Social Construction Of Gender Roles

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Social Constructionism The sociology of knowledge is a heterogeneous set of theories which generally focuses on the social origins of meaning. Instead of meaning inhering in objects themselves or being imposed idiosyncratically by individuals, meaning is hypothesized to emerge out processes of social interaction- e.g., traditions, norms, practices, rituals, institutions, habits, etc. The social world is an independent, external reality to which the individual must adapt or face sanctions. This ensures a measure of cognitive conformity. (Peterson,D) Social Construction of Gender Roles Gender is frequently reduced to biology and can be misunderstood. There is a sociality and susceptibility to social construction. In terms of social construction,…show more content…
In conjunction with these factors the emergent democracy in South Africa has rendered these concepts both fixed and changeable (Unterhalter, Epstein, Morrell & Moletsane, 2004). With the emergence of democracy in South Africa complex politics have developed around redistribution, transformation of relations of production and the affirmation of subordinated identities. There is a movement towards an enhanced understanding of the complex processes by which identities are constituted and the ability of individuals to occupy multiple subject positions. This understanding has shed light on the fact that simple formulations based on causal connections between race, class and gender inequalities are severely limited (Unterhalter et al., 2004). In the South African context a culture of patriarchy has tended to dominate across lines of race and class and it is only since liberation in 1994 that the fight against gender inequality has been recognised and legitimised. However, within South African feminist theorising and practice white-middle class women have tended to dominate in knowledge production. Therefore the concept of feminism in South Africa is still fairly new and often viewed in a derogatory fashion as being a mainly Western or white domain (Shefer,…show more content…
These socially determined roles for men and women are culturally or socially created and are perceived as being expected and normal. From these gender roles, certain characteristics that are a reflection of what it means to be male or to be masculine are expected of men, while other characteristics are ascribed to women and their femininity. ―For example, men are supposed to be natural leaders, decision makers and providers in society, beginning within the family, while women are the caregivers, supporters and followers of men(Pretorius, 1998). In addition women are usually allocated the role of domestic chores as if it were normal for them to do this. This type of work is often hidden and not paid for. For the majority of women in South Africa, domestic chores occur over and above work which they do outside of the home (Pretorius,

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