Gender Ideologies, Youth Sports, And The Production Of Soft Essentialism

836 Words Oct 7th, 2016 4 Pages
Gender in the Contemporary U.S.
The social construction of gender has undoubtedly been incredibly pervasive in the lives of people around the world. As a social construction used to classify and define people superficially, gender has invaded American history, politics, and thought since the beginning of the United States’s birth. Even in the Declaration of Independence, men are the only people considered when addressing equal. This divide between the binary genders as naturally and inherently different gave way to the creation of gender ideologies. A gender ideology is a set of beliefs and expectations that is not explicitly instructed and places social stigmas and preconceived notions on a person based on their gender. Gender ideologies are also dynamic in that they are constantly changing and fluctuating to fit the time. Today, gender ideologies are still ingrained in American culture and significantly influence society and public thought. In his sociology article, “Gender Ideologies, Youth Sports, and the Production of Soft Essentialism,” Michael Messner traces the different gender ideologies in U.S. history. He argues that the most widespread gender ideology in the contemporary U.S. is one he calls “soft essentialism.” This ideology is defined as hegemonic, essentialist beliefs that champion the fairly new “liberal feminist ideal of individual choice for girls and women” but still enforce historic expectations of masculinity (Messner, 151). Examples provided…

Related Documents