This Is An Essay About The Issues Surrounding Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Herland", Such As Male And Female Gender Role Identity.

1105 words - 4 pages

There are many different ways to define the words Sex and Gender. Some would argue that the two words are synonyms, that one is just a more or less politically correct configuration of the other. Others would argue that they describe different aspects of male and female characteristics. A person's Sex would designate a place in the dichotomy between the biological makeup of males and females, and their gender would assign a role based on the norms of masculinity and femininity. For distinctive purposes, these will be dubbed the sex IS gender argument, and the second the sex AND gender argument, respectively. Some have argued, based on the sex AND gender perspective, that a persons gender corresponds with their sex, because it seems logical to imply that a male would be "masculine" and a female would be "feminine". The problem with this argument is that not only does it exclude the exception to the rule, hermaphrodites, but it also imposes the masculine/feminine dichotomy that is based on the norms in a given society. How could a human that is considered a member of both sexes have two genders? Or no gender? Is it not ignorant to impose the set of rules, regulations, and expectations that come along with "masculinity/femininity" on someone based on their biological makeup? This is what weakens the sex AND gender argument. Its based on the illusory concept, derived from historical gender role norms, that men and women differ on a level beyond the biological.The sex IS gender argument states that the word gender was created with the sole purpose of disregarding the connotations attached with the word sex, one of them being the nature/nurture idea, that the sole purpose of a woman's sexuality, or sexuality in general, is for reproduction. The sex IS gender perspective comes across as a more practical approach to designating a place in the biological dichotomy. The sex AND gender perspective is based on the roles imposed on a person by society, which are not plausible, because, naturally, there are inconsistencies in the relationship between a person's sex and what is expected of their gender. It is illogical to make the generalization that a person's gender should correspond with their sex, because just as a person could be conditioned by society to be a certain way, they can be conditioned to be the opposite way, thus singling them out of this corresponding sex/gender dichotomy. The only logical way to eliminate the unnecessary categorization of differences in peoples personalities based on their sex is to negate whatever denotation the word gender carries in the sex AND gender argument. A person's role or lifestyle shouldn't be imposed by society; role should be a subjective concept, based on the individual experience of a person.In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, the concepts of sex and gender are both eliminated entirely. It describes a civilization made up of women exclusively that has lived and prospered without men for quite some time. The...

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