Examining gender as a social structure

Topics: Sociology, Gender, Social stratification Pages: 3 (473 words) Published: November 16, 2014


Sociology of Gender

Examining gender as a social structure and applying gender roles poses many challenges when explaining the phenomenon of social stratification. Barbara J. Riseman explores many expanses of gender and theories’ arguing the issues and importances a social structure has on gender outcomes. Riseman discusses the four distinct social scientific theoretical traditions that explain gender: individual sex, whether it be social or biological; social structure creates gendered behavior; social interaction and accountability to others’ expectations; and how gender creates inequality and acts on gender as a socially constructed stratification system. Gender is a major slice of every social process in everyday life within every social situation and I imagine that gender accounts for inequalities society has on the opposite sex and it’s that inequality that is dependent on gender within social hierarchy. One view suggests that as long as there are two genders and those genders see themselves anatomically different, women will be unable to have the same life opportunities as men. Flaws can be found in this particular theory, one of which is if both genders experience indistinguishable fundamental conditions and role expectations then recognizable gender differences would disappear. Giddens’s structuration theory explains how social structure shape individuals and at the same time individuals shape social structure. The research performed to help understand gender equality and gender as a social structure is complex and has many variables. It is this complexity that makes it so difficult to determine the gender specificities that account for the inequality in socially constructed stratification systems and within these systems the social hierarchy. Individuals determine change within these social systems and therefore the individuals who enact change govern them. Individual identities are also molded in...
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