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Constructing Sexualities : Readings in Sexuality, Gender, and Culture

by
Edition:
1st
ISBN13:

9780130096616

ISBN10:
013009661X
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
12/6/2002
Publisher(s):
Pearson
List Price: $83.20

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Summary

Designed to introduce readers to a broad range of relevant ideas and theories and to encourage critical thinking on a variety of sexuality and gender topics, this collection of articles, classic and current, addresses the relationships between sexuality, gender, and culture. The readings include descriptions of variations in sexual and gender ideologies, expressions of sexuality, gender diversity, and global issues. Gay rights, transgendered movements, intersexed awareness, female genital mutilation, male circumcision, AIDS, sex tourism, and the sex.com explosion on the internet are all current issues addressed.

Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xv
PART ONE RESEARCHING SEXUALITIES AND GENDER 1(36)
Investigating Sex: Essentialism and Constructionism
6(12)
Jennifer Harding
Sexing the Body: How Biologists Construct Human Sexuality
18(5)
Anne Fausto-Sterling
The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles
23(11)
Emily Martin
Sex in Primitive Society
34(3)
Ruth Benedict
PART TWO THE NATURAL HISTORY OF GENDER AND REPRODUCTION 37(29)
The Animal with the Weirdest Sex Life
41(7)
Jared Diamond
Bonobo Sex and Society: The Behavior of a Close Relative Challenges Assumptions About Male Supremacy in Human Evolution
48(8)
Frans B. M. de Waal
Human Apes
56(10)
Alison Jolly
PART THREE SEXUAL POTENTIALITIES: LESSONS FROM EARLY ETHNOGRAPHIES 66(49)
Prenuptial Intercourse Between the Sexes
72(22)
Bronislaw Malinowski
Dani Sexuality: A Low Energy System
94(2)
Karl Heider
Sexual Inversion Among the Azande
96(7)
E. E. Evans-Pritchard
Sex and Repression in an Irish Folk Community
103(12)
John Messenger
PART FOUR RITES OF PASSAGE AND GENITAL MUTILATION 115(19)
The Geography of Genital Mutilations
120(7)
James DeMeo
Unmasking Tradition: A Sudanese Anthropologist Confronts Female ``Circumcision'' and Its Terrible Tenacity
127(7)
Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf
PART FIVE MARRIAGE AND LOVE 134(28)
Mehinaku Men and Women: A Sociology of Marriage, Sex, and Affection
138(11)
Thomas Gregor
Arranging a Marriage in India
149(7)
Serena Nanda
Against Love: A Treatise on the Tyranny of Two
156(6)
Laura Kipnis
PART SIX CONSTRUCTING AND DECONSTRUCTING BODIES 162(26)
The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough
166(6)
Anne Fausto-Sterling
Hermaphrodites with Attitude: Mapping the Emergence of Intersex Political Activism
172(16)
Cheryl Chase
PART SEVEN BEYOND THE BINARY 188(31)
Hijra and Sadhin: Neither Man nor Woman in India
192(10)
Serena Nanda
Lesbians, Men-Women and Two-Spirits: Homosexuality and Gender in Native American Cultures
202(17)
Sabine Lang
PART EIGHT TRANS-ISMS/GENDER/SEXUAL/CULTURAL 219(24)
Who Put the ``Trans'' in Transgender? Gender Theory and Everyday Life
223(4)
Suzanne Kessler
Wendy McKenna
The Gender of Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes
227(16)
Don Kulick
PART NINE SAME-SEX SEXUALITIES: CULTURE, DESIRE, AND FREEDOM 243(57)
Sambia Sexual Culture
249(24)
Gilbert Herdt
Culture and Women's Sexualities
273(12)
Evelyn Blackwood
Redirecting Sexual Orientation: Techniques and Justifications
285(15)
Timothy F. Murphy
PART TEN INTERNATIONAL ENCOUNTERS: SEXUALITIES IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE 300(29)
For Love and Money: Romance Tourism in Jamaica
304(14)
Deborah Pruitt
Suzanne LaFont
Forced to Choose: Beyond the Voluntary v. Forced Prostitution Dichotomy
318(11)
Jo Doezema
PART ELEVEN THE RIGHT TO SAY NO, THE RIGHT TO SAY YES: GENDER, SEXUALITIES, AND SELF-DETERMINATION 329(29)
Arab Honor's Price: A Woman's Blood
334(6)
Douglas Jehl
Women: Wives, Mothers, Daughters
340(6)
Chris Beyrer
Negotiating Sex and Gender in the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography
346(12)
Carole S. Vance
PART TWELVE THE FUTURE OF SEXUALITIES 358(29)
. . . /Cybersex/no_gender/no_sexuality/no_body.html
362(9)
Andy Miah
An Orgy of Abstinence
371(5)
Sharon Lerner
An Unfinished Revolution: Sexuality in the 20th Century
376(11)
Jeffrey Weeks
Glossary 387(8)
A List of Journals for the Study of Sexuality, Gender, and Culture 395(2)
Bibliography 397

Excerpts

The average person, if there is such an animal, will probably have 100s, if not 1,000s, of sexual encounters in the course of his or her life. All of that sexual activity will result, on average, in two children. The point is that most human sexual behavior is not about reproducing, and in fact, most of us will spend a considerable amount of time and energy making sure that our sexual encounters do not lead to children. Despite this, until recently most discussions about gender and sexualities focused on reproduction. No one is denying that there is a link between sex and reproduction, yet social and physical scientists are still struggling with its role as the motivation for. gender roles and sex acts. Explanations put forth by biologists, psychologists, sociologist, sexologists, and anthropologists differ and even pit one discipline against the other. Hence, questions about the roles of sexuality and gender have generated some of the most contested hypotheses in the sciences. On one side of the debate, some sociobiologists reduce human sexuality to reproduction, looking for the sexual "whys" in how a behavior increases our reproductive success. Their views are very seductive and support the widely held belief that reproduction is the "true" purpose of sex and that gender has been "naturally" shaped to complement reproductive roles. Working under these assumptions, forms of sexual behavior that fall outside of what could be reproductive (even if reproduction is not desired) are thenipso factounnatural. On the other side of the debate, social construction theorists call for a revision in some of the evolutionary theories that make claims about gender behavior and sexuality. They question the widely held assumptions about an innate sexual drive (libido) and innate programming channeling sexual desire towards members of the opposite sex (sexual orientation). They suggest that beliefs about sexualities should be understood as hypotheses, not scientific truths. These "facts" have not, after all, been proven through the scientific method. Social constructionists argue that understanding precultural human sexualities may not be possible because of the intensive cultural intervention that begins at birth. The book is not closed on these debates, rather, the most exciting work has probably yet to be done, advances in research continuously add to our knowledge. Both schools of thought agree that no culture in the world treats sex as a physical act without meaning. Unlike other animals who mate and engage in sex acts without societal, parental, ideological, and legal influences, humans experience socialization that comes with a host of messages about sex, gender, and sexualities. That is why dog sex is more or less dog sex. It does not matter whether it involves Poodles or Great Danes (or a coupling of the two), basically the same thing is going to happen. Among humans, on the other hand, we find an immense amount of variation. The range of human sexual potentialities is best discerned by the ethnographic records, but even that data does not give us the whole story. To fully understand what sex and gender mean to humans, a three part investigation is necessary. Primate modeling is useful because of our close connection with primates. They are used extensively in evolutionary studies as prehominid prototypes. Primates, unlike us, do not mind being observed. They lack the moral/privacy/honest issues that interfere with sexuality and gender research among humans. Secondly, history is important to sexuality/ gender research because it demonstrates how ideas about sexualities have changed over time. Changes in sexual and gender behavior support the idea that there is a fixed, biological basis for such behavior. Finally, cross-cultural studies of sexualities suggest that we cannot really talk about much sexual behavior in terms of human universals. For example, in some societies women should be virgins


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