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Gender As A Social Contract

  • Date Submitted: 10/07/2012 02:03 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 29.9 
  • Words: 263
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Gender is the term used to describe socially constructed categories based on sex (sex refers to a biological distinction). Gender is a social construct. It is through concepts of gender that society transforms female and male human beings into social women and men, assigning them roles and giving them cultural value. Social norms construct and reinforce attitudes about women’s and men’s proper work roles, their participation in family and community life, modes of dress and demeanor and their appropriate styles of verbal behavior. Deborah Tannen, an American socio-linguist, says that “gender is the category that will not go away. We create masculinity and femininity in our ways of behaving, although while we believe that we are simply acting “naturally”. But our sense what is natural is different for women and men. And what we regard as naturally male and female is based on our stereotypes”.
Gender stereotypes are structured beliefs about the socio-psycological characteristics of women and men. People believe that men and women are substantially different on a number of characteristics. Men are considered to be higher in self-interest, women are considered to be higher in a concern for others. Men are forceful, adventurous, aggressive, self-confident, rude, independent, ambitious, active, dominant, and inventive. Women are affectionate, emotional, gentle, submissive, weak, appreciative, fickle, sensitive, nagging, and sentimental. Besides people prefer a boy as their firstborn child; people downgrade women’s achievements; people have negative opinions about women’s work capacities; women have been represented negatively in many areas, and women’s stereotypical characteristics are not as highly regarded as men’s are.

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