Difference Between Sex and Gender

Topics: Gender, Male, Sex organ Pages: 4 (1134 words) Published: January 29, 2012
Amongst the many popular misconceptions in today’s society, the in depth differences between sex and gender has grown to be one that is discussed extensively by psychologists and sociologists too. Sex in itself is a more scientific term that explains the innate physical attributes of an individual. On the other hand gender carries a more social tone. Meaning, that it refers to the different clothing, activities, career choices, and positions people hold in society. This essay aims to highlight some of the key differential aspects between these two concepts; while the term sex has been well defined over the years, we learn how the topic of gender managed to rake up an in-depth study as well as gain its own significance in society.

To begin with, sex is the word given to describe the obvious physical and biological characteristics that set the difference between males and females. These characteristics consist of voice, facial hair, body structure, genital organs etc. There are many bodily functions which also differentiate women from men; for example, the ability to menstruate or to bear children is solely possible by women only. “Sex marks the distinction between women and men as a result of their biological, physical and genetic differences.” -(Esplen, E., Jolly, S. 2006) Gender is the word given to describe the socially constructed behaviours, roles and attributes which are set by society through the different channels which may consist of family, educational institutes and workplaces. These gender roles and gender stereotypes are given to males and females by society depending on their values and customs and social beliefs. (Mikkola, 2011) “Gender roles are set by convention and other social, economic, political and cultural forces” -(Esplen, E., Jolly, S. 2006). In short, sex distinguishes male from female and gender - masculinity from femininity.

Since our main area of discussion is the emergence of gender as a prominent topic in the...
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