Gender As A Social Construct Essay

2150 words - 9 pages

When thinking about the colors blue and pink, the very first connotation for many people that arises is the sex of a child. The tradition of wrapping a baby boy with a blue towel and wrapping a baby girl with a pink towel has been carried on from generations to generations to the point that society has failed to recognize its arbitrary societal norm. Today’s feminists believe that the term gender and the act of gendering are nurtured from birth until societal norms and expectations are indoctrinated into the brains of individuals. Parents and society categorizing humans based on their sex do not end with colors nor does it end at childhood. The idea of gender being the result of social construction can be portrayed immensely in various forms such as language, media and education as they all provide many evidences to illustrate the overt distinction of the roles of male and female. The concept of masculinity and femininity are taught to children by parents, which ultimately sculpts physical and emotional behaviors of individuals. Modern day feminists have shed light to how humans has been oblivious towards the sexist and stereotypical gendering that is constantly executed by today’s culture and have taken extensive measure to make amends. Whether it is explicit or heedlessly, gendered society cannot be avoided due to constant exposure from the cultural customs. It is naïve to ignore the consequences of social construction in gender roles, as it is society that dictates the ideal concept of what it means to be a certain gender.
All individuals are born with a certain sex, however individuals are not born gendered. To identify one’s sex is to simply refer to one’s biological and physiological characteristics that result in categorization of men and women. To identify one’s gender is much more complicated as it is referring to a man or a woman’s role in society and the expectations that are attached to those roles. According to Simone de Beauvoir, “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman” because people (not exclusively women) absorb certain habits and attitudes that is the best reflection of their sex. Due to the fact that gender is not a quality of human’s innate traits and desires, but rather, society’s expectations, academics use the word ‘gender’ as a verb rather than a noun. Hence, to do gender or gendering, is to adjust one’s behaviors in order to fulfill social norms. As a result of gendering, gender has transformed into an institution that is heavily linked to every social aspect of everyday life.
Language and communication play a critical role in constructing gender and it is not limited to the English language. Within a sample of ten different languages, ranging from French, Arabic, English and more, male-specific nouns comprised of sixty-five percent while the remaining thirty-five percent were female-specific nouns. Feminists view language as a form of patriarchy and believe language is essential for men maintaining power....

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