West And Zimmerman Gender

Powerful Essays
West and Zimmerman (1987) contend that gender is a socially constructed accomplishment that actively surfaces in every day human interaction, in which the ultimate goal is to ensure that one’s gender identity coincides with their biological sex. Due to this, it is argued that gender is both a social outcome and rationale for legitimizing one of the most important societal binaries: man and woman. Therefore, any behaviors that do not fall under predetermined gendered routines are seen as abnormal and unnatural. Nevertheless, West and Zimmerman (1987) argue that an understanding of the “cultural level of sex category and the interactional level of gender” (p. 147) is essential not only for reconceptualising gender, but also for significant social…show more content…
86) that reinforces male dominance and female submission. As a young girl, these movies shaped my thoughts in a way that made me believe I needed a man to rescue me, protect me, make me feel beautiful and complete me. Vickery (2009) states that “romantic scripts such as ‘prince charming’ and ‘waiting for the one’ are carefully embedded within so many mediated scripts of sexuality” (p. 50). For example: Cinderella is a damsel in distress and when the Prince saves her, her life is fulfilled and everything falls into place. The story of Cinderella lead me to believe two things: in order to have a better life, I must have a boyfriend and that makeovers fix everything. Disney movies not only constructed my ideas of femininity, but they also imposed gendered sexuality on me at an early age through the use of patriarchy within these films. The message that a woman is lost without a man upholds the dominant social position of men and the submissive social position of women. Due to the emphasis on hetero-romantic love and the construction of heterosexual relationships as magical and natural, I learned to value my appearance as a little girl by wearing makeup, wearing nice clothes and styling my hair so that I could get my prince-charming, who would then validate my femininity. Moreover, my idolization of Disney princesses refined my knowledge on…show more content…
221). In my shift from being a figure skater to a hockey player, my attitudes and behaviors changed. To be identified as a tomboy means you are a girl who does boy things, therefore your “attitude, dress and demeanour” (p. 228) are considered to be more masculine than feminine (Paechter, 2010). I stopped caring about what I looked like and I started to embrace my natural beauty – I threw away all of my make-up, I wore pants instead of skirts, sweaters instead of frilly tank tops and I stopped styling my hair every day. Each of these behaviors and attitudes fall in line with the characteristics of the “tomboy” identity. I genuinely enjoyed this shift because I felt happier being able to show everyone the real me. However, my peers were not inspired by my new identity – in fact, they were appalled at how ‘unpresentable’ and ‘butchy’ I was. Secretly, I was seeking approval from the boys in my grade. Paechter (2010) states that girls’ bodies are often policed by others – therefore when girls project a certain set of qualities, “others will assign a tomboy or girly-girl identity” (p. 221). It is evident that my actions were monitored closely because as soon as people noticed the changes I made to myself – I was labeled a tomboy. Furthermore, my experience with my hockey team was amazing for me
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