Social Construction of Gender

GEN2027 Gender, Culture and Society2nd Semester 2018/19Name: Ng Wing LamStudent Number: s187393Class: L02Total number of words: 1,957 wordsDate of submission: 29 April 2019Individuals are born with sex instead of gender, the differences between two gender, masculinity and femininity is socially constructed. Social construction of gender establishes by family, school and the society which may affect our social behavior and interaction with the others in daily life. Gender is socially construct with social norms and gender stereotypes in our society which constraint our attitude and performance in different fields.

It taught us to be masculine or feminine. Therefore, I would like to investigate about how gender is socially constructed and how our society is built with the gender dichotomy. Also, I would like to discuss about how gender dichotomy generates the inequality in the society. Whether it is a benefit or disadvantage of the society.As Judith Lorber mentioned in her essay Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender, everyone constantly doing gender.

Gender is continuously created and re-created through social life and human interaction with others. The concept of doing gender is instill into our mindset through life experience, family and the society. We are observationally learning with the others, father or mother is one of the commonly learning models in family to learn with the gender roles. Gender is socially constructed when we are learning from the society to be masculine or feminine. From the Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender by Judith Lorber, most of the people couldn’t know which sex a baby born with from their physical appearance.

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And parents always afraid that the gender of baby are not corresponding with their biological sex. Therefore, they would like to dress their baby to be the gender they supposed to be. For example, girls should have earrings and wear pink clothes and boys should wear dark or blue colors which is a gender stereotype constructed by the society. There are a lot of gender identities are constructed by the society, such as the myth of men are taller than women. It is built by the stratification and unequal allocation of scarce food as men need more energy to work and earn for their family. However, gendered roles are changing gradually, there are more and more fathers taking care of the children in the public. Women are getting the same education and occupation with men now. But the gender inequality of women still exists in some of the family, school, workplace and media which instill the ideas of gender roles in family and work. Gender norms are starting to perceive from childhood which parenting taught us to be act like the expected gender role that we should follow. We are assumed to be act like the other same sex models. For example, girls should regard their mother as a model and learn to become a domestic role in their family in the future. Gender stereotype is socially constructed since our childhood, all the expectations are learning from the society and the others. Originally, we are born with sex instead of the generally acknowledged gender role. Furthermore, Judith Lorber mentioned the inequality of women in the essay Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender. Gender is a process of distinguishable the social status and stratification. Women are supposed to be in the lower level of the social status which is the domestic role in the family and dominant by men. Gender divides work into two fields which are home and economic production. Women are assumed to be domestic role and work at home, then men are supposed to be a breadwinner to work outside and earn money for family economic needs. In the gender-stratified society, men always in a higher level than women as they earned and valued higher than women’s position. It included a vertical segregation in workplace, men have a higher opportunity in promotion and most of the highest position are men. And the professions that have more authority and power arealways a man, including director, boss, president and principal who are both the highest positions in a company. Women may have a lower opportunity in promotion,especially for married women. In social norms, married women have a domestic roleas they need to take care of their family and child. People think that they cannothandle two different roles together, so its mays lower their opportunity in promotion. That’s why the highest positions are always dominant by a man. Therefore, most of the female are located on a lower status than male even through they are in the same job. People always think that men do better than women.Nowadays, there are more and more social norms which identify how boy and girl should act like. Moreover, it built the gender dichotomy in our society with gender binary system. Gender dichotomy is limited with prescribed form of performance which is a system that pairs sex and gender together. It classifies only two distinguishable genders who are male and female. These two categories are the mainstream in our society. Also, it generates some gender norms restrict and confine us to act like a boy or a girl that conform with our biological sex. Sex is the physical and biological characteristics considered to differentiate man and woman bodies from each other which include chromosomes, hormones, reproductive organs and physical appearance. For example, boys should be brave and protect of girls and girls should be passive and dependent. They are always as opposites in the gender properties, such as personality traits and behaviors. Moreover, there is a social norm imply that men should be masculine and always representing positive characteristics, such as decisive and rational. And women should be feminine and always representing negative feature, such as weak and emotional. Gender dichotomy is built with three aspects include personal, family and society. It is shaped by gendered norms and expectations from the social. If people are not following the social norms, they will be treated as deviant and abnormal. In socialization, individuals learn about social and culture norms, values and beliefs for social interaction and acknowledge of what position they are. Therefore, gender role adopted since childhood and it constitutes a gender stereotypes in the social. For personal aspect, the social self ” Mead develop the self during childhood by imitation, play stage and game stage which are both learning through interaction with the others. Gender is a process, structure and stratification system. In the concept of looking glass self, people are constraint with their performance to fit-in the gender dichotomy and avoid from discrimination. For example, transvestism is defy with looking glass self as they would not affect by the others’ gaze and perform in their own style.For family aspect, mother or father is the most affectable role model for us to learning with gender. We observe their behaviors and gender roles at home during childhood and then utilize after becoming an adult. The gender role in the family are usually division into private sphere and public sphere. Women are expected to be a domestic role to take care of children and cleaning at home. And men are supposed to be a breadwinner and work outside to earn money.In the society, men and women are stereotyping into two separate markets by dual market theory. For example, man should be a fireman and woman should be kindergarten teacher. Hong Kong education has instilled this concept to children in their textbooks. There is different allocation of jobs between men and women by Horizontal Segregation. Most of the worker in technology field are always men, such as engineers and IT manager. It’s only about 15.6% of technical role are females. It is a gender stereotype of woman that they may not able to work as powerful as man in this field. It has an occupational sex segregation between men and women base on their different physical, emotional, and mental capabilities. People always think that women are better to be a teacher as they are more careful and kindness with child instead of technical jobs.The gender dichotomy may increase the impact on discrimination as gender diversity are not included in this system. Therefore, I think we should challenge this dichotomy to reduce the discrimination of gender diversity, such as homosexual, transgender, transsexual and gender fluid who are not fit-in the gender dichotomy system. In the gender binary system, people are supposed to be heterosexual who sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. Homosexuality is romantic, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between people of the same sex or gender which include gay and lesbian, the love between two men and two women respectively. These types of people have defied the gender norms in gender dichotomy which is the minority in the society. Therefore, most of them are discriminated by the others as they did not follow the gender norms and gender role. It has a great impact on those minority, they are unfavorable in many things such as marriage, child adoption and custody, immigration status and employment. Most of the people are not accept for these kinds of minority who defy gender dichotomy and treat them unequally in the society as they are abnormal. For example, there is a legal punishment in several countries and regions, such as Afghanistan, Brunei and Iran. The highest penalty of these countries in homosexuality is death penalty which strictly limit the sexual orientation of people to be heterosexual. Furthermore, there are only 27 countries accepting the same-sex marriage and make it officially legal. Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights are expand in more and more countries gradually, it still has a lot of countries treat homosexuality as deviant and crime in our society. Since people restrict themselves to follow the social norms and gender dichotomy system to be heterosexual. In addition, patriarchal system is one of the problems in gender dichotomy. Women always work for men in a man dominant society and its mays decrease their opportunity in employment and promotion as I mentioned before in the inequality of workplace. Therefore, we should challenge the tradition to eliminate this gender dichotomy and fight for gender equality in the society. Nowadays, our society has a large improvement in gender inequality in family status. In the essay of Judith Lorber, the numbers of father who taking care of their children in public has increasing. And there are more women going out to work instead of staying at home and doing housework. However, the gender inequality still exists in workplace, the opportunity for women in workplace are lower than men. Therefore, we need to face with this problem and solve it to obtain a balanced society to be gender equality.In conclusion, gender is socially constructed during our childhood and it will affect our whole life with that kind of gender assumption we perceive, including gender stereotypes, gender role and gender performativity. Social constructionism of gender represents the norms of the society and guide us to perform male or female with masculine and feminine respectively. If people are not following the standard of norms, they may regard as diverse and abnormal. There is a gender dichotomy system to constraint us with our behaviors which should be appropriate to the biological sex we born with. However, the gender dichotomy emerges a lot of disadvantages in the society, such as inequality in family, workplace and social status. It lowers the status of women in different field which dominant by men. Therefore, we should respect the others who may have a different sexual orientation with us. We should not discriminate the sexual minority and gender diversity.Reference:

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Social Construction of Gender. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from

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