Theories Of Gender Identity

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1. In interpreting gender, our ability to identify gender contributes and is crucial to if and how we chose to interact with these people. There are signals that we perceive when determining if a person is a man or female; we put them in these categories to make sense of what type of person they are. Sut Jhally claims that when we become confused about our signals in identifying if a person is a man or a woman, than it is impossible to interact with that person. This perhaps may be because we feel uncertain of how to approach them as an individual and communicate with them on the “same level” as some would say. Sut also says that these people in return challenge our cultural system that is reliant on these underlying identifications. When …show more content…
Goffman says that “there is nothing natural about gender identity” and that our identity of gender is something that we create ourselves. We grow “into our own skin” as we realize what makes each of us unique as we also learn how to make sense of the world through ourselves. Society can’t define our “true” gender at birth according to Goffman, as we are born into a certain sex, not gender. Goffman determines that finding our gender is rather a journey and process that we learn through discovering ourselves and our understandings of what is “appropriate” to us. Furthermore, society limits some of these ideas because it restricts what “rules” are acceptable and also restricts the image of how to perceive the identities and genders of people. However, people have to separate the meanings of sex and gender in order for these categories to be broader to accommodate for people who don’t necessarily fit into this cookie cutter image of what a person is defined as. According to Goffman, sex refers to the biological features that we acquire from birth, while our gender is influenced by cultural aspects that we grow up …show more content…
Although this can create some misunderstandings because in these categories, there is an “ideal” image of what a man or women is supposed to look and act like. This leads to a misrepresentation of males and females in which there are many subdivisions of the appearances and personalities of females and males. Furthermore, Jhally explains what Goffman called “Gender Display”. As Sut describes, this is when people perform this unnatural process by sending signals to others so that they will understand how they want to be by society and others. In addition, people use universal “codes” (as Goffman called them) that are understood by everyone and in return can create larger ideas among individuals. These “codes’ are also used to describe the ways of behavior in the world. There are also other ways in which we can communicate some behaviors such as the way we walk or certain behaviors that are so routine to individuals, that they don’t even recognize they are performing in such a way. One of the reasons why citizens and people in society perceive things similarly is because their perception is influenced and “run” by culture and societies

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