The Social Construction of Gender Essays

1997 Words 8 Pages
In the United States, our concept of gender, and the differences between men and women, have deep traditional roots. Men are supposed to be strong individuals, who support and defend their families. Women are seen as nurturing, and motherly, more gentle and tame. We believe so strongly that the two genders are entirely separate, with such completely different traits, that it almost seems that men and women are just born with different qualities. But is this really the case? Are girls really born with the genes to prefer pink and Barbie dolls, while boys are genetically predisposed to act like warriors and defend their families? Are masculine and feminine simply genetic facts? Evidence seems to support a deeper reason than that. As a …show more content…
In her paper on the biological differences in cognition between men and women, Doreen Kimura suggests that the social differences between genders arose out of biological necessity (Kimura 46). Even so, it is difficult to argue that social factors do play a large part in gender in society today. A closer look at both biological and social perspectives will reveal more about the processes that determine gender roles. Merriam-Webster provides two definitions for the meaning of gender. The first is simply that gender is a synonym for sex. The second, however, states that gender is “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex (Merriam-Webster).” This is the definition for gender used in this paper, while sex is defined separately, as the biological differences between males and females. Biologically, there are some differences between males and females. Boys do tend to be a bit more aggressive, while girls are usually more verbal. Males also have better spatial skills, which research seems to contribute to their higher testosterone levels, as women with higher testosterone also seem to have greater spatial reasoning skills. (Kimura 50). However, overall these biological differences are small.. And they don't account for our stereotypical views of what is masculine and what is feminine. Some of the aggressive behavior of boys could still be contributed to individual
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