“the Social Construction of Gender”

Topics: Gender, Fairy tale, Male Pages: 4 (1320 words) Published: April 18, 2011
Gender is ascribed meaning something people are not born as or with, while sex is prescribed meaning something someone is born as or with such as race. Society assigns gender to each person and those children who are born with an ambiguous genitalia are often assigned a gender based on what doctors may think is easier to make, boy or girl. Why is it so wrong to leave these children as they are? Why must a gender be assigned to these children immediately? We are constantly “doing gender” even when we are not aware. When people are born we assign roles, like buying pink clothes, dolls, and teapots for girls, and blue clothes, monsters, and cars for boys. Even when born we are given gender based names like Brittney or William but names like Tracey or Kelly are unisex. By generalizing names the girls usually have nice soft or innocent sounding names and the names might mean something pure, for boys names are masculine, tough and strong. This is “doing gender”. Sex is prescribed because sex is not something that is chosen or controlled it is determined by the genitals. Race, genes, and sex are all ascribed. Gender is so pervasive that in our society we assume it is bred into our genes. Yet gender is a societal human production that depends on everyone constantly “doing gender”. Signals and gender signs are so ever-present that we usually fail to note them unless they are missing or indefinite. People treat one gender differently from the other and children respond to the different treatment by feeling and behaving differently. Sex does not come into play again until

puberty, but by that time desires, sexual feelings, and customs have been shaped by gendered norms and expectations. “Sleeping Beauty” and “Legally Blonde” are great examples of how gender is socialized. The article “Fairy Tales and Genders” and “Sleeping Beauty” describes gender biased attitudes. In the film “Legally Blonde”, Reese Witherspoon “does gender” by wearing light colored pink clothing with...
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