Gender Inequality

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  • Gender & Sex
  • Gender Inequality
  • Hey, can I play basketball with you guys? I'm really good at it.
  • Sorry, we don't play with girls 'cause you guys aren't strong enough..
  • Functionalist Perspective
  • I've been doing house chores and taking care our children all day!
  • I just came back from a long day of work
  • Sex refers to the biological and anatomical differences between males and females, given rise from sex chromosomes where XY makes one a male and XX makes one a female. On the other hand, gender is an array of culturally and socially constructed behaviours, roles, and attributes associated with each sex; gender is essentially the differences found in meanings, beliefs, practices that are associated with “masculinity” and “femininity” and can change over time. (Whittington-Walsh, 2017)
  • Marxist Feminist Perspective
  • Gender inequality is defined as the unequal treatment and perception based on one’s gender. This includes gender roles, which are a set of societal norms that determine how males and females should behave, and gender stereotypes, which are oversimplified conceptions about men and women - men are expected to be strong, aggressive, dominant, and emotionless, while women are expected to be weak, subordinate, emotional, and pure. (Whittington-Walsh, 2017)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • "I'll be here a week, and I don't want to hear any words like that while I'm here... You want to grow up to be a lady, don't you?" (Lee, 79)
  • The functionalist perspective in relation to gender inequality is that the existence of gender roles and the expectations we have for each gender is functional for society as a whole. This is referring to the emergence of the nuclear family form and the Gendered Division of Labour, which meant males played the instrumental leadership role while females played the expressive role. Therefore, this justifies women’s subordinate position within household and in society. (Whittington-Walsh, 2017)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • "...but when a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains." (Lee, 31)
  • Daddy, we're hungry...
  • This perspective explains that gender inequality emerged with the rise of capitalism and the development of private property, which put less emphasis on communal aspects and more on monogamous family units. This also meant that women became a form of private property and were essentially exploited as their work was separated from men’s work and were considered to be less valuable; therefore, women as a group were devalued and oppressed. (Whittington-Walsh, 2017)
  • Monogamous family
  • TKAMB takes place in Maycomb in the 1930's, a time when people experienced the Great Depression and gender roles. In this scene, Uncle Jack scolds Scout for cursing as it is an unladylike quality; during this time, females were expected to be proper, innocent, soft. These stereotypical gender roles don't comply with Scout's characteristics as she has a tomboy personality and enjoys adventures. Although her name is Jean Louise, which is feminine, she is often called Scout, which sounds masculine.
  • The stereotypical male gender roles in TKAMB are that they are expected to take care of their families by making money. This means that they had to have jobs and be able to provide for their families, otherwise they were seen as unfit parents. This scene shows how Mr.Ewell doesn't have a job and relies on welfare check each week to provide for his family, which makes him an irresponsible, failed parent, especially since Mayella often has to take care of the household.
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