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Sex And Sexual Identity In Social Deciance Essay, Research Paper

Sex and Sexual Identity

In Social Deviance

Alfred C. Kinsey argued in 1948 that & # 8220 ; It would promote clearer believing on these affairs [ of labeling homophiles ] if individuals were non characterized as heterosexual or homosexual, but as persons who have had certain sums of heterosexual experience and homosexual experience. Alternatively of utilizing these footings as substantives ( existent and evident entities ) which stand for individuals, they may be better used to depict the nature of open sexual dealingss, or of the stimulation to which an person erotically responds. & # 8221 ;

Here I shall look at this statement sing gender and gender from a sociological position on aberrance. In this treatment I will turn to the undermentioned inquiries: What function does gender ( and gender ) drama in society? How are these classs constructed? How are they maintained? And what do these classs reveal about of import constellations of power in American society?

The & # 8220 ; societal building & # 8221 ; of the class of gender has had its roots steadfastly planted since scriptural times: from the creative activity of the female, Eve for adult male ( so Adam would non be lonely ) to the 1800s when adult females were non allowed ( by work forces ) the right to vote. It has been prevalent in matrimony ceremonials as brides promised to & # 8220 ; award and obey & # 8221 ; their hubbies ( although the & # 8220 ; obey & # 8221 ; portion seems to be absent late ) . The function of the male being dominant or superior to the female is one that insists on exceeding clip despite modern twenty-four hours attempts for gender equality in society. We ( society ) constructed this class based on a patriarchal system that places the primacy of maleness above all else. Gender ensures a differentiation between male and female, confirming male laterality over the weaker female. And the duality of the patriarchate over all else that endanger it must be maintained through continual reassertion and support.

The support of gender functions and boundaries through social concepts is shown in Woodhouse & # 8217 ; s treatment of cross-dressers or transvestites. Cross-dressing heterosexual work forces ( dressing in adult females & # 8217 ; s vesture ) pose a menace to traditional society that presents male and female gender classs as changeless classs that have no room for plasticity. & # 8220 ; On a societal and cultural degree the two groups ( male and female ) are reciprocally sole & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse, p. 117 ) . This is maintained and purely enforced in our male-dominant society through blessing of maleness and disapproval of muliebrity. & # 8220 ; Outside of the closely demarcated boundaries of the retarding force act or the fancy-dress party, work forces can non look in any point of adult females & # 8217 ; s vesture without immediate loss of the superior position attached to the male and the full infliction of ridicule and animadversion & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse, p. 119 ) . We see illustrations of this ridicule from really early childhood and adolescence with male childs being scorned and called a & # 8220 ; sissy & # 8221 ; for playing with dolls or showing feminine traits which are reserved for the secondary, inferior female function and & # 8220 ; should be eradicated & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse, p. 119 ) . There is a vice-grip on the primacy of maleness which refuses to allow travel of indicating out that which is non masculine, and giving it a value. & # 8220 ; Any adult male who is effeminate can non be heterosexual, there must be something incorrect with him & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse, p. 137 ) and is hence considered & # 8220 ; less than. & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; To divert from this [ primacy ] position is to take a measure down ; to follow the furnishings of the 2nd sex is kindred to slumming it or selling out. And those who protect and maintain the primacy of maleness can non let this to go on or the whole building would crumple & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse, p. 119 ) . & # 8220 ; And individuality political relations every bit good as scientific discipline has an involvement in maintaining them [ “ gay ” and “ hetero ” ] opposite & # 8221 ; ( Garber, p. 231 ) .

However, the classs of gender ( homo- , hetero- , and bisexual ) and the usage of the term & # 8220 ; homosexual & # 8221 ; to qualify the person as a & # 8220 ; existent and evident entity, & # 8221 ; instead than depicting a behaviour, are recent concepts of worlds. & # 8220 ; Prior to the 19th century & # 8211 ; or, some will state, the eighteenth & # 8211 ; homosexualism in the western universe was a pattern, non an individuality & # 8221 ; ( Garber, p. 213 ) . The usage of the term to depict who a individual is, is to attach the negative stigma of an unacceptable behaviour to the person, thereby doing the individual unacceptable. This is besides done as a agency to countenance and forbid the behaviour. Who wants to be called a & # 8220 ; gay & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; fag? & # 8221 ; Being labeled a homophile is society & # 8217 ; s manner of finding what type of individual you are and how you should be treated. What is besides strongly realized is that definitions of aberrance and labels are handed down by those in society who decide & # 8220 ; the norm & # 8221 ; based on the current tendency and doctrine of the clip and their civilization. This is of import for two grounds. First, it affirms the sociological issue of power in building aberrance. Second, it challenges the impression of gender being changeless and invariable over clip and civilization. Woodhouse magnificently states this in her treatment of sex, gender, and visual aspect in relation to cross-dressers ( transvestites ) . & # 8220 ; The realisation that gender is non a fixed entity, that gender functions and outlooks can be questioned, attacked and changed, emphasizes the significance of sing both gender functions and gender individuality as societal concepts whose significances are continually affirmed and reaffirmed, negotiated and renegotiated through the societal procedure of human communicating and interaction & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse, p. 119 ) . An illustration of the thought that gender is fixed is shown here from NARTH & # 8217 ; s School Sex Education Guidelines: & # 8220 ; This feeling of holding ever & # 8216 ; felt different & # 8217 ; is a contemplation of childhood gender nonconformity & # 8221 ; ( NARTH, p. 2 ) , reasoning it is non the instance that you were born homosexual. Here once more is the premise that sex, gender function, and gender individuality exhibit a conformance to, and an individuality with one of two possibilities: maleness ( being primary ) or muliebrity ( being secondary ) .

The extent to which the & # 8220 ; unnatural & # 8221 ; is built-in to the being of & # 8220 ; normal & # 8221 ; is another of import tool in measuring classs of gender and gender individuality. Distinguishing between good and bad, normal and unnatural is a human concept and one that is applied to about every aspect of our human being. & # 8220 ; Normal & # 8221 ; needs to be continuously reaffirmed in order that we may redefine what is & # 8220 ; abnormal. & # 8221 ; We call things & # 8220 ; incorrect, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; unnatural, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; bad, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; perverse, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; strange, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; odd, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; fagot, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; unnatural, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; immoral, & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; aberrant & # 8221 ; to remind and reenforce that what these words describe is non acceptable behaviour. We enforce the boundaries of & # 8220 ; normal versus & # 8220 ; unnatural & # 8221 ; in countless ways. Just walking down the street, we automatically delegate a societal function to certain types of people based on & # 8220 ; what & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; who & # 8221 ; we perceive them to be. And the regulations can alter. These boundaries must continually be reestablished based on the current doctrine of what is acceptable at the clip. & # 8220 ; The procedure of alteration through which certain divergences become labeled as normal or unnatural remains hard to spot, going clear merely when historical or societal conditions permit & # 8221 ; ( Bayer, p. 189 ) . As we shall see, people in places of power, have the ability to act upon & # 8220 ; what society permits & # 8221 ; and sometimes we construct negative perceptual experiences in our campaign to act upon the remainder of society.

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality is a flagship among organisations in building peculiar readings that serve their peculiar group. The rubric on their booklet, & # 8220 ; Taking A Base: For Those Seeking Freedom From Homosexuality, & # 8221 ; wouldn & # 8217 ; t be connoting that homosexualism is negative, would it? By advancing negative readings of homophiles, for illustration, groups like NARTH can assist to act upon and implement what is considered aberrant. NARTH warns that a pro-gay & # 8220 ; doctrine normally includes the redefinition of matrimony ; the depreciation of gender differences as arbitrary & # 8217 ; societal concepts & # 8217 ; ; the undermining of household and spiritual authorization with the permutation of a different set of criterions ; and the thought that homosexualism is a normal discrepancy of human gender & # 8221 ; ( NARTH, p. 9 ) . This statement embodies the maneuver of demonising and reviling the perverts to implement traditional gender and sexual concepts by indicating to the many ways in which homosexualism threatens to destruct society. To get down, & # 8220 ; the homosexual doctrine & # 8221 ; ( which they sat down as a corporate and wrote in the spring of 1967 ) stated here, threatens to & # 8220 ; redefine & # 8221 ; the establishment of ( heterosexual ) matrimony & # 8211 ; the pillar constitution that exemplifies approved gender functions in our society. The undermining of household and spiritual authorization serves to demo that homophiles are interrupting down two of the extreme of import establishments in society ( the household and faith ) , in add-on to traveling against authorization. It is besides certain to confirm the & # 8220 ; normal & # 8221 ; and implement boundaries by oppugning the thought of variableness in human gender. NARTH besides presents & # 8220 ; grounds & # 8221 ; against homosexualism by presenting conjectural inquiries and supplying responses supported by & # 8220 ; scientific discipline & # 8221 ; as if they are difficult incontrovertible facts. Even more distressing though, is this recommendation for learning about homosexualism that ties into the undermentioned treatment of the psychological science field: & # 8220 ; We haven & # 8217 ; Ts learned from scientific discipline that & # 8216 ; homosexualism is every bit healthy as heterosexuality. & # 8217 ; Positions about what constitutes psychological wellness are ever based on some system of doctrine and morality. By itself, scientific discipline can non separate good from bad, right from incorrect, healthy from unhealthy & # 8221 ; ( NARTH, p.9 ) . This supports a impression that scientific discipline is nonsubjective and indifferent, has no moral docket, merely reports the facts, and makes no opinions. This is an interesting premiss & # 8211 ; allow & # 8217 ; s see if it holds true in the scientific field of psychological science.

The ballot upon the inquiry of whether homosexualism ought to be considered a mental disease was put before the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. The subsequent Delaware

cision to take homosexualism from the DSM-IV list of upsets brought immense political struggle. “The position of homosexualism is a political inquiry, stand foring a historically rooted, socially determined pick sing the terminals of human sexuality” ( Bayer, 185 ) . The treatment by Bayer goes on to uncover many more of import sociological issues including how the preparation of homosexualism as a psychological “disorder” forced the APA to look at how societal values influence psychopathology. Bayer cites Peter Sedgwick’s essay, “Illness – Mental and otherwise.” He credits the antipsychiatrists with holding made it clear that “mental unwellness is a societal building, ” and that “psychiatry is a societal establishment integrating the values and demands of its environing society” ( Bayer, p. 193 ) .

Some would even travel so far as to state that & # 8220 ; all constructs of wellness and disease are informed by human values & # 8221 ; ( Bayer, p. 193 ) . These values are what serve to assist specify the constructs of upsets and unwellness. Bulimia & # 8211 ; it & # 8217 ; s an feeding & # 8220 ; disorder. & # 8221 ; Or is it society & # 8217 ; s force per unit area for adult females to look like thin and beautiful theoretical accounts? Homosexuality & # 8211 ; it & # 8217 ; s a mental & # 8220 ; disease. & # 8221 ; Or is it merely exhibiting another signifier of sexual behaviour? If it is a discrepancy of gender, we know from NARTH, it surely isn & # 8217 ; t & # 8220 ; normal. & # 8221 ; However, & # 8220 ; Normality and wellness can non be understood in the abstract, instead they depend on cultural norms, society & # 8217 ; s outlooks and values, professional prejudices, single differences, and the political clime of the times & # 8221 ; ( Bayer, p. 182 ) . This is why tradition has been able to sort a wide scope of behaviours as justifying clinical attending. & # 8220 ; Along with other signifiers of sexual aberrance [ transvestitism ] has been medicalised, treated as if unnatural and necessitating medical attention & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse p. 136 ) . And in the categorization of homosexualism, & # 8220 ; the battle for legitimization hence entailed a challenge to psychiatry & # 8217 ; s authorization and power to sort homosexualism as a upset & # 8221 ; ( Bayer, p. 189 ) . All of this makes really clear the function peculiar establishments in society have in classifying, constructing, and reenforcing what is aberrant in society.

An scrutiny of classs of gender and gender besides reveal close ties with of import power constellations in American society. Aberrance is constructed as a signifier of societal control & # 8211 ; to command the manner people think, feel, and act. And what quality best possesses the ability to exercise this control? Power. & # 8220 ; [ W ] vitamin E engage everyday in inordinately powerful, eventful, and frequently painful interpersonal dialogues about what is or is non acceptable and about what our several topographic points are in a universe that provides us with less counsel and certainty about such affairs & # 8221 ; ( Millman, p. 98 ) . This impression of what is or is non acceptable is an indispensable tool in specifying what is aberrant. In footings of gender and gender in our surveies of aberrance, feminist theory gives the most thorough treatment of the duality of power between male and female sexes. The tryst of gender & # 8220 ; establishes a hierarchy whereby a sexual division of labour ensures an instability of power and control weighted to a great extent in favor of male domination & # 8221 ; ( Woodhouse, 118 ) .

Media is a primary medium where the & # 8220 ; powerful prolongation of dominant power constructions & # 8221 ; ( Hantzis & A ; Lehr, p. 181 ) is portrayed on a regular footing. In the instance of the popular civilization media, they are careful non to demo healthy, to the full developed, and to the full expressed homosexual characters so as non to give the thought that homosexualism is & # 8220 ; normal. & # 8221 ; The situation comedy Ellen is a perfect illustration of this. Here we have a character who comes out as sapphic on national telecasting merely to be censored into acting the manner society deems appropriate. In this episode, the fact that she is a sapphic is announced over the airdrome speaker unit, nevertheless, in subsequent episodes this fact is extremely downplayed. Here is a parallel illustration in the treatment of another telecasting character: & # 8220 ; She twice states that she is sapphic, but her character is ne’er permitted to execute as a sapphic. The absence of a public presentation of sapphism is non merely the absence of sapphic sex, but the absence of any representation of sapphism as a factor of Marilyn & # 8217 ; s individuality. The invisibleness of Marilyn & # 8217 ; s sapphism non merely allows Heartbeat to avoid any significant portraiture of an experience outlawed by the dominant patriarchal discourse, but to befog homophobia & # 8221 ; and & # 8221 ; we suggest that the invisibleness of her sapphism supports patriarchal values by taking the demand to face the homophobia and heterosexism/sexism that seeable sapphism signifies & # 8221 ; ( Hantzis & A ; Lehr, p. 177 ) . This sanitation for public ingestion is about ever prevailing with the exclusion of when they do demo homosexual characters, they are normally portrayed in a stereotyped, feminine manner such as Nathan Lane in the film The Birdcage or with the stigma of the homosexual adult male with AIDS, such as Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. This continued prevalence of stigmatisation and stereotyping of those considered & # 8220 ; aberrant & # 8221 ; serves to keep position and control of power.

Government is another forum where the function of power is rampant, specifically in passing Torahs to command, curtail, and punish behaviours deemed aberrant by society. The power of statute law is conveyed many times in this statement sing the affair of biological science in homosexualism. & # 8220 ; If homosexualism were found to be an changeless trait, like skin colour, so Torahs criminalizing homosexual sex might be overturned. Same sex matrimony, occupation protection, antidiscrimination in lodging Torahs & # 8211 ; all these could hinge on the redefinition of homosexualism as biologically caused instead than socially and culturally chosen & # 8221 ; ( Garber, p. 225 ) . This statement brings up several ways of exercising control over aberrant behaviour ( linked to a peculiar group of people ) : by doing the behaviour a punishable, condemnable act ; by favoritism through Torahs ; by non allowing protection of rights ; and by forbiding the acknowledgment of same sex matrimony ( as if by non acknowledging it, it isn & # 8217 ; t truly there ) .

An illustration of this societal control is demonstrated in the instance of Ballot Measure 9. In 1992, an enterprise was put on the ballot to amend Oregon & # 8217 ; s province fundamental law to forbid and revoke Torahs which protect homophiles from favoritism. The Oregon referendum sponsored by the Oregon Citizen & # 8217 ; Alliance ( OCA ) farther mandated that all authorities bureaus and schools recognize homosexualism as & # 8220 ; unnatural, incorrect, unnatural, and perverse & # 8221 ; ; and no authorities monies could be used to & # 8220 ; ease & # 8221 ; homosexualism. The issue became a run to revile, demonise, and dehumanize homophiles. Note, the focal point here was non on the behaviour, but on the people. Religious right organisations such as the OCA take the diabolic attack with their exclusive aim to seek out, point out, control, and extinguish aberrance.

An illustration of this struggle is traveling on right now, here in San Diego County. Peoples are upset that the Grossmont Union High School District voted to add the words & # 8220 ; existent or perceived sexual orientation & # 8221 ; to the territory & # 8217 ; s nondiscrimination and multicultural policies, which already include protection from favoritism based on race, faith, gender, and disablement. Harmonizing to an article in the San Diego Union Tribune on June 4, 1999, those opposing the new policy that would give particular protection to gay and sapphic pupils believe it is & # 8220 ; enabling this ( homosexual ) docket to infiltrate the schools. & # 8221 ; One pupil remarked, & # 8220 ; I think if they give the homosexual people rights, so they have to give everybody rights. & # 8221 ; Another parent remarked, & # 8220 ; This International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; t about protecting childs, because equal protection already exists. This is about legalizing homosexualism, androgyny, etc. , in an effort to convey it into the course of study & # 8221 ; ( Union Tribune, p. B4 ) . Notice the linguistic communication used here by those in resistance of the new nondiscrimination policy: & # 8220 ; homosexual docket, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; infiltrate, & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; legitimizing. & # 8221 ; They are all used in a negative context to keep the boundaries and reaffirm what is aberrant.

In drumhead, there are many sociological issues that contribute to the building of classs of gender and gender individuality in our society. The primacy of maleness versus muliebrity, the categorizing of perverts as & # 8220 ; unnatural & # 8221 ; or necessitating psychiatric & # 8220 ; intervention, & # 8221 ; and the function of power in American society all contribute to explicating and understanding the function of aberrance in our society. There are besides several tools that serve to keep, enforce and reenforce these classs, but the strongest uniting factor is the imputation of negative position for that which is aberrant. Kinsey argued that we should avoid using footings of behaviour to persons. Rather than utilizing footings such as heterosexual and homosexual to depict individuals, we should utilize them & # 8220 ; to depict the nature of open sexual relations. & # 8221 ; I think he posed this thought in visible radiation of carry oning nonsubjective, indifferent research and the realisation that the usage of these footings was excessively restrictive and restricting to qualify a individual based on their sexual behaviour. From a deeper expression, we have seen that there are many factors that determine how society feels about gender. Although I agree with Kinsey & # 8217 ; s statement, our universe is non designed to look at the issues of gender and gender in an indifferent, nonsubjective mode. Who knows? One twenty-four hours, it may be.

Mentions

( Page Numberss from Course Reader

Except Union Tribune and NARTH Articles )

Bayer, Ronald. Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politicss of Diagnosis. 1981.

Garber, Marjorie. ViceVersa. 1995.

Hantzis, Darlene M. and Lehr, Valerie. & # 8220 ; Whose Desire? Lesbian ( Non ) Sexuality and Television & # 8217 ; s Perpetuation of Heterosexism. & # 8221 ; ( 1994 ) .

National Association For Research and Therapy of Homosexuals ( NARTH ) . & # 8220 ; School Sex Education Guidelines: Teaching About Homosexuality. & # 8221 ;

San Diego Union Tribune. p. B4. June 4, 1999.

Woodhouse, Annie, Fantastic Women: Sexual activity, Gender, and Transvestism. 1989.

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