An analysis of different definitions of feminism and gender as a social construct

Gender is a social construct. The things we have been taught divide men and women are not innate differences.

An analysis of different definitions of feminism and gender as a social construct

The main feminist motivation for making this distinction was to counter biological determinism or the view that biology is destiny. A typical example of a biological determinist view is that of Geddes and Thompson who, inargued that social, psychological and behavioural traits were caused by metabolic state.

It would be inappropriate to grant women political rights, as they are simply not suited to have those rights; it would also be futile since women due to their biology would simply not be interested in exercising their political rights.

To counter this kind of biological determinism, feminists have argued that behavioural and psychological differences have social, rather than biological, causes. Commonly observed behavioural traits associated with women and men, then, are not caused by anatomy or chromosomes.

Sorry, Liberals, But Gender Is Not a “Social Construct”

Rather, they are culturally learned or acquired. Although biological determinism of the kind endorsed by Geddes and Thompson is nowadays uncommon, the idea that behavioural and psychological differences between women and men have biological causes has not disappeared.

In the s, sex differences were used to argue that women should not become airline pilots since they will be hormonally unstable once a month and, therefore, unable to perform their duties as well as men Rogers More recently, differences in male and female brains have been said to explain behavioural differences; in particular, the anatomy of corpus callosum, a bundle of nerves that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres, is thought to be responsible for various psychological and behavioural differences.

Anne Fausto-Sterling has questioned the idea that differences in corpus callosums cause behavioural and psychological differences. First, the corpus callosum is a highly variable piece of anatomy; as a result, generalisations about its size, shape and thickness that hold for women and men in general should be viewed with caution.

Understanding the social construction of gender Feminist Understandings – Gender and Power The social construction framework explains that there is no essential, universally distinct character that is masculine or feminine - behaviours are influenced by a range of factors including class, culture, ability, religion, age, body shape and sexual. Basically, there are two schools of thought regarding gender. Social construction is the creation of categories that we attach meaning to. If you believe that gender is a social construct, then you basically believe that gender is something that we create within our societies. Social constructs vary across cultures and over time. Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender First published Mon May 12, ; substantive revision Wed Oct 25, Feminism is said to be the movement to end women's oppression (hooks , 26).

Second, differences in adult human corpus callosums are not found in infants; this may suggest that physical brain differences actually develop as responses to differential treatment.

Third, given that visual-spatial skills like map reading can be improved by practice, even if women and men's corpus callosums differ, this does not make the resulting behavioural differences immutable.

Fausto-Sterling b, chapter 5. Psychologists writing on transsexuality were the first to employ gender terminology in this sense.

An analysis of different definitions of feminism and gender as a social construct

Although by and large a person's sex and gender complemented each other, separating out these terms seemed to make theoretical sense allowing Stoller to explain the phenomenon of transsexuality: Along with psychologists like Stoller, feminists found it useful to distinguish sex and gender.

This enabled them to argue that many differences between women and men were socially produced and, therefore, changeable. Rubin's thought was that although biological differences are fixed, gender differences are the oppressive results of social interventions that dictate how women and men should behave.

However, since gender is social, it is thought to be mutable and alterable by political and social reform that would ultimately bring an end to women's subordination. In some earlier interpretations, like Rubin's, sex and gender were thought to complement one another.

That is, according to this interpretation, all humans are either male or female; their sex is fixed. But cultures interpret sexed bodies differently and project different norms on those bodies thereby creating feminine and masculine persons. Distinguishing sex and gender, however, also enables the two to come apart: So, this group of feminist arguments against biological determinism suggested that gender differences result from cultural practices and social expectations.

Nowadays it is more common to denote this by saying that gender is socially constructed. But which social practices construct gender, what social construction is and what being of a certain gender amounts to are major feminist controversies.

Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

There is no consensus on these issues. See the entry on intersections between analytic and continental feminism for more on different ways to understand gender. Masculinity and femininity are thought to be products of nurture or how individuals are brought up.

They are causally constructed Haslanger And the mechanism of construction is social learning. Feminine and masculine gender-norms, however, are problematic in that gendered behaviour conveniently fits with and reinforces women's subordination so that women are socialised into subordinate social roles: That is, feminists should aim to diminish the influence of socialisation.If you believe that gender is a social construct, then you basically believe that gender is something that we create within our societies.

Social constructs vary across cultures and over time. Something that we would consider evidence that gender is socially constructed is that our views of femininity and masculinity are different now than they. Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender First published Mon May 12, ; substantive revision Wed Oct 25, Feminism is said to be the movement to end women's oppression (hooks , 26).

Gender is a social construct.

How Gender Norms Maintain Hierarchies of Power

What I mean by that is the ways in which characteristics, interests, and behaviors are deemed “masculine” or “feminine” relies on . Jul 02,  · Because there are actually two different definitions of the word “gender” in your question.

Feminist analysis says that “gender” is a social construct, in the sense that womanhood and manhood are a set of stereotypes and expectations imposed by society on biological sexes. We are male or female. The social construction of gender is a notion in feminism and sociology about the operation of gender and gender differences in societies.

According to this view, society and culture create gender roles, and these roles are prescribed as ideal or appropriate behavior for a person of that specific sex. extent it treats sexuality as a social construct of male power: defined by men, forced on women, and constitutive of the meaning ofgender.

Such an approach centers feminism on .

Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)