Becoming Members Of Society : Learning The Social Meaning Of Gender

801 Words Apr 18th, 2016 4 Pages
In many cultures we don’t learn the difference between sex and gender until we have already been socialized with a gender identity. In this section of Aaron Devor’s book, “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meaning of Gender” he discusses the meaning of gender in society and argues that gender characteristics are socially imposed not dictated by the biological differences of male and female. He supports this by stating how children learn their gender identification at a very young age. Then he explains the two common gender groups which can differ between cultures. Finally he informs us that gender is a socially constructed phenomenon created from the imbalance of power of gender discrimination.
Devor starts by mentioning how children are introduced to gender identity at a very young age. By the time children are five years old, they are convinced of their own gender and see themselves as permanent members of that gender group. However, they perceive gender only as a physical appearance that they can change at will such as hair or clothing. “This demonstrates that although the standard social definition of gender is based on genitalia, this is not the way that young children first learn to distinguish gender.”(389) Society is what defines masculinity and femininity; therefore, children will conform to the gender identities that society has set up without really questioning what gender is.
Devor then defines the characteristics of masculinity and femininity…

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