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Consider The Arguments Both For And Against The Contention That Gender Is A Product Of Nurture Rather Than Nature

2014 words - 8 pages

Consider the arguments both for and against the contention that gender is a product of nurture rather than natureSociologists use the term sex when referring to biological differences between male and female bodies whereas gender is used to explain the social construction of masculinity and femininity. The distinction between sex and gender is important as many differences between males and females are not just biological. The predominant sociological view is that gender is a product of social and cultural processes.Socialisation is the process by which the individual learns the behaviour expected of him/her by their group or society.Sociologists argue that gender is based on a learnt set of behaviours and that we learn to be either masculine or feminine.One agent of socialisation which supports the nurture theory is the family, as in the family we learn through imitating our role models as we look up to what our parents do and then copy them. We learn our gender roles through the family as historically children wouldsee their fathers go out to work and their mothers stay at home, influencing the path their offspring take later on in life. The toys with which younger children play can also have a big impact on their lives as this is another way in which boys and girls develop gender roles. Typically girls play with dolls and mini kitchens whereas boys play with Lego and toy cars.The media is also another important agent of socialisation that has an influence on gender and supports the nurture theory. An example of this is through women's' magazines as they encourage certain behaviours, for example, how to keep a man, how to look good and how to cook. In stark contrastmen's magazines portray images of what a 'perfect' woman looks like. These differences in socialisation can then lead to gender inequalities as men and women are socialised into different roles.However, Functionalists believe that males undertake the instrumental role in society and women undertake the expressive role in society, thus backing the nature theory. Functionalists also argue that gender differences in society produce social stability and help society to run more smoothly. George Murdock argues that men and women carry out tasks that are best suited to them biologically and that it is beneficial for society if women concentrate on domestic responsibilities and men concentrate on activities outside the home, supporting the sexual division of labour and therefore the theory of nature.Murdock. G 1949 Giddens sociology 4th edition2001To support the nature debate further feminists from the late 1960s and early 1970s argue thatmen and women's biology determined their social position in society and this was why women rarely had senior job positions and jobs with high responsibility. It was thought that women's biology made them unable to do the same jobs as men. This view is call biological determinism, as it states that biological factors determine a person's personality traits...

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