Gender Differences and Their Explanations Essay

Pages: 6 (1919 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality

Gender Differences and Their Explanations

The question of gender difference is one that has been the focus of much debate, confusion and conjecture in our modern societies. The issue of sexual and gender preferences and differences is possibly one of the greatest mysteries of being human. There are many divergent views on the issue of sexual and Gender Differences. These range from the view that gender is religiously determined to genetic views of the natural place of gender and gender roles in nature. A third more modern view is that gender is constructed. As one article states, 'Gender' is the term now widely used to refer to those ways in which a culture reformulates what begins as a fact of nature. The biological sexes are redefined, represented, valued, and channeled into different roles in various culturally dependent ways (the Social Construction of Gender).

In other words, a contemporary view if that is that gender, gender difference and sexual roles are a social fabrication and that there are no real or natural differences between the sexes, except for the obvious physical differences. This was to be one of the central finding from the interviews that were conducted.

Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
for $19.77
The interviews were constructed to provide the broadest and most open-ended responses to the question of gender. The questions were especially intended to allow the interviewees to present their personal views and opinions. They were encouraged to express their views as freely as possible. The questions were also designed to provoke responses and to explore the existential depths of the meaning of gender in their lives.

Essay on Gender Differences and Their Explanations Assignment

The two interviewees were college students who were chosen at random. The only basis for the choice was that one should be female and the other male. The female interviewee was found to be something of a feminist in her approach to the subject. It became clear in the interviews that she had strong views about the social construction of gender. She was of the opinion that sexuality and gender were largely a result of a biased approach to gender differences that emanated mainly from a male-dominated society. Therefore, from this point-of-view I found that the issue of gender became a social and even a political subject. Both respondents were heterosexual.

The male interviewee was more conservative in his views and had a more conventional approach to the question of gender. In general he saw gender differences as having natural or genetic reasons. He was also of the opinion that the differences between men and women were to some extent religiously based and that society has deviated to a certain extent from this God-ordained pattern of difference. What was especially enlightening was that these two respondents had very different views about gender and they often differed in terms of their answers to the questions. These differences and the dialogue that was set up as a result of their responses had the effect of making me question and explore my own views on the subject.

I also learned from the interviews that one of the central and overriding aspects of a study of gender is that our society is conflicted about the meaning and reality of gender differences. I was fortunate in that the two interviewees had very different responses to the questions. The one saw gender and sexual difference as natural and an unquestionable fact that was part of nature's plane. The other saw gender as being essentially a false construction that was created to a great extent by power, the media and male-based dominance of society. It became clear from the answers to the interview questions that these two respondents reflect something of the diversity of opinion on the subject. It also made me aware that there is no real consensus about the meaning of gender in our society or a unified or accepted understanding of what constitutes gender difference.

2. What is gender?

A particular focus of the interviews is that they were constructed to investigate the way that gender is perceived on a very personal level by the respondents. The response to the open-ended question -- what is gender- was enlightening. Both respondents did not address the question in a theoretical way but from their own perceptions and experiences. The male interviewee was of the opinion that gender was the natural difference between the sexes and that it was a reflection of a natural order in life. He supported his view with references to science and biology as well as modern genetics.

However, what was interesting was that he also referred to religion and Biblical texts to support his view that the difference between male and female was in fact ordained by a higher power and that it was essentially something that we should not question. He remarked that, "We cannot question the difference between male and female because it is a natural thing instituted by God." He was however evasive when asked questions relating to the rights of homosexuals -- although he condemned them in theory he was ambivalent about their rights as human beings.

A very different response to the same question was received from the female respondent. She said that although there were obvious physical differences between the genders but that this was only part of the meaning of gender. She was of the opinion that gender was largely socially constructed. When I asked her to expand on this she said the following; "Gender, the difference between male and females is something that is created by the society and the power structures in that society."

2. gender as a social construction

The female interviewee tended to refer most of her answers to the issue of the social construction of gender. She also referred to the way that gender was perceived in different cultures and that that these views of gender often differ in radical ways. However, a central focus of her argument was that gender was still generally constructed by a male rather than a female view of life in most countries in the world. She also emphasized the view that female roles and opportunities in society are determined by the way that the society defines gender. The example that she gave was that women were still were not able to rise to higher positions in commerce and industry as they were perceived as being the "weaker sex."

The male interviewee reacted very differently to questions relating to male and female roles. He was of the opinion that it was natural and 'right' for women to be seen as homemaker and a gender that should be relegated to the home and the task of bringing up the children. . He saw nothing wrong with this as this was the way that "…nature had intended things to be." From his perspective gender roles were linked to different abilities that were applicable and appropriate to each sex and that there was " nothing wrong or biased about this."

The issue of sexual preferences also led to the same division of opinion. For the male respondent homosexuality was not a viable sexual option as it transgressed the natural order of things. When asked whether should be included and accepted in society he however he seemed to be in two minds and felt that they also had rights. The female respondent was also somewhat unclear about homosexuality and tended to see this in terms of both genetic factors and the influence of the media on young people.

3. Stereotypes

When asked the question - What are the main characteristics as you see it of being male and female -- the respondents both referred to common Stereotypes. The male referred to typical masculine qualities such as strength, forcefulness, aggression, adventurousness and rationality, while applying terms such as emotionality and weakness to females.

In response to the same question the female respondent continue with her assertion that these qualities were typical stereotypes that have been generated and invented about gender by a male dominated society to subjugate women. However, she also referred to female stereotypes; such as the view that women are more compassionate than men and more sensitive. She also asserted that in general women were more intelligent than men. . It became clear from the interviews that both the male and female interviewees had certain stereotypical notions of gender.

An area in which there was a certain amount of agreement was in the area of the media. Both interviewees stated that the media was responsible for a distortion of gender. However they saw this distortion for very different perspectives. The woman felt that the media supported the biased male-centered view of gender; whereas the male felt that the media was too lenient on gender issues and that it was responsible for creating confusion about gender roles in the way that modern advertisements were presented. He gave the example of men who wore makeup in certain advertisement and films and who were sexually ambiguous.

4. Conclusion

The interviews and the responses were extremely enlightening. What was very… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

?
Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Buy full paper (6 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

Gender Differences in Attitudes to Alcohol Use Term Paper


Gender Identity Thesis


Heart Disease Gender Differences Term Paper


Altruism and Gender Differences Term Paper


Gender and Family Term Paper


View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Gender Differences and Their Explanations" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Gender Differences and Their Explanations.  (2009, November 2).  Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gender-differences-explanations/1163455

MLA Format

"Gender Differences and Their Explanations."  2 November 2009.  Web.  14 August 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gender-differences-explanations/1163455>.

Chicago Style

"Gender Differences and Their Explanations."  Essaytown.com.  November 2, 2009.  Accessed August 14, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gender-differences-explanations/1163455.