This week’s readings and videos examine the idea of the “gender binary” in which some societies favor the idea that there are two (and only two) distinct and opposite genders. The material this week however challenge the idea that the male-female binary is “what nature gives us”. For Part One discuss the following using references or ideas from the reading, PowerPoint, and video to support your answers:
1. What do the materials we have seen so far tell us about sex and gender? (what is the difference between these terms?)
2. What is the gender binary and what are “gender binary glasses”? How do these “glasses” impact our worldview?
3. How do the the stories of Ho’onani and Kuma Hina from “A Place in the Middle” demonstrate the impacts of gender binaries on individuals and cultures? How do these compare with the teachings of Native Hawaiian culture in which identity is fluid and valued?
4. Explore the map of gender diverse cultures (Links to an external site.) and “In the Middle” Across Cultures PowerPoint.Actions Choose one culture and briefly discuss their gender ideology and how it compares to an ideology of gender binary. Please try choose a culture that has not already been discussed by other students. (there may be some repeats but should be few) That means if you post early, you have first choice!
The film explains that, “In the Hawaiian language, kane means male and wahine means female. But ancient Hawaiians recognized that some people are simply not one or the other”. As we are learning this week, some societies currently have (and have had) more than two sexes and/or genders, highlighting the way in which gender is socially constructed. For your response, please take a look at the culture discussed at the bottom of this page that is different from the one you chose. In your reply discuss the following:
1. How does gender ideology in the culture your classmate discussed compare to gender in the one you chose? (What is similar and what is different?) How does it compare to US culture and an ideology of binary gender?
2. What does it mean to say that gender is a social construct?
3. What cultural, historical, and/or biological evidence led scholars to conclude that gender is a social construct? What evidence do you see in the culture discussed by your classmate?
4. Is there anything you have seen in your own life that could be used as evidence that gender is a social construct? Why or why not?
“(The culture I chose to discuss is the Skoptsy (Russia) which was a Christian religious sect with extreme views on sex and gender. The community, discovered in 1771 in Western Russia, believed that Adam and Eve had had halves of the forbidden fruit grafted onto their bodies in the form of testicles and breasts. Therefore, they routinely castrated male children and amputated the breasts of women to return themselves to the state prior to original sin. Sex, vanity, beauty, and lust were considered the root of evil. this compares to a gender binary in which they grouped the religious views on everybody in the world and took it upon themselves to take body parts off somebody because they felt it was the right thing)”