Gender is such a ubiquitous notion that humans assume gender is biological. However, gender is a notion that is made up in order to organize human life. It is created and recreated giving power to the dominant gender, creating an inferior gender and producing gender roles. There are many questionable perspectives such as how two genders are learned, how humans learn their own gender and others genders, how they learn to appropriately perform their gender and how gender roles are produced. In order to understand these perspectives, we must view gender as a social institution. Society bases gender on sex and applies a sex category to people in daily life by recognizing gender markers. Sex is the foundation to which gender is created. We must understand the difference between anatomical sex and gender in order to grasp the development of gender. First, I will be assessing existing perspectives on the social construction of gender. Next, I will analyze three case studies and explain how gender construction is applied in order to provide a clearer understanding of gender construction. Lastly, I will develop my own case study by analyzing the movie Mrs. Doubtfire and apply gender construction.
SEX AND GENDER
In order to grasp the concept of social construction of gender, it is essential to understand the difference between sex and gender. Biologically, there are only two reproductive genital organs that are determinants of sex: the vagina and the penis. Sex is established solely through biological structures; in other words, genitalia are the basis of sex. Once a sex category is determined, gender, a human categorization socially attached to sex, is assigned based on anatomy. Gender typically references social or cultural differences rather than anatomical ones. “A large number of biologist believe that the differences in anatomy are decisive, and provide the basis for the differences in men’s and women’s experiences…Biological explanations hold a place of prominence in our explanations of both gender difference and gender inequality.” Society attaches gender to the natural biology of sex constructing this assumption that gender is also natural. Society believes that there is a natural axiological linkage between sex and gender and considering there are two sexes, there must be two genders. The difference between sex and gender and the process by which society labels an individual constitutes the social construction of gender.
“Gender is constantly created and recreated out of human interaction, out of social life, and is the texture and order of that social life. Yet, gender like culture, is a human production that depends on everyone constantly “doing gender.” Gender roles, gender identities, and gender inequalities are constructed ideologies born from “doing gender” and social interaction.
“Gender is not a set of traits, nor a variable, nor a role, but the product of social doings of some sort. What then is the...