The main feminist motivation for making this distinction was to counter biological determinism or the view that biology is destiny. A typical example of a biological determinist view is that of Geddes and Thompson who, inargued that social, psychological and behavioural traits were caused by metabolic state. It would be inappropriate to grant women political rights, as they are simply not suited to have those rights; it would also be futile since women due to their biology would simply not be interested in exercising their political rights. To counter this kind of biological determinism, feminists have argued that behavioural and psychological differences have social, rather than biological, causes.
The main feminist motivation for making this distinction was to counter biological determinism or the view that biology is destiny. A typical example of a biological determinist view is that of Geddes and Thompson who, inargued that social, psychological and behavioural traits were caused by metabolic state.
It would be inappropriate to grant women political rights, as they are simply not suited to have those rights; it would also be futile since women due to their biology would simply not be interested in exercising their political rights.
To counter this kind of biological determinism, feminists have argued that behavioural and psychological differences have social, rather than biological, causes.
Commonly observed behavioural traits associated with women and men, then, are not caused by anatomy or chromosomes. Rather, they are culturally learned or acquired. Although biological determinism of the kind endorsed by Geddes and Thompson is nowadays uncommon, the idea that behavioural and psychological differences between women and men have biological causes has not disappeared.
In the s, sex differences were used to argue that women should not become airline pilots since they will be hormonally unstable once a month and, therefore, unable to perform their duties as well as men Rogers More recently, differences in male and female brains have been said to explain behavioural differences; in particular, the anatomy of corpus callosum, a bundle of nerves that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres, is thought to be responsible for various psychological and behavioural differences.
Anne Fausto-Sterling has questioned the idea that differences in corpus callosums cause behavioural and psychological differences. First, the corpus callosum is a highly variable piece of anatomy; as a result, generalisations about its size, shape and thickness that hold for women and men in general should be viewed with caution.
Second, differences in adult human corpus callosums are not found in infants; this may suggest that physical brain differences actually develop as responses to differential treatment. Fausto-Sterling b, chapter 5. Psychologists writing on transsexuality were the first to employ gender terminology in this sense.
Along with psychologists like Stoller, feminists found it useful to distinguish sex and gender. This enabled them to argue that many differences between women and men were socially produced and, therefore, changeable.
That is, according to this interpretation, all humans are either male or female; their sex is fixed. But cultures interpret sexed bodies differently and project different norms on those bodies thereby creating feminine and masculine persons.
Distinguishing sex and gender, however, also enables the two to come apart: So, this group of feminist arguments against biological determinism suggested that gender differences result from cultural practices and social expectations.
Nowadays it is more common to denote this by saying that gender is socially constructed. But which social practices construct gender, what social construction is and what being of a certain gender amounts to are major feminist controversies. There is no consensus on these issues.
See the entry on intersections between analytic and continental feminism for more on different ways to understand gender. Masculinity and femininity are thought to be products of nurture or how individuals are brought up.
They are causally constructed Haslanger And the mechanism of construction is social learning. That is, feminists should aim to diminish the influence of socialisation. Social learning theorists hold that a huge array of different influences socialise us as women and men.
This being the case, it is extremely difficult to counter gender socialisation. For instance, parents often unconsciously treat their female and male children differently.
When parents have been asked to describe their hour old infants, they have done so using gender-stereotypic language: Some socialisation is more overt: This, again, makes countering gender socialisation difficult. According to Renzetti and Curran, parents labelled the overwhelming majority of gender-neutral characters masculine whereas those characters that fit feminine gender stereotypes for instance, by being helpful and caring were labelled feminine Socialising influences like these are still thought to send implicit messages regarding how females and males should act and are expected to act shaping us into feminine and masculine persons.
Instead, she holds that gender is a matter of having feminine and masculine personalities that develop in early infancy as responses to prevalent parenting practices. In particular, gendered personalities develop because women tend to be the primary caretakers of small children.
Chodorow holds that because mothers or other prominent females tend to care for infants, infant male and female psychic development differs. This unconsciously prompts the mother to encourage her son to psychologically individuate himself from her thereby prompting him to develop well defined and rigid ego boundaries.
However, the mother unconsciously discourages the daughter from individuating herself thereby prompting the daughter to develop flexible and blurry ego boundaries. Childhood gender socialisation further builds on and reinforces these unconsciously developed ego boundaries finally producing feminine and masculine persons— Gendered personalities are supposedly manifested in common gender stereotypical behaviour.
Women are stereotypically more emotional and emotionally dependent upon others around them, supposedly finding it difficult to distinguish their own interests and wellbeing from the interests and wellbeing of their children and partners.structure) for all women, and which believe that the privileged reason car- ried by particular social groups, such as the proletariat or women (Haraway , Sarup ), is the harbinger of liberation.
Essay: Gender Roles in Education The issue of gender inequality is one which has been publicly reverberating through society for decades. The problem of inequality in employment being one of the most pressing issues today.
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Sociology Essay Writing Service Free Essays More Sociology Essays Examples of Our Work Sociology Dissertation Examples. Essays; We can help with your essay Find out more. 6. Which of the following is the best example of a gender stereotype?
Women are typically shorter than men. Men do not live as long as women. Women tend to be overly emotional, while men tend to be level-headed.
Men hold more . The sociology of gender is one of the largest subfields within sociology and features theory and research that critically interrogates the social construction of gender, how gender interacts with other social forces in society, and how gender relates to social structure overall.