Essay on The Sex And Gender Binary

Essay on The Sex And Gender Binary

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The sex and gender binary is a socially-constructed classification of sex and gender into two distinct and biological forms of masculine and feminine. The binary is a restricting concept that enforces the ideology that solely two genders exist—it is a social boundary that limits people from exploring gender identity or mixing it up (Larkin, 2016). As Mann depicts it, the binary constrains us to take on one gender identity, and to follow through with the expected roles assigned to that gender. The implications are that it compels people to fit into the binary and follow the patriarchal, heteronormative traditions of society (Mann, 2012). However, the binary was not always so clear-cut, but certain concepts from scientific research such as the sex dichotomy by Harold Garfinkel. He claims the “laws of gender” are based around genitals. In his perspective, genitals are the essential sign of gender, and that anything beyond the two genders is unreal and a joke. He further states that these categories are assigned by nature. However, Prasad refutes this ideology of biological determinism—as she states, the dichotomies that fabricate male and female are merely concepts politically enforced to “sustain the subordination of women through their relegation into devalued social spheres” (Prasad, 2005). Garfinkel’s flawed claims were widespread and popular belief in the Western world, imposing the gender binary. The enforcement implies people who do not conform to the gender norms associated with the binary, they may face threats, violence, and other forms of discrimination. There are various obstacles those who do not comply to the binary face.
The hardships that those who don’t fit in are palpable as the rigid binary confine people into fol...


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... seen as fact for the field of doctors and medicine. When an intersex infant is born, they are usually surgically “treated” by altering their bodies so that they can ensure their conformity to one sex (Mann, 2012). Lastly, one large factor that inflicts the binary is through socialization. The gender binary is implemented in people’s minds from a young age, in order to engrain heteronormative values into them. Also, children are introduced to gender norms and roles. Kids—especially transgender children are almost always punished for violating the gender binary. As Mann (2012) emphatically states, the sex/gender binary “… is sustained by dividing people into gender roles based on their presumed location as male or female, disciplining people into believing in the naturalness of their gender location, and policing any violations to the male/female gender order” (p.3).

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