Gender & Society 1st Exam

Gender & Society 1st Exam - 1 Gender is a social...

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1.) Gender is a social construction. Gender is defined as identifying with being a man or a woman. When we a social constructionist defines gender, they believe there are many multiple meanings of what it means to do gender. They understand that the meaning of gender changes over time, place, culture, etc. The meaning of gender comes from institutions. “ As a social institution, gender is a process of creating distinguishable social statuses for the assignment of rights and responsibilities. As a part of a stratification system that ranks these statuses unequally, gender is a major building block in the social structures built on these unequal statuses” [Lorber ] . Those “stratification systems” view the world as ONE truth and ONLY truth. People with this view are called essentialist. They protect our comfort zone, making our ONE truth be taught that it was divinely given. For example, essentialist believe because you are born a male, you are therefore consider a man is society (man=penis). We construct biological sex by saying you are a man because you have a penis. They place people into binary boxes and say you’re either “us” or “them”. “Sex what was ascribed by biology: anatomy, hormones, and physiology. Gender is achieved status: that which is constructed through psychological, cultural, and social means.” (West & Zimmerman). Social construction perpetuates the status quo and oppression. Dominant groups run institutions and gives us essentialistic ideas. It perpetuates their dominance. We are trained to think like essentialism, therefore we never ask “why” or “what does it mean?” Gender in the U.S., for example, is viewed as hegemonic. This is a heteronormative idea that everything heterosexual is what we consider a norm. It’s the idea that penis and testosterone is what makes you a man. “…we all believe in stereotypes about minorities. These stereotypes are typically pejorative and false…” (Sapolsky). For a male, it isn’t the testosterone that makes you a man. It’s that a man is taught to be aggressive, which causes a greater production of testosterone. We use testosterone as an excuse for male behavior. We are teaching our men to behave a certain way, and the way they behavior helps to produce excessive testosterone. Masculinity is learned and it impacts your biological makeup. For example, transsexuals do gender.
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