Gender As A Fluid Spectrum Essay

1419 Words Dec 4th, 2016 6 Pages
While sociology has long been aware of gender as a fluid spectrum rather than two distinct categories, this idea is just beginning to make its way to the forefront of mainstream media and discussions. The way gender is perceived today is a product of stereotypes being gendered and reinforced over the course of history. Masculinity and femininity have become the two, and only, district categories of gender. At birth, a person is designated either “male” or “female,” and this label shapes the way that person is viewed by the world for the rest of their life. Femininity, referring typically to social actions carried out by female bodied people, is often categorized by traits such as passiveness, emotional sensitivity, and a nurturing disposition. On the other hand, masculinity, referring to social actions carried out by male bodied people, is categorized by traits like strength, confidence, independence and a lack of emotion. Masculinity’s close association with strength and toughness sets a standard that men and boys feel extreme social pressure to adhere to. The epitome of how damaging masculinity can be on a person’s physical and mental health is embodied by hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is defined as the “ideal” form of masculinity within a society at a specific time and place (Connell, 1995). In the modern United States, hegemonic masculinity is reflected in white, heterosexual, wealthy and well-educated men (Courtenay, 2000). In many ways, performing…

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