This class has effectively worked to go against societies standards that are present on and off campus. It has critically analyzed the different aspects of society that address sex and sexuality. The basis of all these topics can be lead back to one of our very first topics covered, gender norms within society. Gender norms are societies view of how females and males are supposed to act and behave; females- innocent and submissive, males- dominates and strong. These gender roles cause society to place expectations on relationships and sexuality.
These gender roles perfectly pair into the heteronormative culture that occur in the word. They play into the roles that a wife and husband are supposed to take on, such that the masculine and feminine traits play off each other to form functioning relationships. When we had the LGBTQ campus group come in, one of the girls discussed how one person was socially expected to take on the masculine role and how she and her partner did not follow that standard. These gender roles enforce heteronormativity by creating certain gender characteristics to be placed on each person within relationships.
As we looked into the hookup culture on college campuses, it is clear that there is a double standard between women and men’s sexual practices. Women are more harshly judged due to the fact that they are supposed to be more innocent and nurturing, which do not coincide with the idea of promiscuity, while men are praised by their peers due to their sexual accolades. They are hyper masculine due the fact to the males need to prove they are part of heteronormative culture. When I talked to female students around Vanderbilt’s campus, women are more likely to want to participate in the dating culture where there is less judgment from their female peers. The gender norms that society has created cause women to be judged if they are active participants in the hookup culture.
The perpetuation of rape culture is aided by the fact that men feel the need to be in control due to the expectations placed on them by society. Men feel the need to assert their masculinity and dominance over women in order to improve their own self worth. Men have an assumption of women that makes them seem weak and easy to manipulate, since for the most part are not physically stronger. These assumptions come from the way society sees gender. According to gender norms women cannot fend for themselves so men are more likely to take advantage of them because they feel as though they can.
In this class, I found the most interesting aspect to be gender norms. These stereotypical definitions of male and female have been reoccurring themes throughout each topic we discussed. All the books, movies and articles we have disused address the way that females are expected to act innocent and caring while the males are supposed to be aggressive and strong. When these traits don’t match up, such as a man being feminine, society discriminates them and forces them into minority groups.