Each person is born either male or female, these are biological facts. However, no matter how clean cut these biological facts may be, they have social implications. Biologically speaking, there are minimal differences in the ability of male and female persons, none that would indicate a less able sex. Yet the underlying social assumptions associated to sex, translate to gender roles that clearly define a perceived difference because of sex. Gender is a social expectation, constructed through time, insisted and demanded through generations.
It is a perception of roles and abilities created by society to define men and women as separate groups (Lerner, p. 238, Wolfe, p. 27-34). Sandra Lee Bartky (p. 61-86) further explains that people are born male and female and not masculine and feminine. Femininity is a social ideology imposed upon women, an attribute which is achieved through forceful and repeated learning (Lee Bartky, p. 61-8). By defining gender as a construct we acknowledge that gender is not an attribute that is biologically defined. Gender does not come innately in a person.
Instead, gender is defined and perpetuated by social assumptions and expectations. Gender ideologies determine what is expected of each person dependent on sex, while gender roles determine how each person is to act in fulfilling their expectations and how each person is to relate to each other. Gender is an idea that is socially constructed based on expectations of social roles. The roles the men and women are expected to have in a society, and the perceived ideals of masculine and feminine are formed through social expectations and not biological characteristics.
Broadly gender ideologies relate to socially constructed roles that define division of labor, distribution of power, individual rights and responsibilities and differentiation as one relates to society. Works Cited Lee Bartky, Sandra. “Foucault, Femininity and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power. ” Feminism and Foucult: Paths of Resistance. Northern University Press, 1988. Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy: Women & History. USA: Oxford University Press, 1987. Wolfe, Alan. “The Gender Question. ” The New Republic 6 June: 27-34.
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Topic: Gender is a Construct
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