This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Sex And Gender Essay

2194 words - 9 pages

Sex and Gender

Arianna Stassinopoulos wrote in the 1973 book The Female Woman: "It would be futile to attempt to fit women into a masculine pattern of attitudes, skills and abilities and disastrous to force them to suppress their specifically female characteristics and abilities by keeping up the pretense that there are no differences between the sexes" (Microsoft Bookshelf). In her statement we see a cultural feminist response to the dominant liberal feminism of the 1970s.
Liberal feminism de-emphasized gender differences, claiming that women were the equals of men and that this would be obvious if only they were offered the same opportunities as men with no special privileges necessary.
On the other hand, cultural feminists such as Stassinopoulos claimed that women's unique perspective and talents must be valued, intentionally emphasizing the differences between men and women. A third type of feminism, post-modernism, is represented in Sexing the Body by Anne Fausto-Sterling. Post-modern feminism questions the very origins of gender, sexuality, and bodies. According to post-modernism, the emphasis or de-emphasis of difference by cultural and liberal feminists is meaningless, because the difference itself and the categories difference creates are social constructions. Fausto-Sterling's post-modernism, however, depicts this social construction in a unique manner; she attempts to illustrate the role of science in the construction of gender, sex, and bodies. In doing so she discusses three main ways in which science aids in the social construction of sex: first, new surgical technology allows doctors to literally construct genitalia; second, socially accepted biases affect the way scientists design, carry out, and analyze experiments and results; and third, bodies can be physically changed by the social conditions of their environment.

In her first chapter, Fausto-Sterling points out that sex was defined by John Money and Anke Ehrhardt in 1972 as "physical attributes . . . anatomically and physiologically determined" (3). It might seem strange then that Fausto-Sterling, or anyone for that matter, would suggest that the physical attributes of sex might be constructed by anything other than nature. Indeed, most children when being taught the basic differences of sex are told "boys have a penis, girls have a vagina." The implication is that there are two categories which are opposites; hence all people must fully fit into one category and not the other. Fausto-Sterling points out, however, that in 1.7% of births the babies do not fit into just one category; these intersex births occur when babies are born with some combination of both female and male genitalia and/or chromosomes or are born lacking some of the genitalia/chromosomes of one sex while showing none of those of the other sex (i.e., Turner syndrome) (51-52). Here, then, Fausto-Sterling makes an apparently simple, yet significant and controversial, point: that nature sometimes...

Find Another Essay On Sex and Gender

Sex and Gender in 1984 Essay

1468 words - 6 pages The novel 1984, written by George Orwell, portrays views on sex and gender in an authoritative government. Oceanic government aims to maintain their power by asserting their dominance over society. This is done through outlawing sex, with the exception of reproduction of more Party members. Two characters, Winston and Julia, have sex for pleasure and also as a form of rebellion against Big Brother. The government takes them both as punishment

Relationship Between Sex and Gender Essay

2114 words - 8 pages “Men and women’s roles have changed so much that there is no longer any difference.” The relationship that exists between gender and sex has been the root cause of global gender movements and issues that exists in the contemporary world. The representation of masculinity and femininity is humanly constructed and sets the stage for social expectation. Social institutions are designed to cater for the desired gender role that is

Sex Stereotypes and Gender Inequality

2414 words - 10 pages Sex Stereotypes and Gender Inequality'When Ann Hopkins came up for partnership at Price Waterhouse in 1982, she looked like a shoo-in for a promotion. Of the 88 candidates -- all the others were male -- she had the best record at generating new business and securing multimillion-dollar contracts for the Big Eight accounting firm. Yet Hopkins' nomination was put on hold after she was evaluated by several male partners as being too "macho" and in

Sex, Gender, Sexuality, Aging and Society

1197 words - 5 pages Sex is what you have in your pants, gender is what you identify as and actually are. Sex and gender can be different but gender is always right. If gender says you’re a girl and your sex says otherwise, you are still a girl. You can be born the wrong sex. Gender is what you we supposed to be and are. Sex can be wrong, not gender. Many western first world societies consider sex to be what a person is and consider that a person must behave

The Theories of Sex and Gender

2892 words - 12 pages The Theories of Sex and Gender Sex and gender are two very separate factors in the debate of how gender acquisition occurs. Sex is a biological fact determined by the chromosomes inherited from parents. Gender however, refers to the behaviour, beliefs, attitude and sense of identity that society perceives as being appropriate for either a male or a female, and therefore gender is regarded as a social fact

Gender and Sex Norms in Sports

788 words - 3 pages Gender and Sex Norms in Sports In our society there are costs both socially and culturally for individuals who choose to violate their own gender and/or sex norms. We live in a time when, though great advancements have been made, gender roles are still differentiated out from each other with specific behavior and lifestyle expectations built into our value system and ascribed to individuals. The past decade has seen a growing move away from

'Sex' And 'gender' And The Relationship Between Them

1839 words - 8 pages In psychology many different perspectives seek to explain the differences between males and females. In societies they play distinctive roles and are treated and viewed differently. They behave differently too. To compare and contrast the accounts of sex and gender we need to define the terms sex and gender. To examine further we need to examine the key aspects of the biological, evolutionary, social constructionist and psychoanalytical

The Boy and Girl Dilemma: Sex and Gender Dismantled

1439 words - 6 pages expression, therefore justifying passive ignorance in the public eye. The consequences of this autocratic ‘gender/sex binary exclusive’ mindset are deadly. The feminist movement, as well as the anti-feminist reaction, has sparked an incline in the study of gender, sex, sexuality, and the differences between what is considered ‘male’ and/or ‘female’. To define the origin and legitimacy of gender, begin first by understanding ‘biological sex’, the

Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation are Determined Genetically

1495 words - 6 pages Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation are Determined Genetically Without having any value judgments on sexual deviancy- the word itself many seem to imply disapproval. Whether it be transvestism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, or sadomasochism, sexual deviancy is by many considered unnatural and inhuman. However these two words 'unnatural and inhuman' is exactly what homosexuality is not. The truth is, sexual deviancy is as much a function of

Gender, Technology and identity in How Sex Changed

726 words - 3 pages In How Sex Changed by Joanne Meyerowitz, the author tell us about the medical, social and cultural history of transsexuality in the United States. The author explores different stories about people who had a deep desired to change or transform their body sex. Meyerowitz gives a chronological expiation of the public opinion and how transsexuality grew more accepted. She also explained the relationship between sex, gender, sexuality and the law

Gender Differences and Expectations When Engaging in Casual Sex Encounters

1508 words - 6 pages but no woman will be willing to engage in any form of sex with a man after this short amount of time, (Li & Kenrick, 2006). This shows that there is a gender difference in the likelihood of expecting a positive sexual experience dependent on the proposer and the proposed. In a study done by Terri D. Conley (2010), it was found that in almost every survey, heterosexual men would have agreed to go home with a woman who asked them if they would

Similar Essays

Sex And Gender Essay

1705 words - 7 pages The World Health Organization refers to sex as “the biological and physiological characteristics that define and differentiate men and women”. Although gender is now widely referred to the more social and cultural side of this “[differentiation]”, accepted cultural perspectives on gender often conflate with sex, dictating that women and men are naturally and unequivocally defined categories of being, with distinctive psychological and

Sex And Gender Essay

1813 words - 7 pages Sex and Gender The terms employed most frequently to describe the differences between men and women are 'sex' and 'gender'. Sex refers to the differing physical attributes of women and men (Lee, Shaw). The categories of sex are male and female. In every society sex differences are given social meanings. Social identity, which is

Biological Sex And Gender Essay

3632 words - 15 pages and phenotypic sexes. Furthermore, every society seems to categories its members on the basis of gender. Even though gender and sex might seem analogous to each other, they are distinct mechanisms for classifying human beings. The more cultural and individual gender identity is different then the biological means of sex determination. Moreover, there are many ways that the inequalities between men and women are perpetuated in our society

Differentiating Between Sex And Gender Essay

1169 words - 5 pages What differentiates one’s gender from one’s sex? Sex is biological while gender is social. In this sense, a person whose sex is female can have a male gender if some of the tasks she does are more attributed to males. But society has greatly erased this distinction and instead created gender differences that relate to one’s sex. While biological differences do not lead to gender differences, society has created these separate spheres to