What Is Normal?

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What is Normal? Lorber’s Believing is Seeing: Biology as Ideology In her article Believing is Seeing, Judith Lorber writes of the very fine line between gender and sex. She argues that neither sex nor gender is a pure category of classification. They are more so just a combination of the two of them in the social construction of gender statuses. Her article uses sports and technological competence to show how society transforms physiological differences into gendered social bodies. Lorber’s perspective, “goes beyond the accepted feminist views that gender is a cultural overlay that modifies physiological differences” (Lorber 569), and instead, argues that the physical differences in the male and female bodies are what lead people to behave in ways that fit their category. This is what ultimately causes gendered physical transformation. This paper will use sports, technological competence and basic human nature to examine the idea that society is the cause of gendered people. Lorber begins her argument with sports and what they have become in society today. She claims that competitive sports are now a business and as a result the, “overall status of women and men athletes is an economic, political, and ideological issue that has less to do with individual physiological capabilities [and more to do] with their social meaning and who defines and profits from them”(572). This is exhibited in the mass media everyday as male athletes are glorified while female athletes are virtually ignored. Not only that, but “assumptions about men’s and women’s bodies and their capacities are crafted in ways that make unequal access and distribution of rewards acceptable” (573). Lorber explains that in media, female athletes are often purposely depicted as fragile or overly sexual while male athletes’ strength, power, and even viciousness are glorified, therefore creating a double standard of rules and treatment. Society uses the media to uphold the idea that woman are and will...
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