Essay on Gender Inequality : Gender And Gender

2331 Words Aug 16th, 2016 null Page
2.2 The social constructedness of gender

As pointed out before, gender is at the centre of feminist IR scholarship. Gender is also a term with varying definitions especially when considering positivist and postpositivist studies. A positivist approach considers gender as the natural division between men and women, focusing on biological differences. On the other hand, a postpositivist approach recognises gender as socially constructed, meaning that gender is learned, disseminated and created through interactions within a society to maintain the dominance of the male.
Peterson and Runyan (1999) point out that gender is not biological, but socially constructed as a way to establish our status as real men and women. The authors emphasise that gender is a source of power and unlike sex, it refers to social behaviours and expectations towards femininity and masculinity. They also indicate that gender normalises and naturalises stereotypes ‘ranging from our naming, clothing, speaking, working, entertainment, sports, religion, knowledge, militarisation and governance’ (Peterson and Runyan, 2010, p68). In this way, we can say that the world is gendered, and gender imbalances are expressed and hidden in our everyday’s life.
The main issue concerning gender is the fact that it does not only represent a binary opposition, but a hierarchical relation, in which greater value is attributed to what is masculine and lesser to the feminine (Peterson and Runyan, 2010). ‘Men and masculinity…

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