Recognising The Distinction Between Sex And Gender Is Vital, In Order To Comprehend Structured Social Inequality Between Both Men And Women

1484 words - 6 pages

Syed Naqvi 16455263
Recognising the distinction between sex and gender is vital, in order to comprehend structured social inequality between both men and women. The word 'gender' is often used in the wrong context, i.e. assuming sex and gender are the same concept. However this is not the case. The first person to recognize this distinction was Dr Robert Stoller. He stated that 'sex' is the biological makeup which defines the differences between men and women, i.e. external genitalia and internal genitalia. He also defined 'gender' to be what make people either feminine or masculine, he continued on pointing out that sex and gender can be independent of each other.Gender refers to the social, cultural, anatomical, physiological, and psychological implications we have in mind when we label an individual as either male or female, or describe that person as being masculine or feminine. Huffaker (2005) states that gender is not only a vital component in the way individuals are depicted to others, it is also central to the way individuals see and understand themselvesFirstly, the definition of gender through socialisation will be looked at from Feminist and Functionalist perspectives established through studies into the nature of gender, i.e. parental expectations, exploitation of females through children's books and the media etc. A conclusion will then be made based on research conducted in relation to this area of investigation.The feminist perspective can be divided into many sub-groups, two of which are radical feminism and Marxist feminism. The feminist perspective on gender is that of exploitation of women through the media, children's toys and books etc. They believe that society's aim is to condition children right from initial years by establishing their expected roles in society. They do this via the use of childrens TV shows- depicting the women as being the commericialised doll - e.g. Barbie, and Ken.Radical feminists would take this argument further by stating that society is 'patriarchal', in other words, it is dominated and ruled by men. Radical feminists believe according to Williams (1982) that women have always been under 'the thumb' of men and if men feel threatened, they may resort to violence in order to maintain and exert their powerThis form of feminism along with many other perspectives believe that patriarchy is the reason for war, conflict, damaging the environment etc.Males and females alike have been taught via studies such as socialization and culture that boys and men learn to be dominant and girls and women to be subordinate. It is continued in the everyday forms of male-female interaction in society, and also perpetuated in the institutions and structures of patriarchy.Through the statement, 'pink is for girls and blue is for boys', radical feminists would argue that the exploitation of women begins through parental expectations, toys, books, television etc,For instance, girls are given dolls to play with, kitchens,...

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