Gender Is A Social Construction Essay

1697 Words Dec 10th, 2015 7 Pages
Gender is a social construction that reaches from the individual to the institutional level of society. The term, gender, refers to masculinity and femininity, which are traits and characteristics that are associated with being male-bodied or female-bodied. Gender differentiates itself from sex because sex is based on the biological primary and secondary characteristics, like reproductive organs. Gender, however, is a performance that forms the gender norms and is reinforced through social interactions. West and Zimmerman’s “Doing Gender” explains gender as being learned at an early age, yet it is understood as being an internal institution and not questioned as a social construct. The gender binary regulates society by establishing two very distinct different genders (West & Zimmerman). Therefore, men and women continue to strengthen the gender binary through their everyday actions, especially in policing those that break from the gender norm. When an individual does not meet the standards of performing gender, the people around them notice and act differently toward them. In Betsy Lucal’s “What It Means to Be Gendered Me,” she describes her life and her interactions with others as a female-bodied person, who does not perform femininity. Her experiences and discrimination that she faces from men and women are an example of how gender is a construct that directly affects the individual. Lucal is as capable as any other person to perform gender, but she choses to perform…

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