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West And Zimmerman 's Theory Of Gender

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West and Zimmerman’s theory of “Doing Gender” defines sex and gender as two separate entities within this binary society. Sex refers to the biological characteristics that are typically attributed to males and females. Gender is the status of the individual performing the activities that are commonly associated with masculinity and femininity. These traits are rigid in dictating the individual’s consistent performance of them. A gendered individual must execute the appropriate acts that are linked to masculinity or femininity respectively. It is a learned behavior that is taught at an early age through observation of society. Therefore, it is society that decides whether an action is attributed to masculinity or femininity. Gender is a socially constructed idea of thought that people unconsciously follow. The acts that constitute a particular gender can change based on the views of society within a generation. Certain activities and forms of appearance have shifted between males and females. As society evolves throughout history, the interactions between individuals and their gendered actions have changed. West and Zimmerman state, “When we view gender as an accomplishment, an achieved property of situated conduct, our attention shifts from matters internal to the individual and focuses on interactional and, ultimately, institutional arenas” (West and Zimmerman, 1987, page 126). Thus the performance of gender has developed passed the individual and is engrained within the
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