gave each other balance the stereotypes of both were far from equal. This was just something I found interesting and thought it related to this topic. The article had no author but this is the link to it http://people.unt.edu/jw0109/misc/stereotype.htm

I find it interesting the concept of Yin and Yang within Chinese culture. Even though it seems that they try to incorporate balance between the genders, the half the represents female still seem to be viewed in negative light with language such as "negative" and "darkness." This in turn seems to reinforce the stereotypes already in place rather then bring the two genders into harmony. The same could be seen with males with words such as "positive" and "brightness." It could almost be seen as the male half brings more to the wholeness of the yin and yang concept because there was no male half, the only thing left is negative and darkness. In the same vein, if we look at the male half, even without the female half, the male is still viewed as "positive" and "bright." These are just some things that keep the gender stereotypes in cycle.

The original post mentions this idea of "learning what sex is" compared to pre-18th century of not even having a sex. So it is from this information that I being to realize where all of our stereotyping of the female and male body come from. This notion of learning what sex is and learning how a female is supposed to act or how a male is supposed to act or what roles they are supposed to play within society. It would be very interesting to go back to that time before people "invented" sex. If there was no roles to be defined and no images that have to be followed I wonder how people interacted. In todays world we have these clear cut lines of how people are supposed to act out their individual role as a gender or sex and it is interesting to think about how we "learned" about sex and also about how we most likely learned it in a heteronormative fashion.

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