Definition Of Sex, Sexuality, And Gender

Improved Essays
In “Gender Defined and Undefined,” Marinucci states that the paradigmatic man and the paradigmatic woman are the “hegemonic binary” of our society. This binary praises those who follow it and demeans those who don’t. Society constructed these binaries as a means of control and a way to enforce the existing hierarchies. Thus, making it easy to identify those in society who should and should not be privileged. By examining the meanings of sex, sexuality, and gender you can understand why society creates these privileges. The classification of the Paradigmatic Woman has not greatly affected me. Growing up my mother never dressed me in girly colors or dresses but instead in denim overalls and Winnie the Pooh. My sexuality is heterosexual, my …show more content…
As West and Zimmerman point out in their article, “Doing Gender,” there are many flaws with this strict definition of sex; “perceived to be natural and rooted in biology, producing in turn profound psychological, behavioral, and social consequences” (West and Zimmerman 1987). To suggest that sex is strictly a biological factor that can’t be changed would also assume that our society is based on the traits and characteristics we associate with male and female. It also justifies the abuse of groups of individuals who don’t fit this classification. Adhering to the gender social norm would assume behaving like a man or woman which Collins, in “Toward A New Vision”, lists the characteristics that are associated with feminine and masculine; femininity means “passive, [a] follower, emotional, weak, and physical” (Collins 2010 pg. 240). Similarly, masculinity means you have to be “aggressive, leader, rational, strong, and intellectual” (Collins 2010). By listing these characteristics, Collins points out their flaws; “… this list reflect[s] either/ or dichotomous thinking and the need to rank both sides of the dichotomy…” (Collins 2010). Through the enforcement of these characteristics, you are limiting the types of people who can fit into these descriptions. The listing of these characteristics not only points out how biased they are but also how they affect societies ideas. When discussing gender in relation to the paradigmatic man and paradigmatic woman there are many exclusions that are not explained. If there is no explanation given as to people who don’t adhere to the binary they will be ridiculed. We as a society are taught to classify people as male and female biologically and socially and heterosexual or homosexual. By classifying people into normal and deviant, we are limiting our view and allowing society to tell us right from

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Gender Definition Essay

    • 1077 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Society as we know it is very judgmental and classifies us human beings by categories such as our sex. These categories are both male and female. Although we are all the same as to being a human we let our genders get in the way of our lives of everyday obstacles. Gender is primarily the state of being male or female and masculine or feminine. The overall basis of gender is to to tell us what sex we are as male or female not tell us how to live based off of our gender.…

    • 1077 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Response Paper #2 Gender binaries have created a system of oppression that forces all people into one of two strictly defined gender categories, man and woman. In “Dismantling Gender Polarization and Compulsory Heterosexuality: Should We Turn the Volume down or up?” a journal article from The Journal of Sex Research written by Sandra Lipsitz Bem, she discusses how society created a gender binary system where two and only categories of sex/gender/desire are recognized and the two categories have created a system of oppression where people who cross gender boundaries cannot exist. She shows that sex and gender is to blame for the way we treat other people and if society cannot see gender outside of the binary then society cannot change. In order…

    • 778 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Feminist scholars aim to actively challenge traditional ways of how we view sex and gender by highlighting gender as a key factor in structuring the way in which we live our lives. Sexual orientation develops from a complex relationship of psychological, social and cultural factors. Society’s interpretation of both sex and gender is able to strongly influence the roles they play within social institutions. The implications of these gender distinctions are that women and men assume unequal positions in terms of opportunities and power. Feminism challenges patriarchal description of gender and sexuality proposing the idea that equality between the sexes can only be achieved by converting social attitudes in regards to gender and sexuality.…

    • 1345 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Causes to barriers in sexual communication can be attributed by negative beliefs about sex. Negative beliefs about sex stem from the gender socialization, media and religion. The messages delivered to individuals about sex is how they form their personal beliefs and therefore, how they communicate about sex with others. Women and men are socialized differently and “past research often explains gender difference in sexual behavior according to differences in social norms” (Maas et al., 2015, p. 617). From a young age, society assigns specific roles to males and females.…

    • 844 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sex selection attempts to control the sex of new births in order to select a desired sex. This shows our communities continual marginalization of women throughout the world. When it comes to sex selection and gendercide, it is normal to think that it must be happening only in countries like China and India which have a very manly controlling community and they prefer men over women all the time. However it is actually happening in Unites States as well. Gender is a term pertaining to various biological characteristics that can identify an individual as female or male.…

    • 1381 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    (Curthoys, 2000, p. 21) Gender was useful as a tool to challenge to patriarchal systems integral to society in order to repudiate the assumed subordinate status of women due to their sex. Such subjectivity, feminists argued, exposed women to oppression due to traditional models that privilege men. (Henry, 2004, p. 52) However, this is readily rebutted by feminists with the vindication that gender differences are not innate sex differences but rather engineered by misconceptualised cultures. Such cultural constructs of gender took center-stage in oppressing women and were biologically unsubstantiated. In the analysis of German, she asserts that this traditional understanding has empowered feminists to reject the fallacy whereby men are innately superior under the defense that gender is a social construct.…

    • 1634 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The way we are socialized affects all of the aforementioned criteria; society tells us what we should believe is right and wrong, how we should handle circumstances, what we should desire. What society expects from an individual is different depending on their characteristics: things like race, class, ability, age, and most broadly, gender, a product of sex. Sex, usually assumed to be dimorphic, is what divides the entirety of the human species, and it transcends all other social categories, but along with the other categories, the differences are meant to derive some meaning. The societal consequences of sex collectively are considered to be gender—they are traits associated with and (taken as) indicative of sex. Although gender is performative (and often referred to as something we “do”), it treated very concretely, in most cases as “default” or “natural”.…

    • 933 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Masculinity And Gender

    • 1384 Words
    • 6 Pages

    In a systematically patriarchal society that encourages and enforces heteronormative demeanors, we are influenced to accept the notions that our sexual interactions are confined to not only the polarity of male and female genders but additionally to the underlying prescriptions of heteronormativity. Due to the queerphobic overtones within society it becomes essential for queer individuals to assume the standard gender roles within a civilization that produces fear and angst through its punishments of both macro and micro aggressions. However conforming to adhere to social constructions isn’t isolated to just the queer community, for heterosexual individuals must obey society’s mandates out of fear of the negative consequences associated with…

    • 1384 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Whether we are consciously aware or not, our gender identity and how we express it, often determines our standing in society. The acceptance or suppression of different masculinities makes up the “structural order of gender” in our culture (Bird). As the film Saving Private Ryan depicts, hegemonic masculinity classifies other masculinities and women as inferior. The men who are the toughest and bravest are seen as the heroes, whereas those who are emotional or feminine are subjugated by the hegemonic masculinity in order to maintain the dominance of these ideals (Bird). On the other hand, the film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, shows that gender equality can be reached through the dismissal of these masculine norms.…

    • 802 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Through paternalistic methods, female circumcision and menstruation taboos are deeply rooted into many cultures and are good examples of how men keep women in subordinate positions. Female circumcision and menstruation taboos incite debates between cultural relativists holding a conservative ideology and radical activists determined to eliminate the practices. Ethnocentrism is an ideology in which people believe that their culture is superior in comparison to the cultures of…

    • 1961 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays