Gender Moments

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"He throws like a girl!" This insult is heard all too often and is harsh to boys because of the perception of girls being weak. We are constantly bombarded with moments emphasizing gender in everyday situations. After training myself to see these differences my eyes have been opened to something I have previously believed "natural" and allowed a new perspective to push through. I see attitudes and behavior now as socially constructed and not usually inherent. In R. W. Connel's book Gender, he defines gender as "the structure of social relationship that centers on the reproductive arena, and the set of practices that bring reproductive distinctions between bodies into social processes" (pg 10). I have found that gender is an institution, a pattern that has attained a social state. Gender is unique in that it is meshed with many other institutions, thus changing gender, it would mean changing much of society. I chose to focus my paper on the different institutions gender is a part of, in education throughout development, relationships, religion, and politics. Although I have only touched the surface, I believe that gender is an institution; an order or pattern that has attained a social state or property. Education is a potent institution used to reinforce gender differences. In our reading we found that children are much more likely to separate themselves at school in gender categories than in their neighborhoods. As Barrie Thorne points out in her book Gender Play, "Apart from age, of all the social categories of the students, gender was the most formally, and informally, highlighted in the course of each school day" (pg 34). I feel that many experiences in elementary school have reinforced my gender outlook. I spent much of my time in elementary school racing the boys and biting my nails to show I wasn't scared to "break a nail" and never wearing a dress. Recess was a fight for me half the time. I didn't like the connotation of being called a "girl."...
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