Essay on Gender, Gender And Social Construction Of Gender

Essay on Gender, Gender And Social Construction Of Gender

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The performance of gender is done in the everyday life of the individual and it is a constant action done and viewed. Gender expression is how people convey their gender to society and to themselves. Society and individuals then receive these gendered cues and act accordingly. Genders that do not fall into the social binary categories of ‘man’ or ‘woman’ are discriminated against, excluded, and erased from the public sphere. Public bathrooms are gendered, with a men’s room for masculine people, and a women’s room for feminine people. Yet when a person falls outside of those binary designations, the men’s room or the women’s room can turn into a place of hostility and exclusion.
Gender is constantly constructed and performed. West & Zimmerman described ‘doing gender’ in their 1983 article of the same title, and Judith Lorber described the construction of gender in her work Night to his Day, the Social Construction of Gender. To “do gender” means to perform using gendered characteristics of looks, speech, mannerisms, and personality traits. These are tailored by individuals to express masculine, feminine, or other genders. These are non­verbal forms of expression that utilize ritualistic communication to strengthen human bonds and make meaning (Carey). Such constructions of gender stabilize the meaning of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. However, the existence and visibility of actively gender nonconforming individuals breaks that binary and threatens established social roles and norms. People of other genders than masculine and feminine are labeled under the umbrella term of non­binary. Genders within this category have individual and more specific terms that can describe not only location on the
gender spectrum or lack thereof, but also to the...

... middle of paper ...

...cognize. As infrastructure and law currently stand, the two cultural genders of masculine and feminine are represented in public bathroom accommodations, and the binarism of those accommodations puts people of non­binary and other genders at risk of violence. Sometimes this takes the form of harassment, exclusion, and erasure, and other times physical violence including homicide. A 2011 study found that 41% of trans and gender nonconforming people attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime (Reyes). Higher risk was associated with people who had faced active discrimination. A culture of discrimination through marginalization and erasure of non­cisgender identities is responsible for the deaths of people who do not conform to expected norms of gender, and this culture is exemplified in the structure, use, and systems of oppression around gendered public bathrooms.

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