Understanding gender

Gender is often seen purely as a binary category distinction between male and female- i.e.: what sex you are. But it is also regarded by some as a social construction of meaning which has effects to do with power. This means that gender studies can be applied to many different contexts and persons- it is not only about discrimination against women, but also discrimination against races, cultures, sexual orientations, religions etc.

3 Responses to “Understanding gender”

  1. 1 notedscholar February 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    It is most certainly not a social construct. The differences are real (in fact, are frequently reviewed on my blog).

    It’s more a matter of semantics. Anthropology people just use the word that way.


  2. 2 theoldmistressesandme February 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you for your comment, it’s always good to hear someone else’s point of view, especially as a large part about education (I think)ought to be about encouraging us challenge modes of thinking.

    However, I can’t say I agree with some of the views stated on your blog about the “fairer sex” (referring to the sex rather than the gender, as I think this is what you are discussing), but then I am a woman so from your point of view it is more likely to be my prerogative than yours to wish my sex to be treated as equals to men.

  3. 3 Liz February 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Hey Anne,

    been reading some gender theory today – Judith Butler in “Gender Troubles” poses the idea of gender as performance and breaks down the idea of gender (ie there is no binary opposition) “as a stategy of survial within complusary systems, gender is a perfomance with clearly punitive consequences” Butler argues that this mean that there is in fact no “true gender” or no internal gender: “that gender reality is created through sustained social performance means that they very notions of an essential sex and a true or abiding maculinity or femininity are also constituted as a part of the stategy that conceals gender’s performative character and performative possibilities for proliferating gender configurations outside the restricting frames of masculist domination” hmmm thoughts? I think it’s interesting how she links the idea of gender and the act of gender as processes that cannot exist without the other…
    anyway thought I’d share the fruits of my day 🙂


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