Western Gender Recognition

921 Words 4 Pages
The recognition of sex and gender is very different cross-culturally. Although the Western way of gender recognition is getting common around the world, many of non-western society still have other ways of gender recognition. Sometimes, the different recognition makes it difficult to understand gender relations in other cultures. This paper will analyse that how Western gender recognition has influence on understanding other societies’ gender relations by using case studies about Gerai and North American Indians.
Gerai is one of the Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan Barat. They have the concept of men and women, but it does not stem from the difference in their body, but their ability to perform certain kind of job in the rice field. Basically,
…show more content…
Because Western society. There are two factors which make it hard to understand other two non-Western cultures: the difference in how to determine gender and sex, and the status of each gender. First of all, how to define gender and sex is very different between Westerns society and the others. While Western society highlights their body, especially their genitalia, Gerai and North American Indian societies stress their role in their work rather than their body differences. According to Helliwell’s study which researched the relationship between recognition of gender and rape, for Western women, rape is one of the scariest incidents because they see a penis as “having the capacity to defile, to humiliate, to subjugate” them. In contrast, for Gerai women, “a penis is “only a penis”: neither a marker of dimorphism between men and women in general nor, in its essence, any different from a vagina [Helliwell, 2000].” The fear of Western women comes from the difference of their body, and the common sense that rape is a symbol of masculine. On the other hand, Gerai women recognise men’s body, in particular genitalia, as same as their body, so they are not afraid of being rape. They focus on sameness on their body. Second, the cultural status of each gender is also different. In Western society, it has been regarded that men is dominant and women is submissive, because of the patriarchal social form, and the difference of their body. Also it has been thought that patriarchal form and the body difference are universal model, so the gender hierarchy is also universal standard. However, like Gerai and North American Indian society, there are some cultures which have no power relationship between men and women. In fact, in Gerai society, men have a little bit higher position than women, but it is determined by not body difference but the capacity of work.

Related Documents