Gender is how an individual views their identity, regardless of sex. Sex is biological in nature and determines one 's biological destiny. Gender, on the other hand, helps define one 's role within society. Lorber wrote: “Individuals are born sexed but not gendered, they have to be taught to be masculine or feminine” (1994). What if children aren’t taught to be masculine or feminine?
However, while sex refers to a biological characteristic of being male and female, gender differentiate people depending on the roles the society gives them. Or simply put, while sex comes biologically/ naturally from birth, gender is socially acquired by
Gender, sex, gender roles, masculine, and feminine; these are all things that can be shaped by society. Your gender roles can change, but not your sex; that is given at birth. If gender is shaped a certain way, then that changes us to fit those societal norms of gender roles, masculinity and femininity, patriarchy, and how to maintain this gender order. Sex is based on the biological features of a human to say if they are male or female. While gender is more affected by the social and cultural expectations to say whether you are male or female.
Finally, the patriarchic model is the least compelling to me. There are two reason: first, even in non-male dominated societal structures, such as socialist and communist societies, women have still held different gender roles. Second, I may be wrong in this perception, but even if this model is correct, patriarchy is socialization reinforcement and could be included in any of the biosocial, socialization or interactionist models as a socialization factor. To isolate this factor in a model of its own seems misandrist. In sum, all models are important to understand and struggle with.
Transsexuals were biologically the same but chose to be a different gender. Thus the distinction between sex and gender was made. Moreover, it has then been developed to explain the common hierarchal dominance of males over females. This social constructivist stance taken by Stoller is very similar to de Beauvoir. It separates the biological (sex) from the social (gender).
To be born a male or a female in society is a fact of the biological theory. On the other hand, from a social constructionist point of view, gender is a “set of activities that one does. When we do gender, we do it in front of other people; it is validated and legitimated by the evaluations of others” (Kimmel 2013, 139). Basically, Kimmel is saying that gender is something that we do and is developed based on our interactions and environment. Gender is accomplished through interactions with other individuals in institutions.
There are four main theories in the gender acquisition debate, Evolutionary Psychology, Psychoanalytical Theory, Social Learning Theory and Cognitive-development Theory. This paper aims to describe and evaluate Social Learning Theory and Cognitive-development Theory. Social Learning theorists believe the development of gender occurs as a result of a child’s social experience and think much of this learning can be explained by conditioning and observational learning. Sex-role and gender behaviours are learned in the same way as any other behaviour. In terms of conditioning, parents socialise their children, preparing them for adult gender roles by providing them with gender-appropriate toys.
Sex is an obvious difference from the birth (physical characteristics like genitals and all the other characteristics which differ when the child matures like breasts or growth of facial hair). Contrary to what gender is usually defined as, it is what a child becomes to be either masculine or feminine in nature. This difference is shaped by the society and not something a person is born with. Gender is something that a person is mould into and it is his own. This essay will further emphasize on the differentiation between sex and gender and how society plays a crucial role in the gender development.
Sex is defined by the physical body and is characterized by the initial biological structure from birth. The characteristics of each male or female body maybe different but the make ups are the same. Gender on the other hand according to Wood is unstable; it is a category or a means by which we understand the body. The cultures ideologies and discourses surrounding us make sense of the body and determine our gender in multiple ways. It gives us a social, political, symbolic, and economic understanding of our bodies and how they are similar and dissimilar from other bodies.
This is because, in our modern society, gender roles are predominantly based from those established in previous generations. However, these results are not absolute. As discussed previously, gender affects conformity due to the gender differences on socialisation. When taking a cross-cultural stance, it is evident that different societies and cultures will teach different perspectives of conformity. Therefore, this gender variance in conformity is not absolute, but rather characteristic of the society, culture and time in which one develops.