Essay Example - Doing Gender

Published: 2023-08-09
Essay Example - Doing Gender
Essay type:  Argumentative essays
Categories:  Gender Biology Human behavior Social issue
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 885 words
8 min read

West and Zimmerman argued that gender as the new understanding where routine achievement is linked to daily interactions. West and Zimmerman argued that the differences between men and women are not natural or biological; the differences are constructed by society to achieve certain goals and expectations of the society at a given time. The daily routines reinforce the beliefs and thinking of the people on the gender roles where both male and females have different roles that they are supposed to play in the society (West & Zimmerman, 1987). Biological explanation's show the differences between males and females, where the human body operates differently between men and women. The biological differences give man and women different capabilities bringing the differences between men and women. The biological inequalities are practically impossible to achieve fully in the society bringing the difference in capabilities between male and females.

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Doing gender helps us understand how social structures have been established based on behaviours and social practices hence bringing up the difference between male and female genders. Traditional gender perceptions were shaped by the belief that the male gender was more dominant than the female gender in terms of strength and capabilities (West & Zimmerman, 1987). The difference in the capabilities was a belief created to make women look weak in their capabilities and achieve the social goal of making women be under men in all social aspects. West and Zimmerman refuted the beliefs by analyzing the complex relations between physical features and social features. They explain how difference societies see gender differences and the factors that contribute to the differences in societies.

There are different biological theories that explain human behaviour, the theories focus on human behaviour and biological differences between man and women. Biological theories include Marxists theories and black feminist theories. The theories explain the inequalities in different genders and how humans have adopted the inequalities (West & Zimmerman, 1987). The theories are based on the data of human behaviour which does not give correct findings on the difference in capabilities between male and females. The theories fail to explain the differences between societies where some societies have embraced both genders and recognized the role they play while other believe that the female gender is weak and does not recognize its role in the society.

West and Zimmerman have challenged the notion of gender normativity by evaluating how women have been able to conquer the notion of doing gender and being able to compete with the opposite gender (Pilcher, 1998). There are different women around the world from communities that do not believe in women, but there are women that have challenged that notion on beat the men. The more the world is changing due to globalization, the more the notion of gender normativity is changing. People are embracing modern cultures where both genders have similar roles in families. The modern female gender works in the same way as the male gender; hence all parties have the responsibility of supporting their partners.

People have different personalities and capabilities regardless of their gender; there are women with higher intelligence than men which is a challenge to gender normativity. The women in careers such as medicine and engineers is a prove that gender normativity is a false idea because women in such careers do the work that was initially considered to be for men (Pilcher, 1998). West and Zimmerman have challenged the notion of gender normativity through the argument that people are born with different capabilities as opposed to the gender roles assigned at birth. The argument is supported by women who have dared to be different and have achieved in their goals.

Gender as an identity is defined as a conception of one as either a male or a female or sometimes both female and male, as well as neither of the two (Stoller, 2020). Gender as an identity is related to the gender role concept, which refers to the external manifestations of personality reflecting the gender identity. Gender identity is a result of both inherent as well as extrinsic environmental factors. For example, a person who considers herself a female and is comfortable proclaiming her gender in feminine terms as male regardless of her behaviour and appearance. Gender identity, therefore, is based on one's internal sense with gender identity starting to develop during childhood.

Typically, a child's sense of identity as either a girl or a boy starts developing at age 2-3. In this stage, the children start labeling themselves as well as others by their sex. At age 3-4, children begin understanding gender stability; thus, at the age of 4-5 years, the children realize that gender identity is constant, meaning it does not vary with time or situations. Children then identify with people of the same sex and are motivated to be like them. In most cases, the gender identity of a child matches his/her biological gender, with only 2-5 percent having a disparity (Stoller, 2020). Such children have a gender identity disorder, which is manifested by discomfort identifying with the gender and a desire to be of a different gender.


West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1(2), 125-151.

Pilcher, J. (1998). Hormones of Hegemonic Masculinity, (4), 1-9., R. J. (2020). Sex and gender: The development of masculinity and femininity. Routledge.

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