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Effects of the Social Construction of Gender Essay

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Updated: Mar 21st, 2019

An individual’s view and expectation of their gender and that of the opposite gender is a social construct. People have to identify with the typical definition in their society as a means of defending themselves against being labeled as opinionated (Butler 2004).

Ethnicity of an individual affects how they interpreted the cultural aspects of the community they live in. Moreover, the population of a similar ethnic group as the individual in their community determines the level of influence that the ethnic group has on the popular culture of the community. This then influences the individual construct of gender.

Being a man or a woman is more than a biological fact because the attributes that a person’s learns to associate with manliness or womanliness are not in born. People learn how to behave like a man of a woman and what to expect of a similar gender or an opposite gender.

As individuals grow up, they acquire a definition of their gender through normal day interaction. This can be by observation, direct influence by others and a negative reaction to an opposite stimulus. For example, children learn to behave like boys as they are advised by their parents and guardians of how boys should behave.

The treatment they receive and the manner in which they see other children behaving reinforces their character as boys (Butler 1993).

The transformation of the duality of gender does not occur in one instance. Although the realization of one being a boy or a girl is instant, the modification of ones attitudes and the overall personality undergoes a gradual shaping dependent on the rate at which the individual receives stimulus from their cultural environment.

Different ethnic groups and social communities will turn towards the periphery, certain characteristics, in people’s personality, according to gender. For example, in an ethnic group it may be okay for boys to play with girls up to a certain age where they become men and should no longer be associated with girls in a playful manner.

In a similar way different ethnic groups as diverse roles assigned specifically to male or female members and belonging to a given group influences how an individual regards gender roles and the expectation of their personality.

In accordance with posit presented by Holmes (2007), one becomes a woman despite the fact that they are born female. The embodiment of the social expectation of woman hood makes one a women. Therefore, it becomes right to indicate that gender as perceived in the contemporary world is a social construct.

Women are seen as objects because the historically men have shaped the universal view of gender. Children learn from their families and communities to observe girls and women as less capable of their individuality and therefore unable to shape up the societal view of gender.

Women appear to exist to be watched by men and in return, they endeavor to increase their likelihood of being watched. On the other hand, men seek to be the most tactical in identifying the most watchable women.

Therefore, the men choose the correct image that is likeable and the women try to fit into the description provided. All this is a social adjustment that is not hinged on the body of the male or female but the social conditioning of the expectation of being a man or a woman.

The interaction of cultures as people migrate has rusted in a more complex definition of gender roles and personalities. As a result, new thoughts have arisen advocating for different social construct of the genders (Ashe 2007). However, such effort does not abolish the fact that gender is a construction of the historical social setting.

Reference List

Ashe, F 2007, The new politics of musculinity: men, power and resistance, Routledge, Abingdon, OX.

Butler, J 1993, Bodies that matter, on the discursive limits of sex, Routledge, London.

Butler, J 2004, Beside oneself: on the limits of sexual autonomy, Routledge, London.

Holmes, M 2007, What is gender?: sociological aproaches, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Effects of the Social Construction of Gender'. 21 March.

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