Different Views of Gender

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When one hears the word “gender” it is typically assumed to be referring to the biological sex of that individual. However, gender is not a static concept in our world anymore. The traditional spheres of what is masculinity and femininity have become increasingly muddled as our society progresses socially and becomes more accepting. Along with this, however, social processes continue to take place to enforce what we believe a man and a woman should be, in an attempt to force people to fit into what we see as being a man and a woman. There are many perspectives on how gender is defined and affects us. While gender arguably the direct result of our culture, viewing it from a structural functionalist approach can show how it has helped the evolution of our society. However, these gender roles can also affect others negatively as shown by feminist and criminological thinkers, and may become less meaningful as we enter an age where even our biological sex can be changed. Challenging our currently held gender norms in my own experiment, it is clear to me that gender itself is a creation of our culture. As part of my experiment with broaching normative gender images, I decided to visit the perfume counter at my local Sears and inquire about purchasing a bottle for myself instead of a woman. Although a minor interaction, I believed browsing for perfume was something generally associated with females alone. Sears, as a store, is something I have always associated with women myself. This belief is a direct result of a childhood where I was dragged around by my mother when she went shopping at the mall. My prediction was that the sales associate would more than likely treat me differently than they would a typical female customer. Prior ... ... middle of paper ... ...ure that tells you how to define the genders, their differences are inconsequential. Men and women both have masculine and feminine qualities, there is no pure form of either of these. Not only that, but what we define them by is dictated by our culture and merely a social construct. We act the way we are expected to, and if we don’t we are shunned as being deviant for crossing these gender norms. This burden of attempting to meet the criteria of our designated gender role can even be damaging as we attempt to exert our gender in inappropriate settings. The only true difference between the genders is biological, and even in our contemporary age that is being challenged so that anyone can be a man or woman. I believe in the times to come we will see more of this burden of gender falling away as our cultures shift, although I suspect there is quite a ways to go.
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