Gender And Social Construction Of Gender

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‘Gender’ is a category used by all human beings to describe the state of being either male or female. Gender is often described as socially constructed which implies that it is something individuals may not be aware of. Through the social construction of a concept, meanings are created. These meanings and understandings are developed in coordination with other individuals rather than within individuals themselves. Because all societies are different, the social construction and therefore definitions of gender are not fixed and hence vary. Gender is very much a lived experience and relates to the ideas we develop to make sense of men and women in relation to each other, as they change and develop. It is also argued that gender is politically deployed. Gender as a term itself is bound up with power relations. It influences every aspect of personal lives and is also integrated within institutions, which themselves can be gendered. Gender as a concept was previously uncontested, seen as unproblematic and was self-evident. Second Wave Feminism was the impetus for the questioning of patriarchal assumptions of dominant social theory, bringing gender relationships to the fore. Biologists and social scientists have started to study the categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’ more closely because they have found that not everyone fits neatly into one or the other, as previously assumed (Fausto-Sterling 1985). Gender is now well established within universities and throughout disciplinary

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