Social Construction: Gender Differences
Social Construction: Gender Differences
How does one define social construction? Well, to begin with you can certainly consider gender differences in social construction. When referring to social construction we are looking at ways society defines these characteristics and ideas within different cultures, whether it’s the biologically involved or these instances are learned starting at infancy. It’s these social interactions that people act and react to, and what is merely accepted by society. A woman is born a woman and a Man is born a Man. And these two human beings have different roles in this society that each one is supposed to perform. It’s about how we humans in this society understand how the world is constructed through our human relations with each other. It definitely plays an important role because it stereotypes between men and women as being opposites. Once you are born, during your growth process from the very beginning you are being taught the differences between masculinity and femininity by your parents, relatives, friends, or even things you see on television, etc.
Even now a days, in occupations, when one thinks of a doctor, lawyer, engineer, manager, or CEO of a company, it’s automatically presumed that it’s most definitely a man, that a women considered in these profession is not taken seriously. Or for example, nurses, housewives, babysitters, caretakers, secretaries are considered solely female professions because in this society it would be considered funny for a Man to acquire such a profession. In my opinion I think any man or a woman should be considered for either one. Sometimes a person may not even get into such or certain professions, because it is not socially acceptable within a society. Our behavior is mostly learned throughout rather than it being innate. As soon as people are born they start make a distinction between what is right and what is wrong according to what is called society. To bring up an example, let us say that if a boy is born into the family right away the kinds of toys he gets vary from the kinds of toys a girl must get. Boys will get those trucks, guns, and superhero characters and get certain comments to encourage male type behavior.
Whereas, a girl would get Barbie dolls, play makeup, and be encouraged to act a female type behavior, because she is considered not as strong as a male. A while ago I remember watching a show on ABC where John Stossec’s interviews with various experts revealed the common images of boys as “warriors,” and girls as “princesses.” The toy stores have completely segregated sections for male action toys, and dolls dressed in pink for little girls. Needless to say, stores try their best to emphasize the gender differences to children. Moreover, little boys and girls know exactly where their sections are, and upon entering the store, they directly drag their parents there. In addition to that, the film pointed out that girls show care and cooperation when playing, while boys are much more aggressive, and obtain enjoyment out of fighting. The ABC program also included an interesting discussion of the variance of IQ scores, as well as academic achievements depending on gender.
Some interviewees noticed a trend in male students’ success in Math and Science, as opposed to female students. Back in the day you wouldn’t even see may women working and bringing bread to the table, but now more and more women are holding jobs, yet they still don’t make enough money as many men do. Provided that there have been countless feminist movements, beginning decades ago and continuing to this day, questioning of power distribution is inevitable. The authors Adler and Towne explain, “Besides taking care of business, men are more likely than women to use conversations to exert control, preserve their independence, and enhance their status.” (404)
For the most part, men have a need to feel powerful, or somewhat superior. As a result, the traditional view of women’s inferiority develops: if men are superior, someone ought to be inferior. In Laura Mulveys article, “Visual Pleaures and Narrative Cinema”, she states that, “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is style accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness. (436)
-Adler, Ronald B, and Neil Towne. “Gender and Language.” Improving College
Reading. Seventh Edition. Harcourt, Inc. 2001. 404. -Boys and Girls Are Different. Narr. John Stossec. ABC Special.
-Mulvey article, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”