What Makes Her a Woman? What Makes Him a Man?

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Sociology Pages: 2 (601 words) Published: February 24, 2011
What Makes Her a Woman? What Makes Him a Man?
Lorber argues that gender is a process which everyone is “doing”, without thinking, starting from birth. We are all under gender markers which differentiate the treatments we are under, and we learn the way to respond. If sex is an automatic flow from reproductive organs, gender is a reality of socialization. Lorber views gender as a social institution in which human beings organize their lives and roles by demonstrated achievement. There is gender inequality and men often have a higher social ranking. The society holds respective norms and expectations towards masculinity and femininity. Meanwhile, Hochschild depicts cases of how modern men and women strike a balance between work and family, under the pressure from the society. Hochschild reveals women who struggle to provide quality time to her family while working long hours; and men’s attitude towards paternity leave. In this world of hectic time frame and blurred gender division of labour, it is increasingly difficult for both genders to satisfy their expanded roles.

The major concepts which are important to Lorber’s key arguments include Gender Ranking and Gender Stratification. To begin with, the ranking of one gender over another is a subconscious and involuntary obligation that affects every member of the society. For instance, a woman could develop “learned helplessness” in the process she is civilized and nurtured. The more she is treated as a woman, the more woman she becomes, that is, accepting her junior and inferior ranking compared to men. The other concept is Gender Stratification. Gender decides the hierarchical structure of the society since men are then perceived to do the “valued” job and monopolize social statuses, while women are child-bearer whose whatever tasks done are considered as “easy”. These give rise to gender inequality and conflicts when a society member deviates from these norms. As proved in Hochschild’s case studies, men...
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