When considering gender and sex, a layman’s idea of these terms might be very different than a sociologist’s. There is an important distinction: sex, in terms of being “male” or “female,” is purely the physical biological characteristic differences – primarily anatomical differences. (There are also rare cases of “intersexual” individuals as outlined in the Navarro article, “When Gender Isn’t a Given”.) Gender, on the other hand, is an often misconstrued concept that is commonly mistaken as synonymous with sex. A non-sociologist might surmise the following, “men act masculine and women act feminine, therefore, it must follow that gender is inherent to sex,” however, this is not necessarily the case.
Gender describes the male and female characteristics that a society puts forth. Gender emerges from the combination of our bodies, cultures and individual experiences. (Fuentes p.182). Media, parents, peers, and siblings, whether conscious or unconscious, help in the shaping of our gender. Though biological differences influence gender, many other factors have a greater influence on the person’s acquiring of gender.
Gender role, refers to society’s concept of how man and women are expected to act and behave. Gender stereotypes are an oversimplified belief about the attitudes, traits, and behavior patterns of males and females (Rathus, 2010, p.447).. Gender roles and gender stereotypes are very similar they both involve both male and female and the why they are supposed to behave a certain way. Gender roles and stereotypes affect men and women in other ways, some behaviors are learned and some come about through observations (Gender Roles and Stereotypes). Gender roles and gender stereotypes are different because of these things, gender roles are biological and social factors, and are simply apart of who they are and how they see themselves.
Gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates and portrays as masculine or feminine. However, society often times confuses gender and sex. Society sees that females should be with males
A person born as a male can become recognizably female through the use of hormones and/or surgical procedures; and a person born as a female can become recognizably male. Transgender, unlike transsexual, is a term for people whose identity, expression, behavior, or general sense of self does not conform to what is usually associated with the sex they were born in the place they were born. Transgender, then, unlike transsexual is a multifaceted term. One example of a transgendered person might be a man who is attracted to women but also identifies as a cross-dresser. Other examples include people who consider themselves gender nonconforming, multigendered, androgynous, third gender, and two-spirit people” (2014, p.1).
While the terms “gender” and “sex” are often used interchangeably, the two words have significantly different definitions. One could argue that sex refers to biological essentialism and the idea that we are who we are because of our genetic material. On the other hand, gender is associated with the social constructionist theory, which argues that the way we are is dependent on our race, class, and sexuality. Because each person is different in their race, class, and sexuality, their gender becomes socially constructed. To argue that gender is not socially constructed would be to say that all people, for example, that are biologically female have the same goals.
Most people think of gender as the physical features of a man and a woman, but it is not just physical features that define gender. There are obvious biological differences between a man and a woman, but is that what gender is defined by? There are many different theories on gender and how it is defined. How is gender inequality present in today’s world? Gender vs.
Our perceptions about male-female differences rely heavily on current popular beliefs about the mind, body, and evolution. Hastings Donan rightly remarks that, “Although sex is a biological urge, it is rarely experienced in the same ways by people everywhere: it is differently practiced and felt depending on the social and cultural settings in which it occurs.” This justifies that it is indeed our cultural schemata that has overinflated claims of human sexual differences. Let us carefully look at each of the common assumptions that have been ingrained into us and refute them to challenge the myth about patterns of human sexual differences. Myth 1: Males and Females are biologically very different from one another Male and female bodies have many differences, but they overlap extensively in structure and function. One can easily focus on the hairstyles, on the clothing, the cultural behavior, and the modern-day ideas about gender and being masculine or feminine, but very few of these elements match the actual biological patterns in our species.
Sex is described as the interaction between genes, hormones, behavior, and the environment. The adjectives female, male, or intersex are used when referring to sex. Gender is the social status, legal designation, and personal identity. The divisions in gender are due mainly to the expectations of social institutions. The adjectives women and men, boys and girls, are used when addressing gender.
Anthropologists view gender as a cultural and social construction due to societal norms and one’s socialization. Society ultimately shapes gender which is performed by an individual. There are many different cross-cultural perceptions of gender, and the relationship it has to the symbolic and social order of things. Different cultures view gender in various ways, which is linked to social and symbolic factors within the society. Gender not only exists as male and female, as there are many cases of transgendered and asexual individuals.