Does a gender analysis of domestic abuse help us understand violence in same sex relationships?

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  • Publicado : 11 de septiembre de 2010
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In this essay, I will firstly analyse the concepts of sex, gender and sexuality and their relationship with domestic violence in same sex relationships. I will also look at different theoretical approaches to the construction of gender and the gender order in society, and the way these are linked with a continuum of violence against not only women but lgbtq groups. I will examine the similaritiesand the differences in domestic violence between different and same sex relationships, and finally analyse the instersectionality framework in this context and the idea of continuum of violence.

There is a clear bodily and biological distinction between men and women. Throughout the history of western societies the recognition of these differences have meant the assumption of fixed featuresand roles specific to male and female identities and the position each of them occupy in the social world (Jenks 1998). According to Jenks (Ibid), a number of dichotomies such as culture/nature, mind/body or reason/emotion are closely associated with the one of men/woman, usually identifying man with the former and women with the later. This binary approach taken to analyse sex and gender has beenplaying a key role in the development of the social sciences as well as providing the foundation for a hegemonic cultural discourse (Butler 1990). Regarding sexuality, throughout history it has been seeing and study as biologically structured and part of nature (Sullivan 2003). Jagosse (1996) argues how heterosexuality has been taken as the origin to legitimise a model which finds a stable and‘natural’ relation between chromosomal sex, gender and sexual desire, when in his opinion heterosexuality is not the origin, but rather the effect of such conviction. Monro (2007) in her study of sex and gender notes that several theorists conceptualize gender and sex from different approaches. For example, some authors argue that gender is ‘determined by processes concerning sexualorientation’(para. 6.3); others argue that sexuality is a result of gender, whereas some theorists claim that gender identities are shaped by sexual orientation and vice versa. Challenging these ideas, Queer theorists argue that gender and desire are not caused by factors such as sex, and therefore they are flexible (Butler 1990). Thus ‘identities are always multiple’ (Seidman 1996, p.11) and there are an endlessnumber of components such as race, class gender or age which influence when framing the self (Ibid.). So different approaches taken from masculinity studies, certain feminist, gay and lesbian studies and Queer theory are disrupting the current western sexual and gender identity classifications, addressing the identities which transgress sex and gender stereotypes or disturb the heteronormativity.Within this context gender is understood as culturally constructed and historically specific (Sullivan 2003, Jagosse 1996). Therefore, gender identity does not refer to any biologically determined characteristics, but to a learned ‘product’ within a specific culture which shapes the behavior and relationship between women and men (Whiting 2007). Similarly, within this framework there is not afixed relation between sex and gender, in which gender identity is determined by sex, thus sex just refers to ‘the reproductive differences between men and women’ (Ibid p.2). In sum, the different roles men and women play in society as well as their sexuality and gender identities are not ‘naturally’ connected with their sex, but culturally shaped. This approach has been influenced in great manner byFoucault’s work. Foucault was the first sociologist who moved away from essentialist understandings of gender and sexuality. He was concerned with the denaturalization of ‘dominant understandings of sexual identity’ (Jagosse 1996), arguing that sex and sexuality is nothing more than a product of cultural and historical contexts, and an effect of power relations.

According to Connell...
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