Gender Portrayal Of Women And Women 's Roles Essay

969 Words Jan 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
West and Zimmerman’s (1987) vision of gender is developed and put forth as contrary to a conception of gender as roles and as an extension of Goffman’s notion of gender display. The authors take gender roles as inadequate as the idea of roles is an idea of “situated identities” (West and Zimmerman 1987:128). Gender, they argue, does not have a specific context such as “student” or “nurse,” but is, rather, cross-situationally located. They also cite Thorne’s (1980) argument which highlights the lack of attention to power dimensions and to inequality that is fostered by conceptualizing gender as men’s and women’s roles (West and Zimmerman 1987:129). Regarding gender as gender display, they see Goffman’s notion of gender display as a conventionalized expression of culturally constructed ideas of essentialised and natural properties as having import. They contend, however, that Goffman’s analysis, which places displays as having a distinct yet consequential significance for an interactional frame, has the effect of moving gender to the periphery of interaction. Moreover, whilst it may be reasonable to posit, as Goffman does, that the performance of gender display is optional, West and Zimmerman (1987:130) argue that it is unreasonable to posit that how others see us is optional also.
The reconceptualization of gender offered by West and Zimmerman (1987) has as central to the analysis, a distinction between sex, sex category and gender. For the authors, sex regards the socially…

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