|Gender is a SOCIAL CONSTRUCT and not binary nor biologically determined. This an letter addressing anyone who wants to be educated and enlightened on how gender is a social construct and how to break through some of the stereotypical ideas society has forced on us. |
Dear to whom this may concern,
The Western culture seems to always want to be right and followed- culturally, the western world has two genders-male and female but other cultures such as different African and Indian societies have more- to follow up and be up to date with an outdated society built idea of either man or woman. Gender is socially constructed and is an invention of society. For example, Judith Lorber (1994), in " 'Night to His Day': The Social Construction of Gender" confronted how gender is believed to be based on sex from our birth and how society has socially constructed two genders and made “society assume it is bred into our genes” (pg 318, 1994.) Before a baby is born, there is a baby shower thrown which usually ends up with the colors blue or pink- boy or girl. But this is just the start for the rest of the life of this child to come-society has made this social construct of genders that will dominate and challenge the child as he/she grows up. Lorber (1994 ) critically talks about how the child begins to addresses themselves as the member of their gender; however she brings up that sex is brought up usually during puberty- unless some other desires and feelings are brought up before that.
Society has made gender so critical and so precise that it even is shown that “parenting is gendered…experiences produce different feelings, consciousness, relationships, skills—ways of being we call feminine and masculine” (p. 318, 1994). If one asks a child, what is a family? They would response with whatever they were exposed to, but in literature, society, bathrooms etc, it states only of two genders-male or female. In fact, there are more than two genders as biology has a rare and random way of producing and creating one of a kind DNA with distinct genes.
Yes, Lorber does recognize that gender roles have been challenged and changed in ways that the fathers take care of children, moms do and can work and provide for the family just like the fathers, young girls and boys wear unisex clothes and understand that colors should not be gender based etc. however, she wants to point out that baby showers still exist even though we don’t know the gender the child is to be when they get older etc. Basically, why are we still stuck in a social institution of gender? The arguments are that society want to organize. They organize feelings, thoughts, emotions, personalities, features, clothing types etc.
Another key thing to remember is that transvestites do not become a third gender, they change genders. Because gender is taught and often pushed onto young, men teach themselves how to be women, which is over shown in social media, media, fashion, magazines, hairstyles, etc. But “human females and males are physiologically more similar in appearance than are the two sexes of many species of animals and are more alike than different in traits and behavior” (p. 320, Lorber, 1994). So why do we follow a social construct and fail to realize that gender is not supposed to be based on their biological state at birth? Its literally because everyone does it and if one challenges or strays away then they are deemed as uncommon or targeted for being different or even avoided etc. How does one call out society for this gender when EVERYONE believes in it so religiously, no pun intended. It’s crucial to accept and acknowledge but there also seems to be a fear and a courageous factor is calling out this social construct.
On another note, gender bending is used also in social status changes where women are seen and treated like men but still see themselves as women such as in Egypt or even in Japanese theater/dance. Men played both the role of women and men and an important thing to remember is that, “bending gender rules and passing between genders does not erode but rather preserve gender boundaries.” (p. 321 Lorber, 1994). So you see, gender is constructed since the beginning but is always challenged. People are not born to be a gender but we assume with their reproductive organs and then they are taught to be either female or male. It cannot be stressed enough that there is an assigned gender to a human because it is appointed-then the social construct pushes through strongly with the how-to-be-a-male-or -female-101 for the rest of their lives.
It is also justified by religion and law which is why it’s missed and recognize how gender assignment is in everything and is everywhere-subtlety and not. It’s weird how even though we realize that gender is a social construct, culturally we aren’t updating as much as we should have been with th
e knowledge we know now. It’s like society is controlling and having this organized shape not fall apart even though they do and maybe do not acknowledge that gender is not male and female biologically.
Critically it’s difficult to alter one’s whole definition and life style but that is not the point of this; it’s to realize and acknowledge that from the very beginning, there was a certain thing of man and women and for there to be order and reoccurrence of this behavior- it was socially constructed. So next time when someone throws a baby shower and the color is pink or blue, think about on how the parents are already in a socially constructed definition of gender and how to educate them on how gender isn’t what they believe it to be essentially. Yes, people will deny this etc but in the end, a human being is not female nor male, without the complicated gender assigned roles, they are simple before thrown into this confused state of gender category that is supposedly binary or biological determined- which it is not.
Judith Lorber: " 'Night to His Day': The Social Construction of Gender" (1994) https://jenseyatvajameh.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/sakhtareejtemaiejenseyat.pdf