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Gender Roles and its Effect - Essay Example

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While an individual’s sex is a concept determined biologically, gender refers to a social construct that determines and influences one’s actions, values, attitudes and behaviors considered appropriate for the male or female…
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Gender Roles and its Effect
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"Gender Roles and its Effect"

Download file to see previous pages The gender roles as defined by society therefore fail to pay attention to such groups who identify themselves as intersexual and transgender. Intersexual are individuals having male/female anatomical characteristics that deviate from the normal while transgender are those that identify with or express their gender identity through a gender that does not correspond to the sex at birth. In a society where a lot focus is placed on this gender binary, these individuals with characteristics that do not neatly fit the clear-cut male/female dichotomy face similar problems as socially constructed gender roles fail to accommodate them. Perceptions and judgments people hold about others are generally informed by social norms, which consequently leads to them gravitating to individuals that are least hostile to a society’s norms. To perceive and understand reality, people rely on senses, intellect and generally, held social constructs which makes them able to label certain objects and concepts. For example, a man is differentiated from a woman according to gender roles and behaviors that have been assigned to genders and are expected of them. Individuals who posses’ characteristics and behaviors regarded as ‘masculine’ by the society are identified as man, and vice versa. There is a complexity when individuals who do not identify themselves within the constraints of this gender binary fail to fit into the male/female duality. In her article, Judith Butler explains that through intelligibility, humans are able to recognize other humans based on “normal” human social and physical characteristics that are defined by the society. ...
at a definable gender is necessary for understanding someone to be human, people hold dominant gender perceptions, which dictate that intersexed persons must conform to either male or female gender roles. Butler rather subverts gender roles, as she asserts that “justice is not only or exclusively a matter of how persons are treated or how societies are constituted. It also concerns consequential decisions about what a person is, and what social norms must be honored and expressed for ‘personhood’ to become allocated” (Butler, 58). She goes out of the norm to define justice not in terms of law but as the capacity to overlook the social norms that define an individual’s self-worth. According to her, justice is defined by the decisions held by a particular society in defining what it considers ‘human’. These include the accepted appearance, characteristics and behaviors of an individual. Individuals who portray characteristics and behaviors that deviate from what the society considers as the ‘normal’, their identity is questioned. A quandary arises since perceptions held by a society are not flexible to change for accommodation of such individuals, rather it is expected of the individuals to readjust and conform to the predefined gender roles. Gender roles are acquired through socialization whereby a society trains individuals to conform and practice certain values and behaviors. Judith Lorber states that, “gender construction start with assignment to a sex category on the basis of what the genitalia look like at birth……..a sex category becomes a gender status through naming dress and the use of other gender markers” when a child is born as sex is assigned to the child depending on the anatomical characteristics in particular the sex organs. As ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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