Group Work on Sex and Gender Distinction

Break up into small groups. Then discuss the following. Delegate one or more members of your group to prepare an oral and written summary of your group's discussion. If you were not present in class for this exercise, you may complete it (in less than 2 pages) as a typed assignment

1. Review the standard distinction between sex and gender. Have your group come up with 3 or 4 examples of human concerns, expectations or characteristics which are determined by sex (e.g., a biological male is unlikely to be concerned about dying while giving birth to a child).

2. Have your group come up with 3 or 4 examples of human concerns, expectations or characteristics which seem to be a function of gender roles (e.g., a woman might be concerned about finding pumps to wear for a job interview as an accountant at a conservative accounting firm).

3. Have your group come up with 3 or 4 examples of human concerns, expectations or characteristics which are apparently related to issues of sex and gender, but the example seems to be a function of both, or it's not clear which it's an example of (e.g., women are less likely to be in prison for committing violent crimes).

4. Have any of your group's examples changed in the past? How so? Do you expect that any of your group's examples are immune to change, given social changes and the rise of new technologies? Why or why not?

5. What opportunities for human greatness, if any, does gender categorization offer? What opportunities does it limit? Can you think of any examples from the works we've read so far?

6.  Has someone you know well been challenged by gender expectations that interfered with accomplishing  an important task or making progress to an important goal?  What happened?   (Please change names, etc.,  as needed to preserve  privacy.)

M. Kagan, Le Moyne College
February 26,  2003


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