Social Structures: The Male-Female Dichotomy

Through social interaction our entire lives, we learn what is to be expected, see what is expected, and act and respond how it’s expected. And as we conform to these expectations we maintain our social structures and propagate them. Though the maintenance and propagation of social structures seems beneficial, and is to a certain extent, it is troublesome as many structures we have are dichotomies or binary oppositions that do not allow and alienate those that do not fall in either pole. Not only that but having these binary oppositions so ingrained in people makes them want to force those that fall outside the norm to conform or disregard them completely. The male-female dichotomy in conjunction with the gender binary is the most basic dichotomies …show more content…
Males are expected to be masculine and be sexually attracted to women and in turn, females are expected to be feminine and sexually attracted to men. While there are some that do follow the cookie cutter template of Male→Masculine→attracted to woman, and Female→Feminine→attracted to men, there are many that do not. And that is because while society is obsessed in keeping structures, some are fundamentally flawed. The problem with the expected sex/gender/orientation template is that it exists under the belief that they are mutually inclusive when they are not. The fact that there are plenty of cis-gendered men and women that are attracted to the same sex already debunks the template without even touching upon all the other combinations following the male/female, masculine/feminine, and men/woman options, plus options that are not included such as trans and queer. Just in the sexual orientation category there is heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, and many others so the current binary structure needs a change because sexuality and gender are fluid. As mentioned by Fausto-Sterling, human sexuality is a process that changes as a person’s idea of sexuality changes so as the idea of sexuality changes there should be a change of the binary and more genders and orientations should be …show more content…
Going back to the why many people that do not conform to the norm feel like they have to for safety, the male-female dichotomy and the expected gender identity and expression are so ingrained within society that those that fall outside of it are seen almost as a threat. Conformity and normativity are seen as so essential that many try to beat it into others, be it physically or psychologically. Many queer people are bullied, experience violence and are often times even killed because they are not “normal”. This is why some conform, because they can literally be killed if they do not. This hate against the different is sometimes blatantly obvious like in the cases above but it can also be so subconscious that the people showing it do not even know. This can be seen in Stone’s description of some feminist ideals about how all transsexuals rape women’s bodies through the deception behind the appropriation of the body. It can be seen in the media through the cry against trans-women sharing typically women’s space such as bathrooms. It can be seen through the lack of understanding of why gay couples want the right to get married. It can be seen through a mother or father scolding their son for wanting to play with dolls or their daughter for wanting to wear “boy’s” clothing. There is such a fear for

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