Final Concept Analysis: Binaries and Stereotypes

This Sex and Society course has taught me about extremely important issues, mentalities, and trends regarding sex and its connection to society. I believe that the societal construction of binaries and stereotypes is the most important concept because it crosses all sexual boundaries and has a major impact on groups in society. We learned that society often creates binaries to categorize certain groups and apply stereotypes to these groups. Binaries allow people to easily apply certain stereotypes and narrow-minded opinions to groups of people, and this often leads to discrimination or systems of hierarchy. Ever since I learned about this concept, I have seen it reoccur constantly in readings and discussion. It seems that it is almost human nature to mentally categorize certain groups as one and the same, leaving little opportunity for the genuine acceptance of authentic and distinct personalities.

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The Complex Role of the Filipino Maid

It is difficult to imagine living in a foreign world where you are basically forced to act a certain way, both sexually and emotionally, based on your occupation and stereotype.  This is exactly what Filipina maids in Lebanon must do.  These live-in maids face double standards, narrow stereotypes, and racial hierarchies that mold many of their personalities and sexualities in ways that appease Lebanese society.  Hayeon Lee addresses this unique phenomenon in her article, “The Public and Hidden Sexualities of Filipina Women in Lebanon.”

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Filipina Sexuality in Lebanon

In the article “The Public and Hidden Sexualities Of Filipina Women in Lebanon, Hayeon Lee examines how migrant women’s, specifically Filipina women’s, sexuality is socially regulated in Lebanon. The article explains that since 1975, migrant women have replaced Lebanese and other Arab women as the primary demographic for the domestic labor force. Filipina women have their sexuality regulated in Lebanon because they usually fulfill the role of live-in maid, so their employers are concerned with their sexual morality since they live in the house.

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What’s Sex Got to Do With the Question: Does This Shirt Make Me Look Like a Slut?

Deborah L. Tolman discusses adolescent girls’ sexuality and the double standard surrounding it. Girls are expected to be sexy but not sexual, just as one of Hannah’s viewers commented that they wanted girls to sluts when with them but celibate elsewhere. The same binary is being reinforced in both statements. Tolman goes on to talk about “sexual socialization” which determines when it is appropriate to be sexual and to what extent.

In the video above Hannah Witton explores the idea of “dressing like a slut”. It’s a question she’s been asked time and time again, what type of clothes make a woman look like a slut? From here she then questions what does a slut even look like? In attempts to find an answer, Hannah begins by trying a whole variety of going out clothes. This led to Hannah raising a series of thought-provoking questions, about what defines a slut and how one could even tell who is a slut based on what they wear. She took to social media to determine what is a slut, asking people on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Tumblr and Twitter users had fairly progressive definitions of what a “slut” is, acknowledging that it is a patriarchal concept and a derogatory term. Facebook users instead chose to describe a “slut” as a woman who has way too much sex or dresses like she does. Eventually she comes to the decision that there is no such thing as a slut, that every individual can decide for themselves how many people they sleep with. She furthers this statement, stating that the way a person dresses can in no way tell you how many people they sleep with.

This phenomena stating that the way a woman chooses to dress has anything to do with her sexual behavior is a very predominant ideal on college campus. While getting ready for a night out, I frequently have friends ask if the “shirt/shorts/skirt/dress” makes them look slutty; I’ve asked that question myself. As a female on a college campus, there often feels like there is a certain expectation to look attractive without looking too promiscuous. This creates a fine line between appropriate and inappropriate dress, with far different guidelines for the daytime and the nighttime. What often seems to hold the guidelines in place is the hook-up culture discussed by Bogle, females and males on college campuses seem to hold great value in who they hooked-up with (even if the definition of “hooking-up” varies greatly from person to person).

But why does what you wear have anything to do with your sexual history? For all you know, the girl in the teensy crop top and short shorts is a virgin and the girl in the turtleneck and jeans has slept with half the brothers in one fraternity. Does it even matter? Choice of dress and sexual history have no correlation or causation to connect each other, yet the impression that there is direct causation between the two seems to reign supreme. Is it that girls are told if they want to “get guys” they have to dress in skimpy, promiscuous-looking clothing, do girls who do want to have sex intentionally dress in those styles of clothing? Do you think the stereotypes reinforce the behavior or is there merit to the study?


“What’s Sex Got to do With…Hip-Hop Queens?”



Music. We dance to it, we sing along to it, we learn from it. As we have seen time and time again, music is a medium that provides insight to our culture. Good music is relatable, it evokes some sort of emotion, and it engages the listener in its message. Artists can reach huge audiences with their music, placing them in highly influential positions.

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