Defining Masculinity and Femininity: The Yin and Yang of Gender Essay

Defining Masculinity and Femininity: The Yin and Yang of Gender Essay

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In the article, "Becoming Member of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender" by Aaron H. Devor, Devor discusses how gender is formed in society. Normally, femaleness and maleness appear to be "natural," instead of something caused by socialization. Although, in this article, Devor finds that while there are obviously biological reason behind why one chooses the gender they choose, there are also social factors that play part in how maleness and femaleness are created. Throughout this article, Devor discusses what defines one as a male, and one as a female. Devor also touched briefly on how the two genders intertwine together to create a sort of communion. Devor should have further went into how male characteristics and female characteristics can be seen as having a yin and yang relationship.
So what exactly do I mean by a “yin and yang relationship”? Yin and yang is a Chinese concept involved in Asian philosophy that is used to describe how polar opposites or contrasting forces exist in relation to and are inter-reliant on one another. Yin cannot exist without yang, and yang cannot exist without yin, much like how light cannot exist without darkness and vice versa. Although opposites, they do not oppose one another, but instead complement one another through their differences, and interact as a greater whole. In this case, that greater whole is gender and how the two genders interact with one another (especially attraction-wise). Maleness and femaleness are both needed in order to be able to identify and define the other gender. So what exactly is defined as feminine and masculine, male characteristics and female characteristics?
What is considered masculine and feminine can be defined in various ways. First, it...

... middle of paper ... to what the other is lacking, the two genders are able to create a unification/ harmony between the two genders. Devor did not really go into this sort of unification between the genders through their differences, but he very well could have. The relationship between the two genders involving masculinity and femininity is much like that of yin and yang. The characteristics of masculinity and femininity are complete opposites, yet instead of causing a hierarchy, can attract and complement each other through their differences to create a harmonious unity between the two genders.

Works Cited

Devor, Aaron. “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender.”
Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing.
Ed. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston, NY: Bedford/ St. Martin’s,
1995. 424-431. Print.

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