The Social Construction of Gender

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Gender is a very strange topic in today's society. Many people don't know what to do with people who are transvestites or transsexuals and they often times hate them because they are different. People always think that there can only be two types of gender: masculine and feminine. People also feel that these genders most always correspond to a person's sex. So if the person is a male, then most people wouldn't accept that person into society if they acted feminine. 'For human beings there is no essential femaleness and maleness, femininity or masculinity, womanhood, or manhood, but once gender is ascribed, the social order constructs and holds individuals to strongly gendered norms and expectations. Individuals may vary on many of the components of gender any may shift genders temporarily or permanently, but they must fit into the limited number of gender statuses their society recognizes.? (Lorber, Night To His Day: The Social Construction of Gender, For Individuals, Gender Means Sameness, Page 463) ??a defining feature of reality construction is to see our world as being the only possible one.? (Kessler & McKenna, Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach, The Primacy of Gender Attribution, Page 475) Many people don?t realize that gender is a socially constructed accomplishment. People make up methods in their heads about ways that people should be and if one doesn?t act they way the other person deems that one should, then they do not fit into that person?s reality. ?Every society classifies people as ?girl and boy children??? (Lorber, Night To His Day: The Social Construction of Gender, Page 460) People always try to guess what gender a person is. If one doesn?t know and is unsure of another?s gender than they keep on looking at them trying to find clues on about that person?s gender. I often times see people, usually children, and I can?t decide whether they or male or female, or should I say masculine or feminine. ?Then we are uncomfortable until we have successfully placed the other person in a gender status; otherwise, we feel socially dislocated.? (Lorber, Night To His Day: The Social Construction of Gender, Page 460) In other countries this might not even be the case, some countries have more than two genders. These other genders are often called berdaches, hijras, or xaniths. ?Some societies have three genders-men, women, and berdaches, or hijras, a...

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...he opposite sex. ?He means that by the time X?s sex matters, it won?t be a secret any more!? (Gould, X: A Fabulous Child?s Story, Page 457) People must realize that they way gender is made is based upon the way they are treated are looked upon by other people and the way they show themselves to other people. People always try to determine a gender by a person?s sex but often find that they cannot, and can only classify a person by they way that they act. ??.gender cannot be equated with biological and physiological differences between human females and males. The building blocks of gender are socially constructed statuses.? (Lorber, Night To His Day: The Social Construction of Gender, Page 461) People in the United States often show much hatred towards transsexuals and transvestites because they are NOT socially accepted. ?Modern Western societies? transsexuals and transvestites are the nearest equivalent of these crossover genders, but they are not institutionalized as third genders (Bolin 1987).? (Lorber, Night To His Day: The Social Construction of Gender, Page 461) In conclusion, we must always try to understand a person?s feelings about how they wish to be a different gender
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