Sex and Gender, a Sociological Perspective

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1.Sociologists reject the idea that behavioural differences between men and women are biologically determined. Outline the key grounds for this rejection and discuss what this means for a sociological understanding of gender. First of all I am going to begin with defining sex and gender. Sex in a sociological perspective is defined as the biological and physiological differences between men and women which are contrasted in terms of reproductive function(Abercrombie et al 2000 :313). On the other hand gender is sociologically conceived as the social roles allocated to men and women in society that is to say gender is learned not innate. However previously it was believed that sex determined gender thus the differences between men and women’s roles and occupations were seen as ‘natural’ .This discourse explained away disparities in power and status via ‘natural’ imperatives. We have however come to learn that society has a huge influence on how people behave due to its expectations. When a baby is born , if it is a girl, the parents and relatives will buy her pink clothes and if it is a girl, they buy him blue clothes. According to society, pink is soft and feminine which is how girls are expected to behave , blue is bold and masculine which is how boys are expected to behave. Gender differences between male and female are based on but are not the same thing as ,biological differences between the sexes. The social learning theory tells us that “children gradually internalise the social norms and expectations which are seen to correspond with their sex”( Giddens 2001 Page 108) Gender is rooted in societies’ beliefs that the sexes are naturally distinct and opposed social beings. (Amott and Matthaeai 1991:13) In England, girls used to be taught how to be ladies, from a very young age. Ladies don’t talk very loudly, ladies do not physically fight and ladies eat in a very mannered way. Boys are then brought up believing that a man does not cry and he has to be strong no matter what he is going through, while girls may fight with words, boys throw a few punches in a physical fight and there is even a way in which boys are expected to fight that is to say they don’t pull each others hair or bite, they punch and kick instead. However de, middle cl we study and talk about is the white, middle class male. It may have been learnt that men go to work and women stay at home to care of the children but up until not so long ago, this was not the case for most Irish families where the woman went to work and the man stayed at home and took care of the kids. This however is not the case anymore, both parents go to work while a member of the extended family to take care of the children. It can also be argued that in order to truly understand gender, a white middle class woman of tng it for example, a white middle class woman of today is very different to a Ugandan poor class woman. We need to understand that culture also influences gender from the fact that it influences social roles. Therefore, people from different background are going to have different expectations and the influence of gender is going to be different. In modern of in poor parts as they are in middle east asia of in poor parts as they are in middle east asia of in poor parts of Africa, where women have zero rights and are not even allowed to go to school. It could be argued that the development of a country has a lot to do with society beliefs and norms. That is to say the richer the country, the more educating people are and the less discriminating they are. All these social expectations however have a huge amount of pressure on the subjects for example men must be under so much pressure to meet society’s expectations, it is not easy to always be expected to be strong and masculine and for women it does get very infuriating to not be expected to do certain things just because of your sex. This has a large impact when it comes to jobs, most employers will normally...
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