Gender As a Social Construct Gender is a social standard. It’s not just the physical and biological aspects of a male versus a female; it’s how men and women are expected to act in society. Some argue that gender is biological – that men and women are born knowing how to behave within their gender roles. But as Judith Lorber says, “Gender and sex are not equivalent, and gender as a social construction does not flow automatically from genitalia and reproductive organs… Social statuses are carefully constructed through prescribed processes of teaching, learning, emulation, and enforcement,” (Lorber). The social construction of gender starts from birth, and continues through adulthood. Society tells people how to act based on their genitalia – whether they should have long hair or short hair, whether they should play with dolls or toy cars, or whether they should go to work or stay home and cook. Gender is the way society turns biology into social roles.
- Spring '14
- Sociology, Judith Lorber