Gender and power

Gender and power

Order Description
ways are social constructions of gender oppressive and how can they be transformed? How are culture and power relevant to these processes? How does this lead to conflict? How can a wider framework for conceptualizing gender help you become a better conflict scholar and practitioner? In your answers to each of these queries, please incorporate examples from each of the readings and, if you feel inclined to do so, from your own lived experiences.

Jaggar, A.M. (1997). Human biology in feminist theory: Sexual equality reconsidered.
Spelman, E.V. (1997). Inessential woman.
Cornwall and Lindisfarne (1994). Introduction to Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative ethnographies.
Lucal, B. (1999). What it means to be gendered me: Life on the boundaries of a dichotomous gender system. Gender & Society, 13(6), 781-797.

Beauvoir, S. (1957). The Second Sex. New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Bem, S.L. (1993). The lenses of gender: Transforming the debate on sexual inequality. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Butler, Judith. 2004. Undoing Gender. Chapters 4, 9, 10 & 11.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.

Sample 1
Alright, I may ruffle some feathers here but I am just going to go for it. I don’t think that gender is oppressive nor do I think it needs to be transformed. I don’t think one “does” gender rather I believe it is something we are born into, and yes, I know that contradicts our readings from the week.

One can argue that “sex is thought of as a fixed set of biological characteristics, whereas gender is construed as a set of variable social norms about the proper behavior of sexed individuals” (Jaggar 52). I personally feel that social norms are there for a reason; men and women are predisposed to characteristics. That said, there are plenty of ways to be feminine and/or masculine. However the fact that someone feels they can choose an entirely new gender baffles me. Try as I might I don’t think I will ever be able to fully understand that.

The fact that our culture has somehow made it taboo to embrace traditional genders saddens me. When I say that I would be okay not working for a few years to raise children (should I ever get married) I get side-glances; like I somehow am a disgrace to feminism.

I am pleased that there has been a shift in culture allowing women to be more present in the workforce. Much like the women profiled in Gillespie’s article, I appreciate my independence and freedom. Unlike them, I don’t see motherhood as a sacrifice, I see it has an honor and a blessing to care for and raise a child. Yes, that comes with sacrifice, but it in and of itself is not a sacrifice. My family is an extension of my identity and I see no problem with that.

As far as having a wider framework for gender helping me as a conflict practitioner, I am not sure. I honestly don’t see myself continuing into the field as a scholar. What I envision is using the NCR skillset within a corporation for training and diffusing external conflict. It is entirely conceivable that I would come across these types of cases in the corporate world (we have a client whose preferred pronoun is “their”). In that case, have a greater understanding of the nuanced arguments could be helpful; but I honestly think the skills for being a good facilitator (listening, trust, openness) would be what I rely on the most in that situation and that is only if the issue of gender is at play.

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