MIDTERM - Morgan 1 Cassie Morgan WGST-150-001 Professor...

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Cassie Morgan WGST-150-001 Professor Langa 7 March 2008 MIDTERM EXAM PART 1. EVERYONE ANSWER THIS QUESTION: Your answer should not exceed 1/2 page of typing single-spaced (about 25 lines) 1. Explain how “sex” and “gender” are different. How does the concept of “performing gender” expand on these two concepts? Sex is typically defined as being intimate and biological (Langa 1-15-08). Sex is either of the two main categories, male or female, which humans are divided into based on their reproductive organs. This is determined for each person at birth. For humans, their sex is often seen as an identity for biological and social purposes. For most, one can only be a female or a male. Many factors can play a role in how a person feels about their sex. Their environment, psychology, biology, and social structure can all play vital parts in what a person considers their sex to be. In addition to having an assigned sex, there is also gender. Gender is different depending on how each social community sets up how women and men should act. It is a socially constructed set of expectations (Langa 1-15-08). Gender is the state of being male or female that is typically defined using references from both social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. Some can biologically be defined as having the sex of a female, but they can consider themselves to be a male based on how they live their life, how they were raised, and the society and community in which they grew up. In Judith Lorber’s The Social Construction of Gender , she says that gender is better seen as a process rather than as a status. The “process” starts at birth when our gender is determined for us based on our genitalia, and then continues to develop, as we grow older. Some people, as they mature, feel as if they are not meant to be in the body that they were assigned at birth, thus some feel the need to dress, look, and act like the gender they want to be. It is better to label gender as a “process” rather than a “status” because not everyone is comfortable in their own skin, and in order to be comfortable they experiment with being both genders. Some days, a male, can want to act like a male, other days, he may feel like acting like a female. “Performing gender” falls into a similar category as to whether or not gender should be seen as a status or more as a process. This is ongoing and can occur at anytime. Just because we are assigned a specific sex based on our genitalia at birth does not mean that we have to confine ourselves to only portraying that sex. The differences between sex and gender are still confused often in today’s society. They are often times used as words that are interchangeable because many believe that they have the same meaning. I, too, did not know that there was that much of a difference between the two words, so I used the two interchangeably as if they did mean the same thing. I’m glad that I have learned the difference, and have actually corrected some of my friends in their use of the words. 1
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course WGST 150 taught by Professor Langa during the Spring '08 term at American.

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MIDTERM - Morgan 1 Cassie Morgan WGST-150-001 Professor...

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