Intersections Of Race And Gender Sociology Essay

1552 words (6 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Sociology Reference this

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Gender identity originates from the experiences of our lives and these experiences differ not only based on gender but also by other factors such as race and class. These identities are formed under the narrow structures of stereotypes, which are created as a “system of social control” (Andersen 311). The interactions between race and gender create stereotypes about men and women. An analysis in Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society by Margaret L. Andersen and Howard F. Taylor and Jacquelynne S. Eccles’ article “Gender Role Stereotypes, Expectancy Effects, and Parents’ Socialization of Gender Differences” reveals that gender intersects with race, thus proving that manhood and womanhood emerge due to systems of prejudice and discrimination that are inextricably intertwined with race, class, and gender.

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Gender is part of our social structure, just as race and class are. When applied to Camara Phyllis Jones’ article, “The Gardener’s Tale,” men are the red flowers and women are the pink. From the moment of birth, men and women are put into different pots. These pots symbolize socialization because the separation affects the course that a man or woman’s life will take. However, institutionalized sexism causes the options to be distinct. Jacquelynne Eccles of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan suggests that parents are role models. Actions as simple as giving a toy truck to a little boy and a Barbie to a little girl can help develop a child’s gender identity. If a child grows up with a mother who is very athletic, she is more likely to view sports as a normal part of being a girl. The same idea can apply to a boy; if he sees his dad treating his mom kindly, he is less likely to abuse his own wife. Personally mediated sexism revolves around the concept of omission. This can be seen when men are given “power, prestige and economic resources” for they are believed to become the next world leaders, doctors, businessmen, engineers, and scientists (Andersen 315). Women grow up wearing frilly pink dresses and are taught to be gentle and remain at home. They are excluded or discouraged from entering certain schools or career paths because they are expected to not have the capacity to exceed in certain fields. Lastly, there is internalized sexism, which can be seen in early adolescence. This once again reintegrates Eccles statement of how parents play a critical role in influencing their children’s social “self-perceptions, interests, and skill acquisition” (Eccles 184). Early adolescence is when people begin noticing the existence of gender differences and believing in them. Young women, generally, view themselves as having a lower math ability in comparison to young men. They go on to “express less interest…in studying mathematics and in entering math-related professions” (Eccles 184). Females do believe that they are more competent in English that their male counterparts and males believe their “athletic competence” is greater than a female’s (Eccles 184).

Gender inequality does not exist in its own sphere. It coincides with race and class inequality. As M.P.P Root questions, is it possible to “separate the gendered experiences from the racial existence” (Root 162)? Latinas and African American women are discriminated by both race and gender and even possibly by class. White men, usually, are given more power; however, this does not apply to Latino men. Tim Wise, a White man, explains that he had experienced this unearned privilege. Growing up, he was given the benefit of the doubt if he did not succeed. African American men felt a weight on their shoulders for if they did not succeed, then they would be proving the stereotype, African Americans are inferior to Whites, true.

Gender identity incorporates racial identity. Females are taught from a young age to have characteristics of femininity that include a nurturing yet confident personality. They should seek higher education and a career. However, African American women, compared to White women, have a greater likelihood of declaring their independence. This aspiration may come from the fact that their mothers were often career orientated women who relied on themselves. Males are also affected by their racial identity. Latino men are almost expected to embody the stereotype of “machismo,” – exaggerated masculinity – which is associated with sexist actions and “honor, dignity, and respect” (Andersen 313). Despite the existence of such behaviors, the relationship between Latino men and women is “multidimensional” (Andersen 313). These families are egalitarian so the decisions are made by both the men and the women. African American men are also subjected to certain associations such as “accountability to family” and “self-determination” (Andersen 313). As they mature, they in turn put a greater stress on themselves to be the breadwinner.

People acknowledge that race includes systems of privilege and inequality, yet they do not realize that gender is also controlled by the same systems. Women are generally at a disadvantage when compared to men in aspects such as access to “economic and political resources” (Andersen 315). Women are denied an opportunity for achievement, influence, and independence. Gendered institutions are the cause of the different experiences of men and women. In a career that is dominated by men, women are “treated like outsiders” and seen as tokens (Andersen 314). Men, on the contrary, continue to rise to a higher position because they are viewed as more important and the career advancement may simply come from connecting and spending more time with their superiors. Women are not given these opportunities to spend time with their superiors whether it be inside or outside work. The income of an employed woman is less than that of an employed man. However, when analyzed among Hispanics and African Americans, the woman’s income is approximately the same as the man’s. Furthermore, gendered institutions build toward gender roles, which can be defined as “learned patterns” of behavior associated with “being a man or a woman” (Andersen 314). Nonetheless, in recent years, there has been a shifting of gender roles. Women are no longer presumed to be the keepers of the house and do “women’s work” and men are working as nurses and primary school teachers and they celebrate a woman’s accomplishments instead of expecting it to diminish their own. These advancements and the crossing of gender boundaries also bring about drawbacks such as the questioning of one’s “true gender identity” (Andersen 321).

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The roles that both men and women fall into are not random but rather are conditioned by the “social context of their experiences” (Andersen 313). Experiences are affirmed by race, class, and gender standing. Each exhibits different effects, depending on a person’s location in the interconnection of “gender, race, and class relations” (Andersen 323). Males and females identify with certain gender expectations. This involves the issue of conformity. Males take risks that can lead to greater violence and all because of the “cultural definition of masculinity” (Andersen 311). However, it is both gender and race that further emphasize stereotypes. African American men are stigmatized as being “hyper masculine and oversexed” while Latinos are “macho” (Andersen 312). Jews, on the other hand, are viewed as being simply “intellectual” but “asexual” (Andersen 312). Woman, similarly, conform to their environment and the stereotypes of their race. As David R. Williams and Chiquita Collins state in their article, “Racial Segregation: A Fundamental Cause of Racial Disparities in Health,” it is from this segregation that African Americans lose employment access and thus income. It is no surprise that this social inequality develops into the stereotype of African American women being “welfare queens” (Andersen 312). Residential segregation also introduces class. Even the “White race” has its own distinct boundaries. Working-class white women are perceived as “slutty,” while those of the over-class are “frigid and cold” (Andersen 312). Experiences of race and gender socialization do interact with one another to create today’s societal norms.

To be truly able to comprehend the different stratifications among men and women begins with considering how gender structures social experiences. Race, gender, and class are all nuances that affect a person’s life. Sometimes, either race, gender, or class may be the primary identity, but together each places a mark on the experiences of a person. This is why I have come to conclude that though race, gender, and class are different, they are “interrelated dimensions” in our social structure (Andersen 323).

Gender identity originates from the experiences of our lives and these experiences differ not only based on gender but also by other factors such as race and class. These identities are formed under the narrow structures of stereotypes, which are created as a “system of social control” (Andersen 311). The interactions between race and gender create stereotypes about men and women. An analysis in Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society by Margaret L. Andersen and Howard F. Taylor and Jacquelynne S. Eccles’ article “Gender Role Stereotypes, Expectancy Effects, and Parents’ Socialization of Gender Differences” reveals that gender intersects with race, thus proving that manhood and womanhood emerge due to systems of prejudice and discrimination that are inextricably intertwined with race, class, and gender.

Gender is part of our social structure, just as race and class are. When applied to Camara Phyllis Jones’ article, “The Gardener’s Tale,” men are the red flowers and women are the pink. From the moment of birth, men and women are put into different pots. These pots symbolize socialization because the separation affects the course that a man or woman’s life will take. However, institutionalized sexism causes the options to be distinct. Jacquelynne Eccles of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan suggests that parents are role models. Actions as simple as giving a toy truck to a little boy and a Barbie to a little girl can help develop a child’s gender identity. If a child grows up with a mother who is very athletic, she is more likely to view sports as a normal part of being a girl. The same idea can apply to a boy; if he sees his dad treating his mom kindly, he is less likely to abuse his own wife. Personally mediated sexism revolves around the concept of omission. This can be seen when men are given “power, prestige and economic resources” for they are believed to become the next world leaders, doctors, businessmen, engineers, and scientists (Andersen 315). Women grow up wearing frilly pink dresses and are taught to be gentle and remain at home. They are excluded or discouraged from entering certain schools or career paths because they are expected to not have the capacity to exceed in certain fields. Lastly, there is internalized sexism, which can be seen in early adolescence. This once again reintegrates Eccles statement of how parents play a critical role in influencing their children’s social “self-perceptions, interests, and skill acquisition” (Eccles 184). Early adolescence is when people begin noticing the existence of gender differences and believing in them. Young women, generally, view themselves as having a lower math ability in comparison to young men. They go on to “express less interest…in studying mathematics and in entering math-related professions” (Eccles 184). Females do believe that they are more competent in English that their male counterparts and males believe their “athletic competence” is greater than a female’s (Eccles 184).

Gender inequality does not exist in its own sphere. It coincides with race and class inequality. As M.P.P Root questions, is it possible to “separate the gendered experiences from the racial existence” (Root 162)? Latinas and African American women are discriminated by both race and gender and even possibly by class. White men, usually, are given more power; however, this does not apply to Latino men. Tim Wise, a White man, explains that he had experienced this unearned privilege. Growing up, he was given the benefit of the doubt if he did not succeed. African American men felt a weight on their shoulders for if they did not succeed, then they would be proving the stereotype, African Americans are inferior to Whites, true.

Gender identity incorporates racial identity. Females are taught from a young age to have characteristics of femininity that include a nurturing yet confident personality. They should seek higher education and a career. However, African American women, compared to White women, have a greater likelihood of declaring their independence. This aspiration may come from the fact that their mothers were often career orientated women who relied on themselves. Males are also affected by their racial identity. Latino men are almost expected to embody the stereotype of “machismo,” – exaggerated masculinity – which is associated with sexist actions and “honor, dignity, and respect” (Andersen 313). Despite the existence of such behaviors, the relationship between Latino men and women is “multidimensional” (Andersen 313). These families are egalitarian so the decisions are made by both the men and the women. African American men are also subjected to certain associations such as “accountability to family” and “self-determination” (Andersen 313). As they mature, they in turn put a greater stress on themselves to be the breadwinner.

People acknowledge that race includes systems of privilege and inequality, yet they do not realize that gender is also controlled by the same systems. Women are generally at a disadvantage when compared to men in aspects such as access to “economic and political resources” (Andersen 315). Women are denied an opportunity for achievement, influence, and independence. Gendered institutions are the cause of the different experiences of men and women. In a career that is dominated by men, women are “treated like outsiders” and seen as tokens (Andersen 314). Men, on the contrary, continue to rise to a higher position because they are viewed as more important and the career advancement may simply come from connecting and spending more time with their superiors. Women are not given these opportunities to spend time with their superiors whether it be inside or outside work. The income of an employed woman is less than that of an employed man. However, when analyzed among Hispanics and African Americans, the woman’s income is approximately the same as the man’s. Furthermore, gendered institutions build toward gender roles, which can be defined as “learned patterns” of behavior associated with “being a man or a woman” (Andersen 314). Nonetheless, in recent years, there has been a shifting of gender roles. Women are no longer presumed to be the keepers of the house and do “women’s work” and men are working as nurses and primary school teachers and they celebrate a woman’s accomplishments instead of expecting it to diminish their own. These advancements and the crossing of gender boundaries also bring about drawbacks such as the questioning of one’s “true gender identity” (Andersen 321).

The roles that both men and women fall into are not random but rather are conditioned by the “social context of their experiences” (Andersen 313). Experiences are affirmed by race, class, and gender standing. Each exhibits different effects, depending on a person’s location in the interconnection of “gender, race, and class relations” (Andersen 323). Males and females identify with certain gender expectations. This involves the issue of conformity. Males take risks that can lead to greater violence and all because of the “cultural definition of masculinity” (Andersen 311). However, it is both gender and race that further emphasize stereotypes. African American men are stigmatized as being “hyper masculine and oversexed” while Latinos are “macho” (Andersen 312). Jews, on the other hand, are viewed as being simply “intellectual” but “asexual” (Andersen 312). Woman, similarly, conform to their environment and the stereotypes of their race. As David R. Williams and Chiquita Collins state in their article, “Racial Segregation: A Fundamental Cause of Racial Disparities in Health,” it is from this segregation that African Americans lose employment access and thus income. It is no surprise that this social inequality develops into the stereotype of African American women being “welfare queens” (Andersen 312). Residential segregation also introduces class. Even the “White race” has its own distinct boundaries. Working-class white women are perceived as “slutty,” while those of the over-class are “frigid and cold” (Andersen 312). Experiences of race and gender socialization do interact with one another to create today’s societal norms.

To be truly able to comprehend the different stratifications among men and women begins with considering how gender structures social experiences. Race, gender, and class are all nuances that affect a person’s life. Sometimes, either race, gender, or class may be the primary identity, but together each places a mark on the experiences of a person. This is why I have come to conclude that though race, gender, and class are different, they are “interrelated dimensions” in our social structure (Andersen 323).

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