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The difference between sex and gender - Research Paper Example

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Clients Name Name of Professor Name of Class Date Differentiating between the Terms Sex and Gender is Problematic within Society One of the most pervasive problems in modern society is in coming to an understanding about the differences between sex and gender…
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The difference between sex and gender

Download file to see previous pages... The definition of sex is anthropologically defined as the biological difference that is created at conception. The definition of gender is understood to be a construction of culture (Grauer and Stuart-Macadam 1). The idea that there must be a defining line between sex and gender has been fueled by the questions that the theories of feminism have raised within society. Through confusing power with gender, the public discourse in trying to shift the power from a patriarchal society to an society of equality has created a great deal of confusion in trying to make the genders equal in ability and behavior, rather than equal in importance and relevance. As researchers work to identify the differences between sex and gender and create ways to define them in separate spheres of inquiry, the realities of being male and female are lost in attempts to create science out of predetermined outcomes of perceived equality. Identity where it relates to sex is found in the womb where genitalia and hormone indicators are formed which designates the fetus as male or female. There are exceptions to this identifying concept as children are sometimes born with malformations which give them both sexes, or do not correctly identify them towards one sex or another. Grauer and Stuart-Macadam state, however, that “There is a consensus in anthropology that sex is defined by the biological differences between males and females determined in the moment of conception and enhanced in subsequent physiological development” (1). This would seem to be a straight forward definition of the concept of sex. As in all things having to do with sexuality, identifying physically with a sex is not as easy and as straight forward as the definition might suggest. The introduction of those individuals who feel that they are trapped within the body of the wrong gender has opened up the idea that sex is not defined by physiological definitions, but is defined by associative definitions on a physical level. Meyerowitz begins this level of discussion through suggesting that by the mid-twentieth century the idea of sex had moved away from just the physiological features towards a study of hormones and sex chromosomes. The determinants of socially constructed gender identifiers had been eliminated as a source for determining sex as women were breaking barriers and entering the public sphere, creating the understanding that gender was a social construction where sex was a biological designation. It was during this time that sex began to be considered for the ways in which it “signified not only male and female, but also traits, attitudes, and behaviors associated with women and men and with erotic arts” (Meyerowitz 3). The defining lines between sex and gender were formed as biology began to be separated from behavior and the idea of male and female began to be explored through the opening of social doors that had been closed before the 1960s. The defining line between biology and socialization is a blurry line that has yet to be fully developed and solidified. Sexuality is broken down into three categories of inquiry where the biological factors, the behavioral factors, and the erotic factors all require separate study and provided for a great deal of confusion in understanding the many ways in which all three of those aspects of the human existence are experienced. As Meyerowtiz states “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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