This essay provides discussion on how the social constructionism can be comprehended in the aspect of sociology. The research explores several relevant appeals to gender and sex regarding the matter of sociology (Brickell, 2006). We will establish the differences between sex and gender; define the term of gender identity; interpret gender from the viewpoint of every sociological angle.
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Sociology differentiates sex and gender as two disparate phenomena. Sex describes biological characteristics that humankind use to determine people into the group of either male or female. Usually, this approach focuses on various physical attributes (Zevallos, 2015). When it comes to discussing diversities between males and females, people mostly lean on sex as adamant concepts of biology, not on gender; thus showing the apprehension of the way society forms an awareness of biological classifications. Gender is a more shifting term referring to an appellation that might not revolve around anatomical features. To be more precise, gender is a conception that defines how communities regulate and conduct different sex categories; the implications that are connected to the roles of males and females by cultures; and how a person interpret his or her identity including various gender positions. Moreover, gender is established by the actions and feelings of an individual. A sex of an individual is determined by nature and does not necessarily correlate with person’s gender. As a result, it can be said that the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are not compatible.
As the description of sex depicts physical divergences, the essence of sex would not alter considerably in diverse societies. On the contrary, the features of gender would differ immensely from culture to culture. “For example, in American culture, it is considered feminine (or a trait of the female gender) to wear a dress or skirt. However, in many Middle Eastern, Asian, and African cultures, dresses or skirts (often referred to as sarongs, robes, or gowns) can be considered masculine. The kilt worn by a Scottish male does not make him appear feminine in his culture” (Little, 2014, p. 174).
Since the beginning of life, the person gains knowledge about behaving himself or herself from the people around us, i.e. society (Crossman, 2014). During this course of socialization, people become familiar with particular roles that are ordinarily related to their sex given by nature. Thus appears another concept of ‘gender role’, which depicts the conception made by the society in order to determine the behavior of males and females. These positions are found on criterion and patterns that are designed by society. For example, “masculine roles are usually associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles are usually associated with passivity, nurturing, and subordination” (Little, 2014, p. 174). The observing and acquiring the information about gender roles begins with socialization from the moment of birth. This fact may be traced from the fact that the society is used to clothe male babies in blue and female babies in pink.
The pursuit of corresponding to the gender roles persists throughout the entire life. “Men tend to outnumber women in professions such as law enforcement, the military, and politics. Women tend to outnumber men in care-related occupations such as child care, health care, and social work. These occupational roles are examples of typical Canadian male and female behaviour, derived from our culture’s traditions. Adherence to them demonstrates fulfilment of social expectations but not necessarily personal preference” (Diamond, 2002, p. 324).
Sociology tolerates some grade of resilience when a person identifies his or her gender role. At some point, males are able to take feminine functions and females are able to accept masculine functions while not intervening with the gender identity of a person. “Gender identity is an individual’s self-conception of being male or female based on his or her association with masculine or feminine gender roles” (Little, 2014, p. 178).
The theories of sociology perform guidance for the course of research and suggest methods towards deciphering the information and defining social phenomena (Lindsey, 2010). Structural functionalism administered one of the most substantial aspects of sociological examinations and had a notable impact on the exploration of social and especially gender studies. While a family is an essential segment of society, a preeminent place in this aspect is taken by hypothesis about gender roles inside wedlock. Critical sociology suggests that the construction of society relies on connections between control and dominance among social groups. Therefore, according to this aspect, sociologists determine males as a superior sex and females as a collateral sex. (Boss, 2008).
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Feminism is an aspect of critical sociology that inspects prejudice in controversies between genders. Dr. Dorothy Smith (1987) said: “women often perceive a disconnect between their personal experiences and the way the world is represented by society as a whole. I refer to this phenomenon as bifurcated consciousness” (p. 132). Symbolic interactionism’s primary target is to perceive the behaviour of an individual by examining the crucial position of patterns in human communication.
In conclusion, it can be said that sociology explores the social phenomenon of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ by investigating different aspects of gender roles from various points of view. ‘Gender’ and ‘sex’ are incompatible concepts, and sociology provides extensive explanations to each.
Boss, P. (2008). Sourcebook of family theories and methods. In K. Farrington & W. Chertok (Eds.), Social conflict theories of the family (pp. 357-381). Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Brickell. C. (2006). The sociological construction of gender and sexuality. The Sociological Review 54(1), 87-113.
Crossman, A. (2014, 13 April). Sociology of gender: Studying the relationship between gender and society. About Education. Web.
Diamond, M. (2002). Sex and gender are different: sexual identity and gender identity are different. Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry 7(3), 320-334.
Lindsey, L. (2010). Gender roles: A sociological perspective. London, United Kingdom: Pearson.
Little, W. (2014). Introduction to sociology – 1st Canadian edition. Houston. Texas: Rice University.
Smith, D. (1987). The Everyday World as Problematic: A Feminist Sociology. Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University Press.
Zevallos, Z. (2015). Sociology of gender. Other Sociologist. Web.