Essay on Gender Norms : Gender And Gender

1073 Words Apr 7th, 2015 5 Pages
Gender norms
In everyday interactions, whether our gender may or may not be questioned, people still “do” gender by subscribing and conforming to the gender roles, identities and attributes of the gender binary (West & Zimmerman, 1987). When people do not conform to the gender binary, as some queer activists and some transgender people may not, gender still affects individuals. In Western societies, a key aspect of masculine and feminine identities (a “proper man” and “proper woman”), is to align with the gender norms and express desires for or have relations only with people of the opposite sex (heterosexuality). However, in some cases, such as nonheterosexual men who are not sexually attracted to women may feel they have “failed” at their masculine identity (Weeks 1986). In fact, those who do not fulfil normative criteria about gender and sexual roles can experience negative ramifications. Non-macho men, single mothers, and women who openly express their sexual desires or have sex outside of marriage, and other sexual identities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) may face marginalisation, violence, discrimination and sometimes legal penalities (Ilkkaracan & Jolly, 2007). Hence, gender is an issue when gender norms can dictate how individuals express their sexuality; what they should or should not do with their bodies, when and whom they are permissible to have sexual relations with, whether they can insist on sexual pleasure for themselves or not and…

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