Gender Differences In Jewelry

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According to the American Psychological Association, “gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex.” Throughout history, culture has taken biological differences and associated them with certain activities, behavior, and ideas. American philosopher Judith Butler emphasizes that while gender is performed by individuals, those individuals can only act within the spectrum of possibilities permitted. There are many ways that the human race has attempted to distinguish the male and female gender, whether it be through clothing, makeup, body augmentation, or other forms of adornment, but jewelry may be one of the oldest and most common forms of gender construction. Adorning oneself with jewelry has been consistent across space and…show more content…
Jewelry is a universal form of adornment that has been around for thousands of years. Thanks to archeological evidence and ancient scholarly reports, jewelry and its purpose has been thoroughly studied. In North Africa, for example, prehistoric shells have been found with obviously man made perforations through the center, and it is estimated that they could date from as far back as 82,000 years ago. Throughout history, the act of wearing jewelry enables the wearer to express him or herself non-verbally, to showcase wealth, rank, political and religious affiliation or affections toward someone. Regardless of the gender of the wearer, these non-verbal expressions are easily understood. The purpose of jewelry remains the same no matter if a male or female is wearing it. “Especially in pre-literate cultures, most decoration is a carefully orchestrated collection of signs, each with particular meanings and overtones. As worn, jewelry constitutes a complex statement of social fact and personal fantasy, which other people in the same culture recognize and
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