Gender Essay

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Everybody has a gender identity, whether it is acknowledged or not. According to many of the older generations, one’s gender identity should set in stone and should only consist of a certain number of roles. This paper, however, will argue that in society today, and more specifically in South Africa, this is not the case as gender identities are in transition. This transition is owing to a number of factors such as societal influences of patriarchy, feminism, socialisation and essentialism. Individuals often feel it necessary to conform to these societal influences as it is easier to identify with an entire society than it is to identify as an individual who is not moving with the crowd. This paper aims to provide a greater understanding of the various concepts that influence one’s gender identity and the transition it has caused. With all of that in mind, this paper will also aim to provide an accurate prediction of what gender identities will look like in South Africa in the next ten to twenty years’ time. In order to understand the progression that South Africa is making within gender identities it is very important to mention the factor that is believed to have led these gender identity transitions. A modification of the Constitution of Bill of Rights was done in 1996. Chapter 2 of the Constitution of Bill of Rights states that no unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender may be made towards any individual (Constitutional Assembly, 1996: 7). Gender is the psychological, behavioural and cultural characteristics and traits that are generally associated with a specific sex. Essentialists are in favour of this view as they suggest that there is only one set of characteristics that associate with specific identities (Woodward, 2000: 9). Gender is a socially constructed identity and this leads one to take into consideration the notion of socialisation. According to Macionis and Plummer (2008), socialisation is: a lifelong social experience by which...
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