Term Paper: Gendered Society: Gender and Sociology Biological Arguments

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Gendered Society: Gender and Sociology

Biological Arguments Gender

Biological arguments supporting gender suggest that gender is a Biological or inborn quality that people are born with. Many groups including homosexuals support the idea that people are born into a particular gender. The primary argument supporting biological theories is that men and woman are different anatomically or physically and therefore exhibit different traits or tendencies that comprise gender (Kimmel, 2000). Further, biological theorists argue that biology provides man the basic components or "materials" needed to create their identity based on physiological components in the body (Kimmel, 45).

Kimmel points out that biological theorists suggest that biology provides mankind the "blocks" or foundation they need to build create and form their identity through experiences (Kimmel, 46). According to biological theory sex is "preprogrammed" into man's biology thus inborn or biological differences exist in man's behavior and activity (Kimmel, 47).

Psychological Theories of Gender

Psychological theories suggest that gender differences result from psychological or mental differences rather than biological ones. Psychological theorists tend to suggest or argue that it is individual person's interpretations of life and one's concepts or interpretation of what makes someone masculine or feminine that creates gender differences (Kimmel, 2000).

Kimmel cites Freud as a leading psychological theorist suggesting that gender is something that people shape and form by "interacting" with their environment and with other people (Kimmel, 67). Psychological theorists would also argue that people undergo changes psychologically over time that can alter their associated gender identity.

Cross Cultural Perspective and Gender Identity

The cross-cultural perspective of gender theory suggests that the psychological and biological theories are both defunct at least that is what Kimmel suggests. Kimmel cites Gilbert Herdt to prove this theory by describing rituals of various cultures showing how people can learn gender tendencies such as homosexuality and then revert to another gender identity once they are grown adults (Kimmel, 62).

Kimmel further suggests that much evidence exists supporting cross cultural differences in customs and sexuality practices that can impact gender identity more so than biological or psychological constructs of gender theory (Kimmel, 2000). The biological model is negated as Herdt shows that cultural rather than biological tendencies can influence one's gender identity. Psychological theories are not capable of adequately explaining how cognitive and other mental interpretations differ across cultural boundaries, hence psychological theories are also negated (Kimmel, 2000).

Socially Constructed Gender Theories and Gender as a Social Institution

Kimmel supports the notion that gender is a social institution, or something that is socially constructed. He cites evidence from multiple researchers including Mead who noted differing cultures in New Guinea influenced tribal members interpretation of their role as masculine and feminine (Kimmel, 2000). Other theorists suggest that mankind can influence one another to behave in a gender specific manner based on socially constructed factors rather than biological or psychological imperatives. The socially constructed theory suggests that mankind is capable of creating their own gender identity and reality by identifying with certain cultural norms, values and beliefs (Kimmel, 2000).

Kimmel suggests that gender is not something that someone is born with but rather is a social institution that people create as a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Gendered Society: Gender and Sociology Biological Arguments.  (2005, November 2).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gendered-society-gender-sociology/1030

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"Gendered Society: Gender and Sociology Biological Arguments."  Essaytown.com.  November 2, 2005.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
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