Sex and Gender: A Short Film

If you’re into flipped teaching (or even if you’re not) and want a relatively short (around 15-minute) video-introduction to sex and gender this Ted-Talk on “Understanding the Complexities of Gender” by Sam Killermann should fit the bill for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it introduces a wide range of gender-related concepts and issues, including:

• Sex and gender
• Gender identity
• Gender roles and norms
• Gender socialisation
• Gender scripts
• Binary gender options
• Multiple gender identities
• Gender dysphoria
• Gender expression
• Masculinity and Femininity

Secondly, Killermann is an American stand-up comedian and he uses these skills to get his (sociological) ideas across in a clever and amusing way…


One of the teachers I follow on Twitter, Msnotmrsormiss, sent me a couple of links in response to this post that I think nicely-complement Killermann’s observations.

The first, What’s the Real Difference Between the Sexes? is a 20-minute BBC Radio program on the differential treatment of transgendered individuals as seen through the eyes and experiences of those who have transitioned. One of these, Reece Kelly, also happens to be a sociologist who has both personally experienced and researched transgendering, something that perhaps gives him some unique insights into the phenomenon.

Transgender research can also be used as an example of a natural (or quasi) experiment where the sociologist takes advantage of a naturally-occurring process – such as the transition from one gender to another – to explore a range of social processes. In this instance gender transitioning can be used to test the social construction of gender: if the same person is treated very differently when they are considered male to when they are considered female (and vice versa), this tells us something about the nature of gender.

The fact the respondents featured in the program are all academics actually adds something to the observations because it means a potentially-significant independent variable – the work these people do – is held constant. This removes an important intervening or confounding variable from the equation.

The second is a short (1 minute) sketch from The Fast Show that illustrates the idea of “Invisible Women”: how women’s observation and contributions to traditionally-male areas of social life may be systematically stolen and erased.

It’s also very funny.

Which is always a bonus.

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