Q2) Arguments are continually made for gender, sexuality, and race as biological fact, however it is more productive to regard them as outcomes of discourses and discursive practices that have varied historically, geographically and culturally. Discuss this claim in the context of no more than two aspects of identity that we have analysed in the unit. Outline of Essay Biological determinism: The sex in which you are born determines behaviours in which you should demonstrate. These behaviours are inherent and therefore are already decided for you. Gender, sexuality and race are said to be a product of this but they are outcomes of discourse and discursive practices.
Since, it has become actively debated topic in the microscopic theory. It happens due to the following points. In everyday life, sex differences are seen as fundamental, and there is a prejudice that a person comes into the world with a predefined biological program. It is believed, that an individual should carry out the life in a male or female appearance. Gender identity is a product of social construction and, at the same time is one of the key factors that mediate the behavioral activity and the installation of the individual in the context of interpersonal relationships.
How can the word ‘gender’ be defined? The American Psychological Association refers to gender as, “The attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex.” Gender is not to be confused with an individual’s sex, which is predicated solely on biological factors, such as genitalia and sex chromosomes. Gender has become a social construct, and society has absolute control in defining gender roles; stifling creativity and innovation. Gender construction is the distinction between the two sexes and attribution of traits and characteristics through gender roles. The culture within a society defines what is considered masculine or feminine.
From a summary point of view, if sex is our biology, then everything else is the genre. So, any difference between men and women that are not exclusively explained by biology must be considered as a gender difference. Gender is at the same time a determinant and a product of what is expected, permitted or valued by a man or woman in a given context The gender role refers to the roles that society assigns to men and women on a differential basis. This is in fact what is considered appropriate for a given sex in terms of relationships, personality traits, attitudes, behaviors, values, power and social influences. Since gender is a relational concept, its roles and characteristics do not exist in isolation.
What he means is that one’s sex derives from one’s reproductive organs and genital configurations , whereas gender refers to the amount of stereotypical femininity and masculinity a person exhibits. Gayle Rubin, for instance, uses the term ‘sex/gender system’ in order to describe “a set of arrangements by which the biological raw material of human sex and procreation is shaped by human, social intervention” (1975, 165). To inhibit one’s gender means having to learn behaviour, manners, gestures and attitudes that our culture deems appropriate to each sex. It is through learning these patterns that we become socialized and gendered, moving from our individual anatomical sex (being male or female) to a processed social product (behaving as a man or woman). From the social and cultural expectations for a man and the manner and degree to which he acknowledges and lives up to them we derive the concept of masculinity; those applicable to a woman, together with her compliance with them, we think of as femininity.
Investigating how we are socialized in regards to gender is interesting because it is such a broad topic on how society characterizes everyone by gender. The biological categories of gender strongly influence the social dynamics of gender (Conley 281). Gender matters because it structures relations between people, but as gender structures relation it does this on unequal ground.
According to sexologists John Money and Anke Ehrhardt, sex and gender are separate categories. “Sex, they argued, refers to physical attributes and is anatomically and physiologically determined. Gender they saw as a psychological transformation - the internal conviction that one is either male or female (gender identity) and the behavioral expressions of that conviction” (Sterling 4). Although there are biological differences between the two sexes, but gender roles are socially constructed. They determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, behave and interact with society. Richard Dawkins states in his book, The Selfish Gene that we are merely a product of our genes and our main purpose in life is to serve the genes, become distribution agents and ensure their continuance (Nye, Savage and Watts 273) .
However, not one by itself can explain it all; instead, these theories are intertwined together. It is true that culture does play a major role in shaping gender roles. Despite most cultures having different roles for men and women, gender differences were nonexistent in early research by psychologists. Carol Gilligan believed that “factors of social status and power combine with reproductive biology to shape the experience of males and females and the relations between the sexes” (Mio, Barker, & Tumambing, 2012, p. 28). Research has shown that men and women do think and speak differently; however, does that mean they must take on different roles, such as with
This discrimination that I’m referring to is something that is very common. If we want a change to occur, we must behave in a respectable manner. How will we initiate this change? Certain gender beliefs can lead to personal biases about individuals. “Children themselves become active participants in this gendering process by the time they are conscious of the social relevance of gender, typically before the age of two” (Kane, 2006, p. 150).
How institutionalized gender, the distribution of power between men and women in the political, educational, and social institutions in society, is still ever prominent despite the negative results. How gender identity amongst genderqueer individuals “describe how we see ourselves, and are seen by others, as female or male, or across a feminine-masculine continuum. Individuals may also self-identify dynamically along the continuum of gender-queer and/or transgender. Gender identity affects our feelings and behaviors” (Tannenbaum 3) yet we still categorize people by their clothes, despite the fact that the history of gendered clothes and colors have always altered and that “social convention of 1884 dictated that boys wore dresses until the ages of 6 or 7” (Jeanne). Gender roles also have been proven to have caused multiple serious mental illnesses and mental issues “such as depression and anxiety, sex obligation, low self-esteem, paranoia and psychoneurosis, inter-personal problems like family violence, interpersonal sensitivity, lack of