Variation:
Culture & Biology, Gender & Sex
1. Sex versus gender
2. Intermediate sexes and developmental issues
3. “Third genders”
4. Gender as a linguistic category
5. Transgender/transsex
1. Sex versus gender
We have been talking about the relationship between biological
variations in the realm of race to cultural variations; a key biological
difference recognized in virtually every culture is sex.
Classic definitions within anthropology:
sex = the biologically-based differentiation between male and
female.
gender = culturally prescribed differentiation between roles
grounded in the biological differentiation between the
sexes.
This distinction still widely accepted but more recently challenged.
We’ll use it as working distinction to be investigated.
Biological differences
between the sexes:
Categorical
• Different genitalia
• Cyclical versus non-cyclical
brain (I.e., menstruating
versus non)
Statistical
• Body hair
• Stature
• Skin color
• Voice pitch
What do the biological differences have to do with roles
and statuses?
• anthropologists observed that, in society after society, where there
is a gender-based distinction of subsistence activities between
hunting and gathering, it is the men who tend to hunt, the women
who tend to gather. Is there a biological basis for this cultural
distinction? Yes. However, culture can overturn it.
• in society after society, where there is a distinction along gender
lines between child-care-givers and non-care-givers, it is the women
who tend to be the care-givers.
What is a “role” anyway?
Role = bundle of rights, duties, and expectations;
• right = what you can demand of others;
• duty = what you must do in relation
to others;
• expectation = how you should be;
Status = a position (associated with a role)
within a structure of such positions;
Recruitment = rule for selecting who
occupies what status
How are you
expected to conduct
yourself if you are
“male” or “female”?
Are you “male” or
“female”?
How did you get to
be “male” or
“female”?
Do biological propensities explain the existence of gender
roles and statuses?
Do biological propensities explain the existence of gender
roles and statuses?
Rights, duties, and expectations refer to socially recognized ideas
about proper comportment. Biological characteristics of stature,
strength, etc. are clinally distributed. Why try to impose a duty on
someone or expect something of them if that is not their tendency
independently of the cultural rule?
Do biological propensities explain the existence of gender
roles and statuses?
Rights, duties, and expectations refer to socially recognized ideas
about proper comportment. Biological characteristics of stature,
strength, etc. are clinally distributed. Why try to impose a duty on
someone or expect something of them if that is not their tendency
independently of the cultural rule?
Also, observe that many of the gender role rights, duties, and
expectations (about clothing, hairstyle, body ornamentation, speech
patterns) are so variable as to indicate that they have no biological
basis. Yet cultures are interested in those aspects of gender roles as
well.
Conclusion: the biological differentiation between males and
females does not explain the existence of socially recognized
gender roles. We need another kind of explanation for those
roles, if indeed we find that there are near universal distinctions
between male and female genders in different cultures.
Conclusion: the biological differentiation between males and
females does not explain the existence of socially recognized
gender roles. We need another kind of explanation for those
roles, if indeed we find that there are near universal distinctions
between male and female genders in different cultures.
Gender distinctions are, in part, a mechanism for organizing
the complexity of individual differences into a small number of
social actors (for example, males and females, though we’ll
complicate this later). It then becomes a simpler task to
conceptualize how those few actors can be put together to form
a cohesive collectivity (for example, through sex and marriage
as social glue).
Gender role orientation
Males
=
Females
Gender role orientation
At the same time, it is possible to see why, if people are
divided up into exclusive categories of males and females (i.e.,
if the cultural categorization is taken as a prior condition), it
makes sense to attribute to males those expectations which are
in keeping with average male biology, and to females those
expectations in keeping with average female biology.
At the same time, it is possible to see why, if people are
divided up into exclusive categories of males and females (i.e.,
if the cultural categorization is taken as a prior condition), it
makes sense to attribute to males those expectations which are
in keeping with average male biology, and to females those
expectations in keeping with average female biology.
Culture could assign the expectations in the opposite way
(male gender role expectations to female biology; female
gender expectations to male biology), but this would be
relatively harder, that is, it would require relatively more
cultural inculcation of the roles. Therefore, it is relatively
easier to assign gender role expectations in accord with the
average biological propensities of males and females.
However, because role
expectations are assigned to
gender statuses on the basis of
typical (or mean) biological
characteristics, while the
characteristics themselves are
distributed clinally, it still
requires cultural inculcation to
get individuals to conform to
the expected norms.
2. Intermediate sexes and developmental issues
In contemporary U.S., we speak of an individual as being either
male or female. That is, there are two gender statuses. How do
individuals come to occupy one of those statuses?
Typically by externally observable genitalia; traditionally this was
determined at birth; now have ultrasounds through which the fetus
in utero can be can be observed; can refer to this principle of
recruitment to gender status as phenotypic sex.
Typically by externally observable genitalia; traditionally this was
determined at birth; now have ultrasounds through which the fetus
in utero can be can be observed; can refer to this principle of
recruitment to gender status as phenotypic sex.
However, also have amniocentesis, as well as other tests through
which genetic composition can be ascertained; this allows
determination of genotypic sex, and we’ll be interested in this
distinction.
However, phenotypic sex is not always automatically determined
by genotypic sex.
Stage 1: Embryo development after fertilization through
approximately day 40 of gestation; genotypic sex is lacking
phenotypic manifestations;
Stage 2: [Only in genotypic males with the Y chromosome]; Y
chromosome contains a gene that codes for H-Y antigen; this
allows for the development of the sexually undifferentiated
structures in the direction of male testes;
Stage 3: [Only in genotypic males with the Y chromosome]; Testes
secrete hormones (androgens) that prevent the internal
development of the uterus and vagina. The external genitalia of
males and females derive from the same primitive phallus, with the
clitoris the analogue of the penis. Development of the penis
depends on the presence of the male hormones.
So Y chromosome contains gene coding for H-Y antigen;
H-Y antigen enables development of the testes;
Testes secrete hormones (androgens) which:
1. Suppress uterine development;
2. Stimulate external male genitalia.
Many things can cause phenotypic development to
diverge from this model:
If you castrate a normal XY male in utero, it will develop as a
phenotypic female;
If a developing XY male is insensitive to androgen, it will develop
as a phenotypic female;
If a developing XX female is exposed to high levels of androgen, it
will develop in the direction of a phenotypic male;
Etc.
Add to these developmental possibilities various genetic outcomes
that diverge from the normal XX or XY mode, for example:
Klinefelter’s syndrome: XXY or XY/XXY mosaic;
Turner’s syndrome: X or XX/X mosaic;
True hermaphroditism: XX or XY or mosaic, but both testes and ova
develop;
It is evident that even phenotypic sex is, in some measure,
clinally distributed. There are phenotypes that are
intermediate between male and female;
• total incidence of intermediate types unknown, because so
much secrecy surrounds them in the contemporary U.S. and
Europe, and because it is impossible to draw precise
boundaries in the case of hormonal effects, producing
different sizes and shapes of genitalia;
• medical practice in the U.S. has varied, but has regularly
involved making a choice between whether the child should
be male or female.
• surgical and other procedures developed and used to try to
align biological sex with a dichotomous, culturallyconstituted gender system.
3. Third genders?
A question we have to pose as anthropologists is whether the two-gender
system found in the contemporary U.S. and Europe is universal.
Considerable debate over this issue, but in the last twenty years mounting
research that many other cultures have developed what appear to be
“third genders,” that is, a gender status that is neither male nor female,
but something in between.
What is interesting for present purposes, because it demonstrates the
cultural character of gender as role, is that these third genders may be
recruited through choice. That is, individuals born with the genitalia
associated with biological male or female sex choose to be in the third
gender.
In some, but not all, cases this involves surgically altering the genitalia.
Now evidence on thirds genders from many areas around the world,
although the concept is still being debated. I’ll mention only two:
1. Hijras of India;
2. “Two-spirits” (also called berdaches) found traditionally
in North American Indian communities.
The Hijras are found especially in Northern India;
They may be born with ambiguous genitalia, or they may be males
who undergo surgery to remove their penis and their testicles.
However, they do not undergo surgical procedure to form a vagina.
They are associated with the Mother Goddess, Bahuchara Mata, whom
they worship and serve. Evidence of their culturally-recognized status.
They are also ceremonial performers after the birth of a child, for
weddings, and at temple festivals.
There is even a mythological explanation of their origin.
Here is one such origin myth of the Hijras, told by Hindu from South
India (from Nanda, Serena, Neither Man Nor Woman, Wadsworth
Publishing Co., 1999, p. 13):
[Ram’s] father commanded Ram to leave Ayodhya [his native city] and
go into the forest for 14 years. As he went, the whole city followed him
because they loved him so. As Ram came to the banks of the river at the
edge of the forest, he turned to the people and said, “Ladies and gents,
please wipe your tears and go away.” But those people who were not
men and not women did not know what to do. So they stayed there
because Ram did not ask them to go. They remained there 14 years and
when Ram returned from Lanka he found those people there, all
meditating. And so they were blessed by Ram.
“Two-spirits” found in traditional North American Indian
communities;
• Different from S. Asian third gender;
• No genital surgery; most are phenotypic males who choose the twospirit role;
• May marry and carry on responsibilities of a wife, though they are
distinguished from females;
[On-line photos can be found at Will Roscoe’s website.]
1895 photo of
Charlie Weaver,
Navajo (right)
with friend.
We'wha
(Zuni)
demonstrating
weaving on
the Mall in
Washington,
D.C.
Mask of Ko'lhamana, Zuni two-spirit kachina
FindsThem-andKillsThem
(Crow),
1928
He’emane’o, Cheyenne male two-spirits (on right), leading the scalp dance
Cheyenne
hetaneman
or female
two-spirit
in a ledger
drawing
ca. 1889
4. Gender as a linguistic category
Gender roles manifest themselves in languages around the world in
different ways. American English, differences between male and
female speech in:
• pitch contours;
• turn-taking in conversation;
• the pronunciation of certain sounds, e.g., [s]
• word choices
Etc.
In other languages, find situations where:
• A special morpheme is applied to words to indicate whether the
speaker is male or female;
• There are alternate vocabularies depending on whether the speaker is
male or female;
• In some bilingual situations, especially with linguistic exogamy,
husbands and wives may speak different languages; they mark their
differences by the language they speak.
Considerable amount of recent research on language and gender issues,
which we cannot even begin to review here. Want to mention only one issue,
which many of you will be aware of: gender as a grammatical category of
nouns.
“the” sing. masc.
French:
Spanish:
Portuguese
German
le
el
o
der
“the” sing. fem.
la
la
a
die
“the” neuter
das
These are called noun classifiers. Every noun has to occur with one of the
classifiers. English lacks them. Some languages, like Navajo, have an
elaborate classifier system: “long objects,” “round objects,” “containers,”
etc.
These are called noun classifiers. Every noun has to occur with one of
the classifiers. English lacks them. Some languages, like Navajo, have
an elaborate classifier system: “long objects,” “round objects,”
“containers,” etc.
These are called noun classifiers. Every noun has to occur with one of
the classifiers. English lacks them. Some languages, like Navajo, have
an elaborate classifier system: “long objects,” “round objects,”
“containers,” etc.
“Male” and “female” are only two possibilities for noun classifiers; not
found in every language that has classifiers, and many languages lack
classifiers altogether. So gender as a grammatical category of nouns is
not the norm. However, it is common in Indo-European languages, like
French and German and Russian, etc.
Important point: There is a general correlation between grammatical
gender and gender roles or biological sex. For example, in French, you
do say la femme (the woman) and le homme or (l’homme) (“the man”),
and you say le roi (the king) and la reine (“the queen”). However, the
correlation is not perfect. French, for example, assigns grammatical
gender to nouns that have no gender role or biological sex correlates.
For example, la pierre (“the stone”), which is categorized as feminine.
And then there are some gender contradictions: for example sentinelle
(“sentry” or “guard,” a typically masculine gender role) has feminine
grammatical gender. And modele (“model,” as in “fashion model”), an
archetypally feminine role, takes masculine grammatical gender. In fact,
much of the grammatical gender ascriptions have more to do with the
phonological shape of words (e.g., nouns ending in “ion” with feminine)
than with gender roles or biological sex.
Gender role
(Culture)
Gender grammatical category
(Language)
Genetic or phenotypic sex
(biology)
5. Transgender/transsex
The idea in the contemporary U.S. is that everyone should be of one
or the other of two sexes, one or the other of two genders. What
happens when people feel that they don’t fit the gender or the sex to
which they have been assigned?
The experience of not fitting has been labeled gender dysphoria.
Resultant idea: people with gender or sex dysphoria should change
their gender or sex.
Transvestites: dressing in accord with the clothes and make-up of
the gender opposite to which one has been assigned by virtue of
phenotypic sex.
Transsexual: person who desires to be of the opposite sex to that
assigned to them by virtue of their phenotype, and who usually
undergoes sexual reassignment surgery.
CHERYL
I started college and tried my best
to fit in with the other males in my
group. I made lots of new friends
there and enjoyed college very
much. All through this time I took
my crossdressing no further, I still
dressed in private but only on my
own. I longed to be able to have
the confidence to meet and have
other friends like myself. I had
friends, but only those who did not
know the real me so you can never
perhaps be as open with them as
you would like to be.
CLAIRE
I went to college at 16 to study
mechanical and electrical
engineering and soon joined a
group of girls called Katie's
gang who I would sit with and
go out with in the evenings. The
all male class that I was a part
of would sometimes spray me
with perfume usually obtained
from a member of Katie's gang.
I wasn't exactly bullied just
noticed for my differences. We
had an Arab in the class who
was very likable, he had a
brother called Talal who fancied
me and called me 'xaneth' (it
means boy-girl). I declined his
offers although he did buy me
my first alcoholic drink in pub.
I found that the gender dysphoria got the better of me
around 1989 when I was 32, I could no longer
pretend to be feminine for a laugh as I had done all my life.
I became very depressed and would go to the
TV/TS group in London on a Wednesday afternoon telling
my wife I had a London chauffeur job. It didn't
really help and I went to my GP who arranged an
appointment with a local psychiatrist who was fascinated
but unhelpful. I then told my wife one evening, she was
devastated, here was her 6'7" fifteen stone
husband telling her that he had wanted to be woman all his
life and had been to a psychiatrist. We had two
young sons and I was the only breadwinner. Our
relationship changed overnight I was not allowed to touch
her anymore.
Concluding question to ponder: Is the two-sex, two-gender
dichotomy natural or better adapted than the three (or more)
gender or sex model?
Descargar

No Slide Title