Gender Roles Sex Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1079 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

But regardless, the idea that one can feel such a tension highlights the constructed nature of sex as 'only two bodies' as well as gender as 'only male and female.' The fact that transvestites, who do not necessarily feel such a conflict, but merely perform in a persona of the opposite gender, can perform gender also shows that one can have a body sexed in a particular fashion and that what appears to be of a certain sex can be altered with entirely socialized constructions as clothing, makeup, and behavior, as well as other accoutrements. (Butler, 1990)

Some people, of course, would allege that they are neither male nor female in their true self, but androgynous. The difficulty of what is 'androgyny,' however, also highlights the difficulty of defining gender. The psychoanalytical theorist Bem has viewed androgyny to mean an individual is "both highly masculine and highly feminine, rather than neither masculine nor feminine," and stated that it is "better to be androgynous in today's society as men and women need to be adaptable, and willing to share all types of jobs, without saying that one job is woman's work or another job is just for men." (Bem, 2004)

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But 'androgyny,' can also be used as term to assume sexual and gender differences as givens and to view deviance from these ideals no one really fulfills as kind of extraordinary behavior, even if Bem views it as positive behavior. Bem says that androgyny should not be seen as an absence of masculinity or femininity, but it is difficult to conceive of what an absence of masculinity or femininity would be, because it is so difficult to conceive of a society absent of gender. If most people are androgynous, why cling to distinctions of gender or sex at all?

TOPIC: Term Paper on Gender Roles Sex Is a Assignment

Interestingly enough as well, even if an individual rates high on Bem's androgyny scale, does not mean that 'he' or 'she' will view his or her true nature as androgynous. Because of the social constructions of gender, a woman may view her 'handiness' around the house, not as a transcendence of labor norms that limit women's strength, but merely part of housecleaning duties. A man who is a professor might view his solicitous and caring attention to his students during office hours not as feminine care giving, but as an extension of his masculine role as a professor and a highly competent professor.

Gender is such a permeating and all-purveying ideology, that one can bend it to ideologically suit one's psychological needs to conform to the two stereotypes of male and female as they exist in one's culture quite easily. Even when gender stereotypes shift from age to age and culture to culture, one of the few unifying characteristics of the socially constructed roles and assumptions that attach themselves to sexualized bodies seem to be their durability and perceived 'normalcy' for all time, even in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary.

Works Cited

Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble, Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge, Chapman & Hall.

Strong, Brian, et.al. (2003) Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America. Fifth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill.

Bem Androgyny Test. (2004) Retrieved on October 6, 2004 at http://www.velocity.net/~galen/androgyn.html. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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