Essay about Gender as a Social Construct

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According to Simone de Beauvoir, “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman” because people (not exclusively women) absorb certain habits and attitudes that is the best reflection of their sex. Due to the fact that gender is not a quality of human’s innate traits and desires, but rather, society’s expectations, academics use the word ‘gender’ as a verb rather than a noun. Hence, to do gender or gendering, is to adjust one’s behaviors in order to fulfill social norms. As a result of gendering, gender has transformed into an institution that is heavily linked to every social aspect of everyday life.

Language and communication play a critical role in constructing gender and it is not limited to the English language. Within a sample of ten different languages, ranging from French, Arabic, English and more, male-specific nouns comprised of sixty-five percent while the remaining thirty-five percent were female-specific nouns. Feminists view language as a form of patriarchy and believe language is essential for men maintaining power. Those in power (men) have the ability to explicitly express their views, however, if those without power (women) express the same value in equal manner, they are considered to be ‘rude’, ‘abrasive’ and ‘masculine’. Given that the dominant culture of male supremacy over women have been indoctrinated by society, women must conform to the mainstream values of
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