Social Construction of Gender

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1. “Night to His Day” – Judith Lorber

2. Wikipedia

3. Judith Butler

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In order to understand the answer of the above question, it is very

important to understand what exactly is “Gender” and what a “Social

Construct” means.


In a layman’s language, Gender is simply the distinction between

male and female. However, if we look deeper in well, we will notice

the gender construction starts with the association of sex category

at the time of birth. Sex is the biological distinction between a man

and a woman and gender is based on sex. A sex category becomes

a gender status through naming, dress and
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The building blocks

of gender are socially constructed statuses. Western societies have

only two genders, "man" and "woman." Some societies have three

genders-men, women, and berdaches or hijras or xaniths. Berdaches,

hijras, and xaniths are biological males who behave, dress, work, and

are treated in most respects as social women; they are therefore not

men, nor are they female women; they are, in our language, "male

women."4 There are African and American Indian societies that have

a gender status called manly-hearted Women- biological females

who work, marry, and parent as men; their social status is "female

men". They do not have to behave or dress as men to have the social

responsibilities and rights of husbands and fathers.

As a social institution, gender is a process of creating distinguishable

social statuses for the duty of rights and responsibilities. As a process,

gender creates the social differences that define "woman" and "man."

In social interaction throughout their lives, individuals learn what is

expected, see what is expected, act and react in expected ways, and

thus simultaneously construct and maintain the gender order. In a

gender-stratified society, what men do is usually valued more highly

than what women do because men do it, even when their activities

are very similar or the
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