Class. Race, Gender, Sexuality - Essay Example

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It is possible to say that class, race, gender and sexuality are interrelated because all of them describe human social phenomena and represent the main concepts operated by ethnographers…
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Download file to see previous pages On the other hand, race and gender influence social position of women and men, their educational and work opportunities (Foley 70). Race and gender have a great impact on social inequalities and rights, freedoms and life challenges. Through a complex interaction of identification processes, symbol systems, and social institutions, gender differences are produced--typically in the form of a dichotomy that not only opposes masculinity to femininity but also translates these oppositional differences into gender hierarchy, the privileging of traits and activities defined as masculine over those defined as feminine. Thus, although it is important to recognize the cultural variation in how gender differences are formed and expressed, it is also important to stress the political nature of gender as a system of difference construction and hierarchical dichotomy production that is constitutive of almost all contemporary societies.

From the point of views of the ethnographer, the categories of class, race, gender and sexuality can be separable because they determine different social processes which can be considered in isolation. For instance, it is possible speak about race or sexual prejudices, stereotypes and inequalities. In education, race and class prejudice can affect groups' achievement and those who are minority students (Foley 72). Classes exist in a given society to the extent that there are significant links between these three levels of social life: if economically determined posi¬tions correlate significantly with people's lived experience and consciousness, and if both of these have a significant bearing on how they behave as consumers, workers or citizens - on how they live, the organizations they join, the parties they support, and so on. On the other hand, gender and sexuality can also be considered in isolation in such cases as discrimination and sexual harassment. Foley (1990) underlines that: "they [men] gained their gender status through winning a male's attention and loyalty and through domesticating a sexually restless, domineering male" (69). Women becomes a suffer group because they often come to be stereotyped as victims. By bridging the personal and the political, gender also provides an alternative basis for action; helping to build up networks that cross other boundaries, whose actions have become increasingly significant. These categories are not fixed changing over time. During the XX century, different theories were developed in order to describe and interpret the ideas of race and sexuality. For instance, Foley (1990) speaks about such thing as 'bonded sexuality' typical for mexian communities. "This idea of a "bonded sexuality" legitimates pre-marital sex in a traditional cultural setting. This exchange relationship between males and females was not necessarily egalitarian, however. Each sex made rather different concessions for the advantages gained" (70). There is a shift in attitudes towards greater acceptance of gender and sexual equality, despite abundant evidence of continuing prejudice, inertia and discrimination. Till the beginning of the XX century, women sexuality was also ways denied. Recent years the understanding of race has been changed, because as a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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