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The Social Construction of Gender

       Yes, we are what the society shaped. Some of our true selves has been chipped out because of norms and gender roles we were born to. I am not talking about the sex organs we have, but about the identity we care, feminine or masculine. Judith Lorber discusses in her article “The Social Construction of Gender”, how the society tends to sculpt our paths in lives. She states, “Gender is so pervasive that in our society we assume it is bred into our genes” (126). That is very true. We can not even tell anymore that what we do is part of us or what society compels us to do. 
      When babies are born, we directly buy stuff according to their sex. Pink and barbies for girls, and blue and cars for boys. I had my cousin who refused to say the sex of her baby before she gave birth even to her own mother, because she does not want to get a bunch of gender specific gifts. Most of the family and friend were devastated, they did not know what to buy or how to handle the situation. What is wrong with a girl with a blue shirt? 
         Also, if we do not go along with these norms, we will get judged by society and face sanctions. A girl with lose clothes and no makeup and likes soccer is a Tomb Boy of course. A boy who likes to knit, umm Gay. That is how we encourage gender differences in society, we complain about differences and then encourage them.

      Another thing she discusses is how kids realized gender before they show interest about their sex and sexual activities, which does not come up until puberty. If we show up Barbie and Ken to a 5 years old and ask them who takes care of the babies and cleans the house, they will point out to Barbie of course. If you tell them how do they have a baby, they will not say sex. Hence, they know their assigned gender roles way before they know their sexual desires and sex. 

      We should give the children more opportunities to break away from these boundaries, and let them to do what they want without being compelled to feel that they are deviating from being normal. I think more and more individuals are begin aware of this issue, and are trying to break free from norms and that is a good thing. 

1 Comment

  1. Jack Manska says:

    Great post I would like to share my experience. During the time of my wife’s pregnancy we both agreed that we would wait to find out the sex of our child. The Doctor always asked “if we wanted to know the sex?” and took great care during the ultrasounds to keep our child’s gender a surprise. During the nine months our only worries were that our child was healthy. We had a lot of fun listening to the family say things like “oh my you are carrying low that is sure sign of a boy” or “my you are big sure sign that you are going to have a boy”. We amused ourselves with the ridiculousness of our friends and families prophecies. We were always asked why we did not want to know. Our response was always, “why would we want to know?” They all felt we should know so we could decorate the room or buy clothes accordingly. For us the births of our children were the most exciting times in our lives and the surprise of gender only added to the excitement. Trading that excitement for some stereotypical security purchasing power seemed rather odd to us. We picked out names for both a boy and a girl, accomplished by using our combined ancestry for ideas. It was one of the most thrilling times of our lives and both of our children were born healthy and they can forever be secure in the knowledge that this was our only wish.

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