The Social Construction of Gender, Free Essay in Sociology

Published: 2022-03-01 20:03:02
The Social Construction of Gender, Free Essay in Sociology
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Gender Sociology
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1512 words
13 min read
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Sexism

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Refers to the discrimination of someone based on sex.

Sexism in the society is prevalent as women are considered as subordinate to men. Valentine, Jackson, and Mayblin (405) affirm that in the society, women are perceived as less intelligent, less competitive, weak, and less competent. One particular example of sexism in the society is the objectification of women. In the media, for example, women's bodies are used to sell products. The concept is widespread to an extent that if a woman does not have the face, body, and the standards of beauty that the society requires, then they have no value. The trend is quite evident in the media and magazines where women are objectified. More so, young girls are taught to believe that their beauty defines their worth in the society.

Privilege

Refers to advantage that is available to one particular person or groups of people. In the society, privilege has a close association with power. Besides that, the society portrays men as those who have more privilege and power compared to women.

An example of privilege in relation to sex is where by a particular sex have certain advantages in the society. Males have privileges in a way that they can manage to walk out at night without any fear. On the contrary, an example of female privilege is the way most women custody battles. For example, Valentine, Jackson, and Mayblin (403) assert that the underprivileged often feel disconnected with social interactions between groups.

Prejudice

The concept refers to the feelings and attitudes towards a particular person or groups of people.

An example of prejudice in the society is the discrimination against race. For centuries, racism has been a controversial topic. Most people cannot associate themselves with people from a particular race because of their hatred and intolerance. More so, another example of prejudice occurs in the workplace where females and males cannot secure particular jobs based on their sex. Valentine, Jackson, and Mayblin describe sexism as the new prejudice (402). Usually, people tend to discriminate their peers without any knowledge of their attitudes and behaviors.

Homophobia

The concept refers to negative attitudes towards homosexuals.

In the society, many people do not accept the lifestyle of homosexuals. Valentine, Jackson, and Mayblin (408) provide an example how Muslim communities in western countries are viewed as non-liberal minorities through the representations of homophobia. Besides that, media discourses depict homosexuality with negativity. Any time a person has come out as a homosexual, the media and various blogs report about it widely without understanding the dynamics of the phenomenon.

Patriarchy

Refers to a system where the males hold primary roles in the society. However, Johnson (n.d) articulates that patriarchy is more than the male aspect. In his view, it is more than a collection of individuals.

The author provides an example of patriarchy is whereby one enters a business and they immediately know that they have entered something that will shape their experiences and behavior (77). As he explains further, one feels that they entangled in a set of relationships that and shared understandings regarding who is who and what is bound to happen and the reason for their happenings (77). Besides that, the author asserts that when one leaves a business entity, they feel relieved due to the constraints they experienced in their participation in that system (77). Ideally, as opposed to the male dominance in a patriarchal society, the author describes the phenomenon as one, which shapes people's experiences in many ways.

Part 11

1

According to the view of gender as a social construction, society comes up with particular roles and considers them ideal for someone of a certain sex. Fundamentally, gender is socially constructed from when a child is born from the privileges to the roles men and women play every day. Greco (p.2) asserts that the birth of a child is enough evidence of the salinity of gender and the beginning of the social construction into gender. For example, when an infant grows up, girls are taught to play with dolls while boys are required to play with toy cars. The society adapts to that behavior and it is seen as unusual to see a girl child play with cars and boys play with dolls. The author adds that the primary socialization of an infant is the earliest exposure of gender as a social construction. Moreover, she adds that when a child develops into adulthood, the views of masculinity and femininity come into play. They provide examples of schools, where teachers segregate children according to their gender. Another example of the social construction of gender is the dress code required by both males and females particularly in relation to colors, fabrics, and designs. Besides that, in the business sector, females are required to dress to dress in a particular way to be considered successful. More so, some particular jobs are considered to be for males only while others for females. When a female ventures into the male industry and vice versa, the society considers it as unacceptable. In essence, as opposed to sex being the physical basis, gender is a social construction. When one thinks of that, the idea that men and women are supposed to behave in a particular manner in the society comes to mind. Social influences affect gender expectations by a large margin as they shape behaviors and norms that are associated with gender.

On a broader perspective, gender is socially constructed in through the practices of everyday life. In fact, gender appears to be coerced by its representation in the media, education, sports, and music. From a personal perspective, the institutions mentioned above seem to have scripted set of behaviors and attitudes of the way men and women should behave in the society. Besides that, the social constructionism of gender is constructed through social interaction. Even so, when looking at the cultural aspects, gender is not innate, because different cultures expect men and women to behave in a way that their society expects them. In that way, gender is socially produced. However, there are a myriad of consequences associated with the social construction of gender. The distinctions between men and women have profound consequences in all areas of social life. One consequence is that it results in discrimination and inequalities. Power (p.1) affirms that as the society categorizes its members according to sex inequality comes into play because of the stereotypes associated with gender. More to the point, the author affirms that another consequence is that it affects gender identity in a way that it results in stereotypical threads, which make a person fear that their behavior will exemplify a negative stereotype as he or she is required to conform to that stereotype.

2

According to Johnson, it is important to see patriarchy as it operates on a systematic level rather than through an individual because the latter will result in a temporary effect. Johnson (78) articulates that patriarchy is a kind of society that is more than a collection of men and women who cannot be understood simply by trying to comprehend them. He affirms that if people do not look beyond the individual level, the change they achieve will be trivial (82). He asserts that patriarchy on a systematic level provides a myriad of reasons for people to go along with the status quo (82). He emphasizes that patriarchy cannot work on an individualistic level because it is more than the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of people (83). He adds that in as much as people ought to focus on patriarchy as a system, they should not ignore the individuals, but include them as participants in the larger system (93). He provides an example of gender violence where men and women blame their selves for their roles. From his perspective, nothing can be gained from taking the individual path as a way of getting someone out of the patriarchal disarray (97). For example, Johnson articulates that individual men are sometimes held accountable for what they do, but since patriarchy is not about men, focusing on the individual will not help because men are busy defending themselves or apologizing for being male (97). More so, he states that it is important to focus on patriarchy on a systematic level because individual focus makes it hard to talk about oppression. He avers that since patriarchy is a social system, the individual focus is ideal because social oppression surrounds the organization of patriarchy within the society (98). In essence, Johnson suggests that participation in a patriarchal system is essential because it helps people shape themselves and their surroundings.

Works cited

Greco Julianna. Gender: A Social Construction. Sociological Imagination: Western' Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal, vol. 2: Iss. 2, Article 8. 2013.

Johnson Allan. Patriarchy the System: An it, not a He, a Them, or an Us. N.d. accessible at http://www.faculty.umb.edu/heike.schotten/readings/Johnson,%20Patriarchy%20the%20System.pdf

Power, Maria. The Social Construction of Gender. Applied Social Psychology. 2011. Accessible at http://www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/applied_social_psychology/2011/10/the-social-construction-of-gender.html

Valentine, Gill., Jackson, Lucy., and Mayblin, Lucy. Ways of Seeing: Sexism the Forgotten Prejudice? Gender, Place & Culture, 21:4, 401-414, DOI:10.1080/0966369X.2014.913007

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