116) society imposes restrictions and controls one’s freedom to transfer from one sex status to others. One who believes they are normally sexed, may believe that their society has a normal sex construction. Gender is dichotomised to give two and only two categories. This means they represent gender as divided. Garfinkel (1967, p. 118-40) created a case study of Agnes, a transsexual who was brought up as a male but attained her status as a female and adopted a female identity at the age of 17. A couple of years later she experienced a sex reallocation operation. This is an example of evidence for how gender is constructed through interaction. Agnes had the male genitalia, therefore she was required to represent herself as a female and be knowledgable about what it’s like to be a female. It was necessary for her to recognise how to behave in social situations. Agnes’ case proves that culture has made the achievement of gender indistinguishable (West and Zimmerman,
‘‘Sex’ is a biological term; ‘gender’ a psychological and cultural one’ (Oakley 1972, p.158). To further expound on Oakley, ‘sex’ refers to the biological framework a person is born with while ‘gender’, an identity that we acquire as a result of social and cultural influence. Sex is naturally constant throughout an individual’s life whereas gender is a variable. Via gender socialisation, men and women constantly learn to adapt to society’s expectations associated with their biological form as society changes. This very concept clearly elucidates the dichotomy between sex and gender. Therefore, coming from such a perspective, it is true to say that we are born as human beings (males, females or intersex) who formulate socially accepted gender identities as a product of social and cultural implications (Abbott, Wallace & Tyler 2005). Conventionally, societies associate the male and female sexes with their definitions of masculinity and femininity respectively.
Now we come to our third approach of gender development which is Culture. “The cultural theorists do not dismiss biological and interpersonal factors, but they do assume that these are qualified by the influence of culture” (Wood, 47). What these culture theorists are suggesting is culture shapes, affects, and determines your gender. For example, the environment in which a child grows up in has a strong deciding factor of what their gender will be. Nonetheless, as the culture theorist point out the biological and interpersonal weigh in on a child’s gender and what they identify as or
The discussion of genes and gender and the respective roles they play in determining sex and identity have been widely discussed in recent decades. The idea that biology can solely determine ones sex, wherein no external factors impact that determination requires further discussion. The topic of whether there are strictly two distinct genders represented in society has been recognized largely as a western cultural viewpoint. While not everyone agrees with this viewpoint, one biologist that plays a role in this discussion is Anne Fausto-Sterling. She is an expert in gender development and wrote extensively on the subject of gene and gender. In this paper I will discuss Fausto-Sterling’s view on sex and gender, and how she undermines the idea of strict universal dimorphism. Being that sexual dimorphism is the favored view of most in the scientific community, this discussion comes with some controversy. She states that with the understanding of intersexed individuals in society, we as a society must abandon the idea that there are only 2 sexes.
An eclectic use of both of these theories would enhance our understanding of gender development because it is important to understand that biology and socialization play a part in gender development. Hormones, sexual organs, culture, and society intertwine and make a child aware of his or her gender. A cognitive understanding does not suffice. For example, for parents who believe that culture, school, peers, and media influence their son or daughter to be transgender are incorrect. Both of these theories demonstrate that biologically their child was born with the awareness that they belong to a different sex; it is embedded in their chromosomes. Meanwhile, society simply enabled them to observe the gender roles and determine which gender they felt most comfortable in.
In her essay titled “Compulsive Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” Adrienne Rich claims that any alternative to heterosexual outcome is discouraged by society. The essay claims that Western tradition has used the heterosexual family model as the basic social
There are several sources that tell a person how to be a man or woman. Science tells us by recognizing the X or Y chromosomes. The media shows us through the physically ideal celebrities that grace the covers of magazines and flaunt their bodies in commercials. Sports, wrestling, cars, and blue for the boys. Dresses, make-up, painted nails, and pink for the girls. All of these sources, as well as others, have evolved into an expectation that has become institutionalized within society. This expectation, is placement and belonging into the binary system of person: the man or the woman. In Anne Fausot-Sterling's acrticles “The Five Sexes” and the “The Five Sexes, Revisited”, the
In the reading by Penelope Eckert and Sally McConnell-Ginet “Learning to be Gendered” it states “Women are not born, they are made. The same is true of men”. Everybody has their own gender, it’s either a male or female. We think that we were born this way, but in reality we are forced to become something we are not. We are the way we are because of society its self. It affects our daily lives to a point where people have lost the will of choosing who they are or what they want. In some parts around the world it is forbidden to date or marry the same sex. Now days everything is branded for either a male, female, or both.
The Lenses of Gender by Sandra Bem begins by introducing the three lenses that will be discussed in the book: androcentrism, gender polarization, and biological essentialism. The most significant aspect to this reading was the concept of females being an addition to males or the ‘other’. Specifically, this idea is derived from a biblical view. When taking a look at the creation of man and the story of Adam of Eve, “Adam is explicitly given the power to name--that is, define--every single creature on earth, including women… Adam is unambiguously said to be created in God’s image. Eve, in contrast, is an inferior departure from this godly standard,” (Bem, 1993, p. 46) This perception of females being below the male standard carries out throughout
This is quite an interesting article to someone like me who considered herself to be a lesbian woman and who has had several encounters with these “straight” women. The author’s main point in this article is the vast continuum in which women’s sexuality resides, but also the ways in which these women define what classifies one someone who is homosexual. Most conformed to binary categories heterosexual-homosexual, while one refused to conform to one or the other while also being uncomfortable with the bisexual label. A majority of these women also placed an emphasis on the physical act of sex with another woman to be the definitive action that would classify them as a lesbian. Since none of them had “gone all the way,” then two of the three women stated that they considered themselves heterosexual while the one, as mentioned above, refused to conform to a label.
in our society we are given strict guidlines of what a man and a femal should behave like. no matter where we go we are first judged by our gender and secoundly our race. some people believe that sexual confusion or gender role confusion are diorders that people have from birth, which is true, but at times these behaviors come from tramatic or negative experiances. for a child or indivual person to become confused aboul there sexual role in society they experiencesome form or belittle ment based on their divergent behavior toward the strict gudlines of sexuality. our society has stressed out the idea that the ideal girl should not be powerful, aggressive or strong, and the ideal boys should not have a petite physique, play with dolls or engage
Monique Wittig in her article, “One is not born a woman”, states that there is no “natural woman”, and that the idea of a woman and feminity is created by the society in relationship to the “man.” She argues that since lesbians are outside the heterosexual normativity, and a lesbian society does exist, this defeats the idea of “natural woman.” Wittig postulates that society must reject the myth of Woman. She makes convincing arguments that currently lesbianism is the only category that goes beyond man and woman. In the end, she concludes that the society must destroy categories of sex, and reject all sciences that use these definitions. I agree with Witting that “woman” is not a natural group, but a group created in relation to “man.”
Gender is an individual’s cognitive reference to themselves as male or female, whereas sex is their sexual anatomy, made up from their genes (Anderson, 2015). Children develop gender schemas through observations of others, looking at different characteristics and roles each gender takes on, while also learning through their own culture (Rathus, 2006). Bem did not believe in clear gender roles, she stated that, “an individual could display characteristics of both males and females, making them androgynous” (Anderson, 2015). Within her theory, individuals can be gender schematic or gender aschematic. Gender schematic individuals see the world through a lens that is strictly black and white. They have a set view on how a males and females should act and they do not deviate from their perceptions, instead they align with their “categorized schemas” (Anderson, 2015). If an individual is classified as being gender aschematic, then an environment is not strictly defining roles or characteristics of males and females, then children will have a broader schema because they are not being influenced to develop ideas of which traits belong to which gender (Rathus,
The nurture argument can explain why some people adopt the gender role not expected of their sex. In theory, a feminine boy would have had a set of experiences which have led him to acquire a different gender role from most boys. If gender roles are nurtured, it also explains why an individual’s gender may change over time as anything that is learnt can be unlearnt and replaced by a new set of behaviours.
When considering gender and sex, a layman’s idea of these terms might be very different than a sociologist’s. There is an important distinction: sex, in terms of being “male” or “female,” is purely the physical biological characteristic differences – primarily anatomical differences. (There are also rare cases of “intersexual” individuals as outlined in the Navarro article, “When Gender Isn’t a Given”.) Gender, on the other hand, is an often misconstrued concept that is commonly mistaken as synonymous with sex. A non-sociologist might surmise the following, “men act masculine and women act feminine, therefore, it must follow that gender is inherent to sex,” however, this is not necessarily the case.