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Old 06-12-10   #1
Daedralord

 
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Default Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

Gender does not equal physical sex of course. Male and Female. Though it may play a role. I found the Anthropological discussions of Gender very interesting. How it is a socially constructed phenomena and to what extent.

The idea that men have certain roles and women have certain different roles. This differs between cultures and through times and according to these kinds of sociological theories these roles are hardly as natural as usually suggested. In modern societies these values frequently blur and overlap it seems.

Just thought I would get the ball rolling for some discussion on these issues...Share your thoughts on gender and what you think should be the place of male and female.

Here is a brief overview of the kinds of sociological theories involved...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_constructionism

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Thus a claim that gender is socially constructed probably means that gender, as currently understood, is not an inevitable result of biology, but highly contingent on social and historical processes.
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Old 06-12-10   #2
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

Well if you look outside the human species, other species have gender specific roles and are adhered to. I think that with the human species, since we have such a wide variety of knowledge that we have access to, it allows us to blend the gender roles.
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Old 06-13-10   #3
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

I think that sex is biological, but gender is sociological. Different societies have different traditional roles for each sex just as every society has exceptions to those "rules". I feel that sex is nature, but gender is nurture.
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Old 06-13-10   #4
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

Oh yeah.

When people say "men have always been stronger than woman," I'm not so sure. I've heard men and women didn't used to be so different in size and height waaaay back in time.

And, I think nature works with nuture (men being bigger etc) so they may do more mechanical work while women would sew etc.
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Old 06-13-10   #5
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

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Originally Posted by Sirens Song View Post
When people say "men have always been stronger than woman," I'm not so sure. I've heard men and women didn't used to be so different in size and height waaaay back in time.
On the whole, men definitely seem to have a lower tolerance for pain than women. I often joke that if men had to have babies, humanity would be extinct.

I've found myself being tattooed in the same room as a guy before...and the guy is usually having problems and squirming and I'm stone still having a conversation. I usually get asked how I do it lol.
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Old 06-13-10   #6
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

^^^ When people say women are weaker, I think 'wow, have you ever had that time of the month?' or childbirth, which I haven't gone through yet.
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Old 06-13-10   #7
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

Women have a higher tolerance for some kinds of pain than men, but not others. Men have more tolerance to muscular pains and the pains of wounds. But I agree that if men bore children there would be even more single child families.

My kid is in university in Women's Studies so I've had many lectures on social constructionism, and post modernism theories. Some of it makes good sense, but some is rather 'Ivory Tower', full of jargon and divorced from reality. Yes to some extent gender roles are artificial social constructions. Look at the role of women during the late Victorian period, for instance. They had a lot of weird ideas about women that are far different than today. That being so you have to wonder what people will think of the role of women 100 years from now. They might easily think of us as being barbaric.
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Old 06-13-10   #8
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

We had a drunked discussion about this last night in the Byrne house... and the conclusion was yeah, heteronormative gender roles are a construct of a society and its history, or generally its culture. But so what really. Nothing impacts on you more then your culture, community and communally accepted concepts and thats natural for all animals. So saying that its unnatural doesnt work and saying that its not important doesnt work.

Its a good discussion for anyone into early Irish or celtic religions to have. If youre adopting some celtic culture cos of a romantic notion that they were a great race id take a look at the gender roles in early Irish law. Tribal cultures dont tend to mesh with modernity and unless you want women to be completely submissive to men in every aspect unless theyre pregnant, deities included. Then I wouldnt bother being a celt.
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Old 06-13-10   #9
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

I think gender is unequivocally a social construct. Some may point to the Amazons as being exceptions to the rule, but what are exceptions really? It's very common in maintaining one's points of view to see an opposing or outside group as being composed of all the same people. The out-group is comprised of people who are all the same, showing no variants, yet one's in-group is comprised of very different people. This makes it much easier for a person to discriminate or apply broad stereotypes to a given group. Labels can then be slapped on, making it thus easier to apply long-standing axiums about race, ethnicity, culture, or gender.
An outlier or exception to the rule does not make the rule any more valid than a runt would make a genetic line less viable.
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Old 06-13-10   #10
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Default Re: Gender a socially constructed phenomena?

Lots of cultures have their women warriors. Just as brave and courageous as the men. I also like the status of women in societies like Viking society.

I think where a problem comes in for me with socially constructed gender is when it goes against nature. For instance that men should be emotionless and never cry. That old idea.

In truth, I think women are far stronger and more important than the "traditional" roles assigned to them. And I also think that men do have a sensitive and softer side which should not be oppressed. Just an idea...
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