Gender Differences Between Sex And Gender

1504 Words 7 Pages
Understanding the way humans behave can be difficult. Especially if sex and gender have to be taken into consideration. Do they have the same definition? Not necessarily. Sex refers to the biological and physiological distinction between men and women. Gender on the other hand, is the social, cultural roles by men and women, approved by society. While we are born with our sex, gender is learned overtime through various agencies in society. In this essay, the differences between sex and gender, sexual dimorphism, the role of socialization on behaviour, case studies and theories in relation to gender development and some feminists’ views will be looked at and explained.
Differentiating between sex and gender, is a first step towards identifying
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Many theorists have tried to justify it by pointing to the biological differences between the two genders. Men are regarded to be physically stronger than women, therefore more qualified to do specific task. On the other hand, women are seen as less productive as they have to bear children and take care of them, limiting them to doing light tasks. According to George Murdock (1949) “because of the biological distinction between the genders,it is necessary to separate jobs according to sexes ,so that society can function well”(Haralambos & Holborn-Themes and Perspectives, seventh edition,pg 96). Murdock’s claim was based on his study of 224 societies, from hunting ones to the more developed. His findings, that different sexes were assigned to specific activities was heavily criticized. One person, who not only challenged Murdock’s claim but also Parsons’ (1955) own statement that women are merely a source of emotional support, was Anne Oakley (1974). She criticized Murdock for claiming that biology automatically determines what jobs fit men and women. She went as far as to challenge his claim that the division between genders in the workforce is present in every society. Citing clearly that in some societies, man and women have equal responsibilities and women do the work that is usually so male driven. She used the example of the Mbuti Pygmies, a society in Congo, who had no division of labour. When …show more content…
Employers are more hesitant hire women with children, for example fearing that they may be absent most of the time especially if their child is sick. Some Feminists groups bring to light the many inequalities that women suffer from. Radical feminists for example, blame the exploitation of women not only on men, but on their biology. They believe that men are too aggressive and women suffer from that. However, a fellow radical feminist Shulamith Firestone (1970) argued that in fact sex did contribute to women being treated differently than men. According to her women are faced with physical setbacks including, pregnancy and breastfeeding. She went as far as to say that due to the amount of time women, spend taking care of children they become “dependent on men”. Proposing some alternatives to such issues, she suggested that women use contraceptives and hope that someday babies could be carried outside the womb. The problem with feminist theories however is that, they do not agree on exactly what causes women to be treated differently. While some believe that it is linked to biology, others blame it on women always being regarded as second class citizens in society. Liberal feminists however, provide some interesting proposal on how women’s situation can be improved. They seek equal opportunities for men and women to develop and grow without the need to fight. Furthermore, they argue that

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