Sex and Gender Essay

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Sex and Gender The terms employed most frequently to describe the differences between men and women are 'sex' and 'gender'. Sex refers to the differing physical attributes of women and men (Lee, Shaw). The categories of sex are male and female. In every society sex differences are given social meanings. Social identity, which is confessed on the basis of assumed sexual differences, is called "gender" (Lee, Shaw). People are born female or male, but learn to be girls and boys, who grow into men and women. Males are supposed to be masculine, strong, and macho, while females are attributed to be feminine, fragile, …show more content…
Gender differences, in spite of being constructed in complex ways, are not unchangeable. In reality masculinity and femininity are not fixed categories acquired in childhood but are constantly being tested, challenged and reworked. To this, one could add that most aspects related to gender differences over time vary and have changed across cultures.

The pressure of gender conformity can be very strongly felt by both girls and boys. In the case of girls, the pressures on some in relation to body image lead to anorexia and death. In addition, girls are faced with a maze of decisions about whether to be like a girl in this situation, or like a boy in that situation-and are often damned in either. In the case of boys, the key aspects of dominant masculinity are clearly in evidence in any classroom in which there are boys. It is based on being strong and rough, on learning to take it, on being first or the best, on disassociating from girls or boys whose identity does not 'pass the test' of macho maleness, on not showing affection, and on defying authority, especially female authority. All these things serve to prove acceptable masculinity. Boys create and preserve this masculinity through fear of whatever might be constructed as female, since whatever

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