"Gender in Society" the difference between genger and sex. brief overview and personal perspective

Essay by lazymeUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2002

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The word "gender" refers to the socially constructed knowledge, values, and practices connected to sex based differences. People are born female or male, but learn to be girls and boys, who grow into men and women. Males are supposed to be masculine, strong, and macho, while females are attributed to be feminine, fragile, and nurturing. Family reinforcement and traditional society expectations create gender roles; they are not innate features. Gender is constructed based on everything from appearance and dress, to relations with family and friends, to culture and sexuality (Appelbaum, 2001).

The home "gender factory" reproduces society's traditional gender roles through parental reinforcement (Appelbaum and Chambliss, 223). From birth to death, males and females are constructed to act according to society's mold of gender identity. Parents describe their newborns with adjectives pertaining to traditional gender roles. Newborn girls are described as "tiny, soft, delicate, and fine-featured," while newborn boys are described as "strong, alert, and well coordinate" (223).

Even during breast-feeding gender divides, males are treated rougher and given more milk while females are treated delicately and given less. The Baby X Studies found that when a baby is dressed in blue, it automatically receives masculine attributions by parents without knowing the actual sex of the baby. Whereas parents reportedly gave feminine characteristics to babies dressed in pink (Appelbaum, 2001). Throughout life, and especially childhood, males and females possess limitations to what they can and cannot do how they should and should not act. In the Unites States and various other cultures, boys are treated roughly and females delicately. Constant gender differences experienced in childhood create major differences in adulthood. While growing up, less strain is placed on females to acquire an adequate educational background, whereas boys are taught that education is priority to succeed. This factor has a large...