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Old Saturday, August 06, 2016
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Default Gender study notes by hira ayman.

SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER
INTRODUCTION: Almost every specie in the world is segregated into two sexes namely musculine and feminine. the term sex refers to ones biological, anatomical and physical entity. society and cultures contributed highly in defining perticularies of members of each sex within a continuous span of time and history.society has established dintinct features and traits for both sexes in order to differentiate each other. such contribution by society is termed as Gender,a term adopted from anthropology to define roles,behaviours and attitutes a culture attribute to a person's biological sex.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEX AND GENDER: Sex defines a persons biological and anotomical being withwhich he is born. It points out to physical characterstics of an organism. facial and genital make up are determinants of ones sex i-e breasts development after puberty is a female trait and and beard a male characterstic.sex can be identified from the time of birth by gonads. sex organs are primary factors of recognition. females bear a vagina and males have penis and testes. Contrarily to biological makeup, the way these distinguised members have to behave in a perticular environment defines their genders. Hence gender is an artifact of social,cultural and biological factors which are attained during socialization of an individual throughout his life.In many societies, females are considered feeble ,as a dialogue in shakespeare,s drama Hamlet depicts, ''Frailty thy name is woman''. breast development and delicacy of bodily curves has been considered as a myrtle of weakness which can be adjusted as being home-maker or housewife. muscular strength ,heavy vocals and wellbuilt structure is associated with dominance and authority suitable to govern world and wage wars. these stereotypes are yielded as a result of long encounter of humanity with nature. Hence, gender is an embodiment of both nature and nurture.
GENDER AND SOCIETY:
As Simone De Beauvior stated '' One is not born a woman but becomes one'' it can be concluded that gender is somehow outcome of society and culture. Society castes a huge spell in defining and redefining genders with span of time. According to Sam Killermann, Gender can be broken into three components,
1.gender identity 2. gender expression 3.biological sex
of which first two are manifested by society and culture. society approves of behaviors to physical appearance of a gender. Blue color has attained a symbol of musculanity which is a vibrant color whereas women have been identified with soft pastel hue ie pink showing frailty and delicacy. coarse harsh vocals are pointed towards men while sweet and soft talk is considered a female trait. evidence of this gender segregation is found in myth and religious parables along with folk lores of different languages. In popular story of Cinderella, female protagonist is portrayed as weak creature dreaming of his prince charming to set her free from difficulties. This story created a mindset which prevailed till 19th century.Similarly, greek myth has a rich collection of gods and godessess with significant positions attained by male gods. Hercules holds the pillars of sky whearas godesses Hera is symbol of lust and fertility. Non indulgence of women in golden period of greeks is an evidence that how secular and advanced society of likes of athens forbade women to pursue political career in a democracy. In folklores, stories about queens and kings ends up in king givinh his daughter as a price of valour to roudy male protagonist. these few examples from world literature shows that society construct genders from begginings of mankind.
SEXISM/GENDER DISCRIMINATION AS OUTCOME OF SOCIAL CONSTRUCT OF GENDER:
Social segregation of sexes resulted into some very serious issues, of which sexism or gender discrimination is one. Sexism is discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping on the basis of gender. Sexism is most often expressed toward girls and women. It has been characterized as the "hatred of women" and "entrenched prejudice against women.".History is evident of sexism when in ancient rome women were deprived of suffrage, in anglo-sexon times witch-trails was a cruel practice, Sati is a brutal ritual in hinduism,deprivation of women in ancient arabia, female circumsition as a means of preserving chastity in some african cultures are all examples of gender differences resulting into mutilation.
GENDER IDENTITY AND SEVEN TYPES OF GENDERS:
Gender identity is one's personal experience of one's own gender.All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a person's social identity in relation to other members of society. In most societies, there is a basic division between gender attributes assigned to males and females, a gender binary to which most people adhere and which enforces conformance to ideals of masculinity and femininity in all aspects of sex and gender: biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression.In all societies, some individuals do not identify with some or all of the aspects of gender that are assigned to their biological sex some of those individuals are transgender or genderqueer. Some societies have third gender categories.
SEVEN TYPES OF GENDER: Due to gene mutations sexual irregularities came into existance, those set of behaviours whic are accepted in a social order as normal are known as gender conformity while those going tangent are called gender deviations. Usually two types of gender identities are considered normal ie male and female. gender identities and sexual orientation other then it is considered queer or gender nonconformity. hence homosexuals, transgenders, lesbians, gays , asexuals and heterosexuals are somehow biological but mostly socially created and considered taboo subject in some cultures.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER THROUGH DEVELOPMENT:
As defination of WHO( World Health Organisation) states, gender is the result of socially constructed ideas about the behavior, actions, and roles a particular sex performs.The beliefs, values and attitude taken up and exhibited by them is as per the agreeable norms of the society and the personal opinions of the person is not taken into the primary consideration of assignment of gender and imposition of gender roles as per the assigned gender. It starts from birth and ends up on death ,making it a lifelong sporadic process. Thus social construction of gender at individual level by society can be summed up as:
1. INFANCY: From the first cry of a baby it is decided by his or sex what clothes he/she has to wear. pink for girls and blue shirts for boys are a depiction of social division of gender. this is done to stop people asking for sex of infant ,this stereotyping helps in moulding attitudes towards that infant. A girl is considered to play with barbie dolls, false kitchen sets, nurse sets and things like that. From beginning a boy is given fake arms and ammunition , cars, video games, violent scenes which tends to create socalled musculanity in him. playing with opposite gender is discouraged hence creating a sence of commoness in between same sex persons and alienation and inferiority towards other sex person. This is how society establishes a line in between sexes and define appropriate set of behaviours towards that gender.
2.ADOLESCENCE: Reaching time of puberty creates many psychological emotional and social issues to adolescent. Social pressures includes bullying in school and colleges, discrimination due to sex in institutions, attraction towards opposite sex makes a person confused of what a society aspects from him. In eastern societies girls are encouraged to set aback from their male counterparts and identify themselves by observing what other girls do. A deviation of it can be seen in form of tomboyish girls which is a kind of rebell against constituted standards of society. Similarly effiminated boys who take interest in liberal arts are also considered wierd. In western societies , being straight or not having a boyfriend or girlfriend is considered strange. those who are not indulged in such relations get into inferiority complex. Pop music icons strenthen this belief, boys take inspiration from Justin beiber whearas girls identify themselves with likes of Taylor swift and selena golms. tehre is a peer pressure to be one of them. girls with short hair and nongirlish attitudes are not welcomed in their sphere, similarly distance created in between eastern boys and girls is manifestation of same apprehensions regarding gender roles.
3. ADULTHOOD: As a person ,steps into most important phase of his life, siciety demands mucg from him in respect of gender identity and performativity. Choice of profession is controlled by society somehow, girls are encouraged to be doctors, nurses, teachers,actresses,singers and housewives whearas boys are aspected of being enginners, scientists, bankers, beaurcrates and hold such top positions. In matter of getting in nuptial node, men are somehow given freehand whearas females are subjected to be subordinate to the wishes of elders. In western cultures where women are more liberal as compare to east. they experiance sexual harrasment in their workplaces ,they are forced to perform such acts in order to get promoted. wage differenceis also a serious issue in west where equally qualified members face wage difference. for example, a male engineer will get into top hierarchy in some bussiness giants and will get paid in 6 to seven figures whearas females of same callibre will enter private institutes to earn hardly few thousands. And when it comes to parenting, it is considered duty of mother to look after children and father to earn for them. these stereotypes are now changing as traditional views on gender are changing.
THEORIES SUPPORTING GENDER AS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED:
groups of sociologists and feminists are divided into two groups regarding constitution of gender. likes of sexologist and biologist dr john money asserted that gender is purely natural phenomenon. It was with publication of GENDER TROUBLE by judith butler that sets a contrasting framework for gender. Here is an acount of different theories supporting social construction of gender.
THEORY OF GENDER PERFORMATIVITY : judith butler, a reknowned american gender theorist challenged the typical notion of gender in her magnum opus, "GENDER TROUBLE;Feminism and the Subversion of Identity and Bodies That Matter" and creates her own performativity theory.
Butler argues that it is more valid to perceive gender as a performance in which an individual agent acts. The performative element of her theory suggests a social audience. For Butler, the "script" of gender performance is effortlessly transmitted generation to generation in the form of socially established "meanings": She states, "gender is not a radical choice... [nor is it] imposed or inscribed upon the individual".Given the social nature of human beings, most actions are witnessed, reproduced, and internalized and thus take on a performative or theatric quality. Currently, the actions appropriate for men and women have been transmitted to produce a social atmosphere that both maintains and legitimizes a seemingly natural gender binary. Consistent with her acceptance of the body as a historical idea, she suggests that our concept of gender is seen as natural or innate because the body "becomes its gender through a series of acts which are renewed, revised, and consolidated through time".
Butler argues that the performance of gender itself creates gender. Additionally, she compares the performativity of gender to the performance of the theater. She brings many similarities, including the idea of each individual functioning as an actor of their gender. However she also brings into light a critical difference between gender performance in reality and theater performances. She explains how the theater is much less threatening and does not produce the same fear that gender performances often encounter because of the fact that there is a clear distinction from reality within the theater.Butler uses Sigmund Freud's notion of how a person's identity is modeled in terms of the normal. She revises Freud's notion of this concept's applicability to lesbianism, where Freud says that lesbians are modeling their behavior on men, the perceived normal or ideal. She instead says that all gender works in this way of performativity and a representing of an internalized notion of gender norms.Doing gender is fundamentally a social relationship. One does gender in order to be perceived by others in a particular way, either as male, female, or as troubling those categories. Certainly, gender is internalized and acquires significance for the individual; some individuals want to feel feminine or masculine. Social constructionists might argue that because categories are only formed within a social context, even the affect of gender is in some ways a social relation. Moreover, we hold ourselves and each other for our presentation of gender, or how we "measure up." We are aware that others evaluate and characterize our behavior on the parameter of gender. Social constructionists would say that gender is interactional rather than individual—it is developed through social interactions. Gender is also said to be omnirelevant, meaning that people are always judging our behavior to be either male or female.
Butler has collapsed the sex/gender distinction in order to argue that there is no sex that is not always already gender. All bodies are gendered from the beginning of their social existence and there is no existence that is not social which means that there is no “natural body” that pre-exists its cultural inscription. This seems to point towards the conclusion that gender is not something one is, it is something one does, an act, or more precisely, a sequence of acts, a verb rather than a noun, a “doing” rather than a “being”. Pop icon and diva Madonna has potrayed gender performativity in her music videos. Be it sensual music video '' EROTICA'', or VOGUE, in her book SEX she has rebelled against typical notions of gender and sexuality performing gender identities and roles varidly.
QUEER THEORY :
The term queer is used as notorious slang for homosexual wheareas its literal meaning is something out of ordinary and wierd. having bought the term queer, gender theoriests Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Adrienne Rich and Diana Fuss (all largely following the work of Michel Foucault) gave a new dimension to gender studies. Queer theory emerges from gay/lesbian studies' attention to the social construction of categories of normative and deviant sexual behavior. But while gay/lesbian studies, as the name implies, focused largely on questions of homosexuality, queer theory expands its realm of investigation. Queer theory looks at, and studies, and has a political critique of, anything that falls into normative and deviant categories, particularly sexual activities and identities. The word "queer", as it appears in the dictionary, has a primary meaning of "odd," "peculiar," "out of the ordinary." Queer theory concerns itself with any and all forms of sexuality that are "queer" in this sense--and then, by extension, with the normative behaviors and identities which define what is "queer" (by being their binary opposites). Thus queer theory expands the scope of its analysis to all kinds of behaviors, including those which are gender-bending as well as those which involve "queer" non-normative forms of sexuality. Queer theory insists that all sexual behaviors, all concepts linking sexual behaviors to sexual identities, and all categories of normative and deviant sexualities, are social constructs, sets of signifiers which create certain types of social meaning. Queer theory follows feminist theory and gay/lesbian studies in rejecting the idea that sexuality is an essentialist category, something determined by biology or judged by eternal standards of morality and truth. For queer theorists, sexuality is a complex array of social codes and forces, forms of individual activity and institutional power, which interact to shape the ideas of what is normative and what is deviant at any particular moment, and which then operate under the rubric of what is "natural," "essential," "biological," or "god-given."
BELIEVING AS SEEING THEORY BY JUDITH LORBER:
Judith lorber is a foundational theorist of social construction of gender difference and has played a vital role in the formation and transformation of gender studies. She has more recently called for a de-gendering of the social world.Lorber discusses the social constructs built into our society differentiating the genders. Lorber argues that “bodies differ in many ways physiologically; but they are completely transformed by social practices to fit into the salient categories of a society, the most pervasive of which are ‘female’ and ‘male and ‘women’ and ‘men’". Moreover, Lorber points out that though the physiological differences of the sexes are there, each individual body does not always fit into its own category and “neither sex nor gender are pure categories”. Lorber exemplifies this by separating the genders and discussing differences within the separate ‘female’ and ‘male’ categories; she argues some women do not have ovaries and uteri, menopause differentiates menstruating women for those who do not, some men lactate, and some men cannot produce sperm. As she discusses the blurred lines surrounding individual bodies within their gender categories, she continues to exemplify the pre-determined social classifications surrounding gender in our society by using competitive sports.she argues that the pre-determined societal beliefs surrounding gender have turned competitive sports into a way for men to legitimize aggression and create their masculine identity. Conversely, Lorber believes that the female sex in competitive sports is made a mockery of and continually takes a “secondary status” to competitive male sports. Lorber uses the example of basketball to confirm her belief. She correlates the female secondary status to assumptions surrounding women’s physiology. As well Lorber believes this assumption of physiology influences rules in women's sports, rules in sporting competitions, and how women are treated in sporting competitions.Lorber continues to describe social boundaries set up by gender using technology; she brings up two examples—computers and cars. When computers first came into use, office jobs involving them were given to women, as it appeared to be a clerical duty. It was not until computers were revealed to be complex and intellectually demanding that they became the domain of men. “By the 1960s programing was split into more and less skilled specialties, and the entry of women into the computer field in the 1970s and 1980s was confined to the lower paid specialties…employers invoked women and men’s purportedly natural capabilities for the jobs for which they were hired”.This means women will do the more menial tasks, where men will shape the industry and control it. Lorber also describes how this has influenced young people; for example we see far more young men and boys playing computer games and getting involved in computer clubs. In this way we are furthering women’s supposed natural disadvantage with computers by allowing boys to get more education and comfort with computers than girls.
This pattern of male control over technology continues when it comes to cars. Lorber references the fact that in couples a man will almost always be the more frequent driver, regardless of aptitude.
Lorber finalizes her arguments discussing the paradoxes of human nature. She confirms, “gendered people do not emerge from physiology or hormones, but from the exigencies of the social order”.Lorber points out that the diversity of humans could be categorized, regrouped and broken up into different ways of comparison than the traditional sex differentiation that disregards the real issues of who is truly like whom. She argues that the problem of basing knowledge on presumptions of gender differences reaffirms the categorization of the ‘male’ versus ‘female’. When relying on the conventional categorization of gender, one is able to find what they are looking for.Lorber states, “we see what we believe, whether it is that ‘female’ and ‘males’ are essentially different or that ‘women’ and ‘men’ are essentially the same.
MATERIAL FEMINISM OF MONIQUE WITTING: Monique Wittig was a French author and feminist theorist who wrote about overcoming socially enforced gender roles and who coined the phrase "heterosexual contract".A theorist of material feminism, she stigmatised the myth of "the woman", called heterosexuality a political regime, and outlined the basis for a social contract which lesbians refuse.Wittig was a theorist of material feminism. She believed that it is the historical task of feminists to define oppression in materialist terms. It is necessary to make clear that women are a class, and to recognize the category of “woman” as well as the category of “man” as political and economic categories. Wittig acknowledges that these two social classes exist because of the social relationship between men and women. However, women as a class will disappear when man as a class disappears. Just as there are no slaves without masters, there are no women without men. The category of sex is the political category that founds society as heterosexual. The category of “man” and “woman” exists only in a heterosexual system, and to destroy the heterosexual system will end the categories of men and women.
A theorist of material feminism, she stigmatised the myth of "the woman", called heterosexuality a political regime, and outlined the basis for a social contract which lesbians refuse.
CONCLUSION: Gender is a phenomenon powered by society and culture. though it stems from human body ,it is nurtured by societal forces within a life span and with repeated episodes in history.Succinctly, it can be declared that a number of theorists propends gender as a social construction rightly as sex is physicall and biological manisfestation while set of behaviours and roles of these sexed bodies are determined by society. ........................... HIRA AYMAN.
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Old Saturday, December 02, 2017
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You have well written it in a proper sequence, by shedding light on every aspect, it is more comprehensive. Thanks for sharing it. I have opted Gender studies, but I did not find a comprehensive book that covers all the aspects, kindly recommend me some materials or books.
looking forward for your response.
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Old Friday, June 01, 2018
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Do you have other notes for gender studies? please share
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