In biosocial terms, gender is not the same as sex. Gender refers to the psychological, social, cultural, and behavioral characteristics associated with being female or male.
Gender is defined by one's gender identity and learned gender role. Sex, on the other hand, refers in this context to the biological aspects of being either female or male. Genetically, females are identified by having two X chromosomes and males by having an X and a Y chromosome. In addition, sex can typically be determined from either primary or secondary sexual characteristics.
Primary sexual characteristics comprise the female or male reproductive organs i. Secondary sexual characteristics comprise the superficial differences between the sexes that occur with puberty e. It is relatively easy to see that biology has an impact on gender and the subsequent actions and behaviors that are thought to be more relevant to either females or males. For example, no matter how much a man might want to experience giving birth, the simple fact is that he cannot, except as an observer.
From this fact it is easy if not necessarily logical to assume that biology is destiny and, therefore, women and men have certain unalterable roles in society—for example, that women are the keepers of home and hearth because of their reproductive role, while men are the protectors and providers because of their relatively greater size and strength.
However, before concluding that biology is destiny in terms of gender roles, it is important to understand that not only do gender roles differ from culture to culture, they also change over time within the same culture.
Early 20th-century American culture emphasized that a woman's role was in the home. As a result, many women did not have high school educations and never held jobs; instead, they quite happily raised families and supported their husbands by keeping their households running smoothly.
Nearly a century later, this gender role is no longer the norm or at least not the only acceptable norm and sounds quite constricting to our more educated, career-oriented 21st-century ears. If biology were the sole determinant of gender roles, such changes would not be possible. In 21st-century United States culture, gender roles continue to be in a state of flux to some extent, although traditional gender roles still apply in many quarters.
For example, boys are often encouraged to become strong, fast, aggressive, dominant, and achieving, while traditional roles for girls are to be sensitive, intuitive, passive, emotional, and interested in the things of home and family. While women have a lower threshold for pain , they endure more of it on a regular basis; consequently, gender stereotypes and notions that men are inherently stronger than women are false.
The socially constructed nature of how women are perceived has been built over time and physical factors also come into play. There have been some attempts to clear up the question based on quantitative measures. For example, Lowri Turner published an article that compared men and women on a few physical traits and found that women are the weaker sex based on her criteria Turner. However, the aspects of pain threshold and tolerance reflect different results.
Learn about Alexandra Elbakyan , a woman who demonstrated strength in challenging the status quo. In terms of pain thresholds, it seems that women are more susceptible and vulnerable. Because pain is highly influenced by endorphins and other chemicals in the body, women may have more variability in terms of how strongly they experience pain.
That is, women usually report being in pain before men do for similar experiences. This would suggest that women are more vulnerable in that respect. Moreover, hormonal factors that affect the perception of pain and output of pain-killing endorphins are also more variable in female bodies due to menstruation Calandra.
Ultimately, the pain threshold example does support the norm that women are weaker. However, it is important to also understand that women are strong because they must deal with more physical pain on the whole. To exemplify, he cited that hormones, brain structure, genetic and biological factors all contribute to higher levels of chronic pain for women that often go undiagnosed Thompson.
Given the ubiquitous nature of pain for women, it is easy for society to construct an image of women as being frail. However, the fact that they have to undergo more pain neglects to reflect the fact that this makes them stronger, not weaker.
Ultimately, women are not weaker than men with respect to pain, they just have to deal with more of it. It is a long-standing counter-argument that men are inherently stronger than women in every facet of life because of evolution.
Despite the fact that men were native hunters and women gatherers, recent research suggests that men have many more inherent weaknesses than women. For instance, Marianne Legaton argued that at younger ages and throughout the lifespan, men are more likely to develop disorders, commit suicide and die violently than women Legaton. These vulnerabilities were documented with case studies and supported by research focused exclusively on gender differences.
A man that acts within his own gender role is lauded, but a woman is forced to stay within a certain fence within her role. She has to be feminine but not too much, sexual but not too much, and must have a career but not if it means she is a bad mother.
Gender roles exist, they are deeply engrained, they are currently unfair, and the people trying to make them fairer are repressing women backwards instead of giving them the same choices that men have. Conclusion A man that acts within his own gender role is lauded, but a woman is forced to stay within a certain fence within her role.
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Gender roles are largely a product of the way in which one was raised and may not be in conformance with one's gender identity. Research shows that both genetics and environment influence the development of gender roles.
“Gender Roles” By Tracey Mariner University of Phoenix Online January 27, OUTLINE TITLE Introduction: I. Defining the undefined gender role. A. Male vs. Female 1. What is the male role? 2. What is the female role? 3. Are these roles concrete? B. Gender Roles 1. Who define gender roles? 2. How are they defined? 3. Gender Role: a set of social and behavioral norms that are generally considered for either a man or a woman that vary within cultures. o Men: Provider, Law-enforcement, construction workers o Women: Nursing, secretary, caretaker, nurturer, educator, teacher, nanny, babysitter Gender Role Theory: Boys and girls learn the appropriate behavior %(1).
Essay on Gender Roles in Society Words | 5 Pages. Gender Roles in Society Gender role is a commonly discussed subject in society. Gender role simply defined is a person's inner sense of how a male or female should feel and behave. Society and culture are also very important in relation to this subject. Persuasive essay – Gender roles Within this essay I will prove that gender roles are still a massive part of our society and that people claiming equal rights and equal privileges are fighting a losing battle–if not are actually hurting their own cause.