Is biology destiny? While biology does determine the group a person is segregated into, society has the ultimate power to establish the way we are perceived as ‘gender’. By comparing the views of social biologists and social constructionists, I intend to put forth the idea that biology is in fact, not destiny. Sex is a biological term where as gender is a cultural one. Socio- biologists argue that biology, meaning our genetic make up; shapes the behavior of the individual and in turn also determines social in-equalities such as gender inequalities present in society.
To conclude the essay, statistics and studies will be discussed with relation to gender role socialisation. Gender “is a social construction organised around biological sex. Individuals are born male or female, but they acquire over time a gender identity that is what it means to be male or female.” (Gregson et al., 1997. p.53). This explanation gives us the idea of two different relationships. That is the relationship between the two genders, and the relationship between gender and society.
A Cross Cultural Examination of Sexuality: Modern vs Underdeveloped Societies Psychologists have highlighted a number of divisions regarding sexuality across a variety of cultures. The word ‘sex’ has different meanings. Sex refers to the biological and physiological differences between men and women, the most obvious being differences in their reproductive systems. Every culture controls the sexuality of its members to a certain extent, by embedding it in the institutions of family, religion and law. According to Potts & Short (1999) the core social arrangement within the institution of the family is the marital relationship.
Sex, Gender and Gender roles redefined In her book The Second Sex, Simone De Beauvoir states, “One is not born, but, rather becomes a woman”. This statement highlights the difference between sex and gender. While sex is a biological term, gender is a social and cultural construct. An individual is born into the categories of male or female but it is the very task of ‘accomplishing gender’ that determines the social identity of the person. Women are under a constant pressure to adhere to roles that are specific to their gender and so are men.
While sex refers to the biological differences between male and female, gender refers to the socially constructed and variable categories of masculine and feminine. Men are the world leaders, policemen, and private security and military, women are the housekeepers and child caregivers. They are lower paid and work as repairers of the consequences of violence as nurses, psychologists and social workers. The United Nations regard gender equality as a human right. They point out that: empowering women is also an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty.
There is such a vast range of genital formations that “if you look at all the variables in nature that are said to determine human ‘sex,’ you can’t possibly find one that will unequivocally split the species into two” (Stoltenberg 24). So if there is such a vast range of genital formations, to assign just two gender roles for every single person that is born seems downright silly. One can have an enlarged clitoris or a microphallis, and society feels the pressure to fit this person neatly into either the “male” or “female” categorization. But, it is society itself that makes the qualifications of what this categorization means. You have a penis, you’re a male- grow up to be strong and dominating!
That is, gender is widely perceived as simply being a natural occurrence that happens at birth. Yet, studying gender as a social-economic driver rather than just a natural phenomenon, allows us to understand that there is more to gender than simply human nature. In reality gender is continually been re-created through” human interactions, and is the texture and order of social life”. In other words, we identify the differences between male and a female based on the behavior each one of these respective statuses constitutes in our social life. Personally, I define gender as a human production that depends on everyone constantly “doing” gender.
“THE GENDERED NOTIONS OF EMOTION” To begin with , it is neccessary to differ the term gender from sex. Sex refers to our anatomical and genetical identity as being a female or male that is inscribed in our genes, whereas gender is an outcome of process of socialization combined with the effect of the genes. Our gender becomes evident in the way we dress, we make our hair,we walk and speak. The ways we express and experience emotions also seems to be dependent on our gender. As the way of walking or speaking diverges in male and female, the expression and experience of emotions in different genders also diverges.
Gender development starts at conception, it is from this point forward that one is treated as male or female (WebMD, 2011) . At conception a female embryo has the XX chromosome while the male embryo has the XY chromosome. Those who suffer with a gender identity crisis may possess either the XX or XY chromosome but in fact identify with as well as exhibit traits of the opposite sex. One's sense of gender and one's anatomical sex are two distinct elements: each developing at different times in different parts of the body (Kaneshiro, 2011) . According to Nevid (2008) in his book, Psychology: Concepts and Applications, the biggest argument related to gender identity is the nature versus nurture, the role played by hereditary and environmental factors as well as their relationship to gender identity.
Cross Cultural Studies of Gender Roles Cross cultural studies are important as they help us to explain the nature / nurture debate. The nature side of the gender argument focuses on the biological explanations of gender roles stating that gender differences result from innate differences between males and females. The nurture side of the argument, on the other hand, focuses on social explanations stating gender differences result from our life experiences as we grow up. There is also an interactionist approach which is often more realistic as it takes both of these factors into account stating that gender differences are caused by innate tendencies which are modified by environmental factors, e.g. The biosocial theory.