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Module 6 Question 1    Deviance is a part of our social construct and our daily lives. Oxford dictionary defines deviance as ” the fact or state of diverging from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behavior” (Oxford Dictionaries). However, according to David Newman and Jodi O’Brien, “the definition of deviance is in the eye of the beholder” (Newman, D. & O’Brien, J. 2013.). Therefore, there are various different theories that define what deviance is, what it’s place in society is, and how it affects society and an individual.    One theory that covers the concept of deviance is rational choice theory. Rational choice theory is a supposition that “human beings seek to maximize pleasure and minimize pain” (Ballantine, Roberts, Korgan. and Aguilera 2016:08) and  therefore an individual’s deviance is dependent on their pleasure to pain ratio. In other words, this theory assumes that an individual’s motivations and actions depend on their self-interest and how to maximize pleasure and how to minimize strain/pain/ or struggles. Take for instance, crime. Crime is considered a “form of deviance in which formal penalties are imposed by…society”  (Ballantine et al. 2016:02). Take for instance, James, a man who has been struggling to pay his bills and feed his children that soon turns to drug dealing -crime- in order to earn a source of income. With the rational choice theory, we can see that James became a deviant because he compared the benefits and costs of drug dealing, and, made a conscious and rational choice to partake in. This is because having a form of cash flow to pay bills and feed his children outweighed the consequences of the crime, or going to jail in this case.     The second theory that relates to the concept of deviance is symbolic interactionism. This theory is based on differential association, or the idea that deviance is learned through the influence of others. Take for instance, Abraham, a teenager who has been spending time with a new set of friends who happen to do drugs after school at a friend’s home. In turn, the boy began to experiment and thus is pulled into this deviant behavior of doing illegal drugs instead of dedicating his time to his studies and focusing on school.     The last theory of deviant behavior is the labeling theory. This theory is based on the idea that “behavior is not intrinsically deviant” (Ballantine et al. 2016:11) but it becomes so because society labels it that way. This theory suggests that there is a process that leads to deviance, primary deviance followed by secondary deviance. Take for example, Marianna, a girl who was spending time with her friends at a mall. Primary deviance in this case is when she  shoplifts a set of expensive sunglasses because her friends dared her to. Secondary deviance then follows, as she continues to shoplift, lie, and steal, because she has been given the deviant identity of a shoplifter, lier, and stealer.    When we compare all three theories, we can conclude that deviance is clearly a choice. No individual is pushing you or tempting you to become deviant. All three individuals in the examples made a choice: James decided to begin drug dealing, Abraham decided to begin doing drugs, and Marianna made a choice to listen to her friends and go one with the dare.     In my opinion, the most accurate of the three deviance theories is the rational choice theory because it infers that there is a choice whether to choose deviancy or not. Additionally, deviancy is not justified by the friends, peers, or family you spend time with, or what society labels you as, it is a matter of choice. A college student can choose to not be a deviant despite having friends who are, and that instead of going to parties and doing drugs, studies and graduates college. As a broke college student, you can choose to find a way to earn money, without the need for deviance and crime. Lastly, one mistake does not define you as an individual; there have been many cases where prisoners are released and they become good samaritans and citizens who contribute to their country. Therefore, the labeling theory is not as accurate as the rational choice theory.    Module 9 Question 1    There is always heated debate about the differences between sex, gender, and sexuality, due to the disparity of values, upbringings, and social influences of each individual. Each individual has grown with different values and morale, different perspectives, and different influences, whether it be religion, institutions, from family/peers/friends, or even the environment. However, the significance of sex, gender, and sexuality, has been a prominent and a significant factor in politics, education, in entertainment, and many others, within the last decade.     First and foremost, sex is defined as the “biological term referring to ascribed genetic, anatomical, and hormonal differences between males and females, but …is actually determined by socially accepted biological criteria” (Ballantine, Roberts, Korgan. and Aguilera 2016:04). In other words, the sex of a newborn baby is either defined as a boy or a girl based on their anatomical structure. For instance, if a couple were to go to their doctor to receive a noninvasive prenatal test, the blood work will determine the sex as the baby as either a boy or a girl.     Secondly, gender is a social construct that is learned through growth and experience.  Gender identity, however, is what an individual identifies as, based on personal experience. There are several different gender identities – apart from one’s assigned sex – that have been noted, such as: Agender, Androgynous, Bigender, Non-Binary, Pangender, Third Gender, Transmasculine, Transfeminine, Transexual, Trigender, etc. (Reach Out). Society’s understanding of gender has evolved immensely that “dominant gender paradigms have shifted to include transgenderism as a possibility hand-in-hand with … technologies…Additionally, alternative gender scripts have proliferated making it possible for individuals … to construct more diverse gender identities and sexed bodies than ever before” (Newman, D. & O’Brien, J. 2013.). Thus, the list of genders and gender identities will continue to grow as new technologies continue to grow to accommodate the changes individuals wish to make to their bodies in accordance with their gender identity or sexuality.    Lastly, sexuality is “how cultures shape the meanings of sexuality and sexual acts and how we experience our own bodies in relation to others” (Ballantine et al. 2016:06). Additionally, sexuality relates to our personal feeling or attraction towards another individual. Sexuality is known to be socially constructed, however, it falls under a broad spectrum where there are various types of sexualities. Some of the few types of sexualities include, straight or heterosexual, gay or homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, and asexual.     What all three of these terms share is that all three are socially constructed, meaning that, they are ideas that are collectively agreed to be true by society, but that do not define reality because they are assumptions about reality.     Just as there are individuals who believe that there are more than one gender, various gender identities, and several different types of sexualities, there are also individuals who believe otherwise. Homophobia is described by Religious Tolerance as, “engaging in depriving (or keeping deprived) homosexuals of fundamental human rights which are enjoyed by other groups” (Religious Tolerance). Some of these rights do include marriage and freedom of discrimination.  Furthermore, homophobia has also been defined as a hatred, a dislike or even a fear,  towards homosexuals or lesbians.    In contrast to homophobia, heterosexism is the “reinforcement of heterosexuality and marginalizing anyone who does not conform to this norm” (Ballantine et al. 2016:20). In other words, this involves discriminating a homosexual individual due to their perceived notion that heterosexuality is the “norm” and the only form of sexuality there is. For the most part, heterosexism is also considered to be the idea that heterosexuality is superior or dominant to any other form of sexuality. The main aspect that makes these two terms different is in that homophobia is based on attitudes and patterns in behavior towards homosexual individuals, whereas, heterosexism is more of ideology and a belief system that affects society as a whole. Furthermore, homophobia leads to discrimination, slurs, labels, and insults to people who are perceived to be homosexuals. On the other hand, heterosexism deals with the oppression of every sexuality other than heterosexuality at a larger scale. This blends and can involve anti-gay agendas and anti-gay bans.

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