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12pt–Double Spaced–1.5 pages total–APA Format–Title Page–Reference Sheet**Reading attached**After studying the assigned reading, Sociology: The Social Construction of Gender, considering the concept of “gender as socially constructed,” answer the following questions and prompts. A) How does media create meanings about gender? B) Provide examples of how this is manifested in our everyday lives. C) Provide a link to a commercial/ad that stereotypes gender. Even though it is natural to find humor in some of these portrayals, in what ways is this problematic. Also, consider that sex is a system of classification based on biology and physiology, while gender reflects the cultural meaning that is ascribed to a person’s sex, thus resulting in labels of “masculinity and femininity.” Furthermore, our biology is not distinctively male or female and a significant number of people are born “intersex” with variations in chromosomes or sexual organs. Most biological researchers agree on the estimation that intersex people are about as common as encountering someone with green eyes. It is important to understand that masculinity and femininity are not oppositional, although it seems to be portrayed so in media. In Western society (such as in the U.S. and Western Europe) we typically adhere to certain ideas and values that define masculinity and femininity as we perform the roles. What if the list was different? All of us, in honesty, could reveal that we interchange among the qualities. Take a look at the list and answer the following questions:MasculinityFemininitystrengthdominanceaggressionindependenceempowermentactiverational thoughtproductionbreadwinnersubjectoutdoorstechnologyweaknesssubmissioncompliance/vulnerabilitydependencedisempowermentpassiveemotionconsumptionnurturerobjectindoorsnatureProvide answers to the following questions or prompts in your assignment submission. D) How is the list being currently challenged?E) What traits do you have that are typically considered “on the list” of the other sex? F) What examples do you see in your daily life of people challenging the historic list? G) What about examples in media of characters or people challenging the list? H) Finally, do you agree or disagree that gender is socially constructed? Provide evidence that backs your opinion
social_construction_of_gender.docx

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The Social Construction of Gender
Social constructivists propose that there is no inherent truth to gender; it is constructed
by social expectations and gender performance.
Terms

social constructionism
The idea that social institutions and knowledge are created by actors within the
system, rather than having any inherent truth on their own.

Gender performativity
Gender Performativity is a term created by post-structuralist feminist philosopher
Judith Butler in her 1990 book Gender Trouble, which has subsequently been
used in a variety of academic fields that describes how individuals participate in
social constructions of gender.

essentialism
The view that objects have properties that are essential to them.
Social Constructionism
The social construction of gender comes out of the general school of thought entitled
social constructionism. Social constructionism proposes that everything people “know”
or see as “reality” is partially, if not entirely, socially situated. To say that something is
socially constructed does not mitigate the power of the concept. Take, for example,
money. Money is a socially constructed reality. Paper bills are worth nothing
independent of the value individuals ascribe to them. The dollar is only worth as much
as value as Americans are willing to ascribe to it. Note that the dollar only works in its
own currency market; it holds no value in areas that don’t use the dollar. Nevertheless,
the dollar is extremely powerful within its own domain.
These basic theories of social constructionism can be applied to any issue of study
pertaining to human life, including gender. Is gender an essential category or a social
construct? If it is a social construct, how does it function? Who benefits from the way
that gender is constructed? A social constructionist view of gender looks beyond
categories and examines the intersections of multiple identities and the blurring of the
boundaries between essentialist categories. This is especially true with regards to
categories of male and female, which are viewed typically as binary and opposite.
Social constructionism seeks to blur the binary and muddle these two categories, which
are so frequently presumed to be essential.
Judith Butler and Gender Performativity
Judith Butler is one of the most prominent social theorists currently working on issues
pertaining to the social construction of gender. Butler is a trained philosopher and has
oriented her work towards feminism and queer theory. Butler’s most known work is
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, published in 1991, which
argues for gender performativity. This means that gender is not an essential category.
The repetitious performances of “male” and “female” in accordance with social norms
reifies the categories, creating the appearance of a naturalized and essential binary.
Gender is never a stable descriptor of an individual, but an individual is always “doing”
gender, performing or deviating from the socially accepted performance of gender
stereotypes. Doing gender is not just about acting in a particular way. It is about
embodying and believing certain gender norms and engaging in practices that map on
to those norms. These performances normalize the essentialism of gender categories.
In other words, by doing gender, we reinforce the notion that there are only two mutually
exclusive categories of gender. The internalized belief that men and women are
essentially different is what makes men and women behave in ways that appear
essentially different. Gender is maintained as a category through socially constructed
displays of gender.
Doing gender is fundamentally a social relationship. One does gender in order to be
perceived by others in a particular way, either as male, female, or as troubling those
categories. Certainly, gender is internalized and acquires significance for the individual;
some individuals want to feel feminine or masculine. Social constructionists might argue
that because categories are only formed within a social context, even the affect of
gender is in some ways a social relation. Moreover, we hold ourselves and each other
for our presentation of gender, or how we “measure up.” We are aware that others
evaluate and characterize our behavior on the parameter of gender. Social
constructionists would say that gender is interactional rather than individual—it is
developed through social interactions. Gender is also said to be omnirelevant, meaning
that people are always judging our behavior to be either male or female.

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