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Gender is not something one is, it is something one dose it is a sequence of acts, a doing rather then a being - Essay Example

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Introduction According to Simone de Beauvoir, in her book The Second Sex (1973), the word “female” and the word “woman” are two completely different concepts from one another. The word “female” designates that an individual has certain body parts, therefore is not a male (female genitalia, female breasts, etc.)…
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Gender is not something one is, it is something one dose it is a sequence of acts, a doing rather then a being
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Download file to see previous pages Butler (1986) states that the common thinking about how a female becomes a woman is governed by patriarchy and phallogocentric language “which precedes and determines the subject itself” (Butler, 1986, p. 36). In other words, Butler (1986) believes that the term “woman” is defined passively, not by the women themselves, but by the patriarchal culture. That said, de Beauvoir (1973) believes that oppression is not inevitable, but, rather, they persist because of cultural reasons. Butler (1990) further states that the concept of a universal patriarchy has come under fire, because patriarchy exists in “concrete cultural contexts” (Butler, 1990, p. 3). Butler (1990) also states that there is the possibility that women might have a bond through their oppression alone. Connell (1992) further states that gender, in and of itself, is a construction of power and hegemony, which means that the male identity is also influenced by culture and these outside forces. Connell (1992) believes that masculine identities may be hegemonic or marginalized – some masculine identities are the former, others are the latter. Similarly, there is a difference between masculinity and femininity, and this, too, is contrasted with the terms “male” and “female.” Bartky (2003) states the one achieves femininity, whereas one is born female. The same with masculinity – men might achieve masculinity, and be born male, or, alternatively, as with many homosexual men, one may be born male but not achieve masculinity. As with the philosophies of de Beauvoir and Butler, Bartky (2003) states that the concept of masculinity and femininity is dictated by the power structure, which states what the contours are of masculinity and femininity (Bartky, 2003). This article will examine how patriarchy and society has defined both men and women throughout the modern era. Discussion Standards of Beauty As de Beauvoir (1973) states, the feminine identity, and what it means to be a woman is defined by patriarchy and the male. In no area of a woman’s life is this more apparent than the standards of beauty, which are male-dominated. Women feel that they must conform to these male-dictated beauty standards, or they are somehow less than. The feminine ideal for beauty, therefore, is not only ever-changing, but is dictated by the power structure and patriarchy. Lorber (1993) states that the feminine ideal, at least during the early 1990s, which is when Lorber’s article was written, was slim-slim-hipped, small breasted and virtually emaciated. Women starved themselves for this ideal, and this ideal sold many magazines which promised women a way to become thinner, in order to fit this ideal. While this was the ideal in the early 1990s, and, more or less, continues to be today’s ideal, this was not always so – the feminine body ideal has changed over the years, according to society and culture. Calabrese et al. (2011) state that the feminine ideal is epitomized by Playboy models, which is similar to the ideal stated by Lorber (1993), in that the women is to be slim-hipped and slender, overall. However, in this ideal, the woman must also have large breasts. Barbie dolls exemplify this ideal, and girls and women increasingly pressured to fit this ideal, to the extent that they require plastic surgery to do so (Calabrese et al.., 2011). Frederick et al. (2007) state that these feminine ideals, as pushed upon society by ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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