Sex vs. Gender Roles-Personal Opinion

Essay by brilifts23College, UndergraduateA-, November 2014

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Brittany Buchanan, SOC 130, Paper #3, July 30, 2014

Sex and gender are terms that are often used interchangeably, when in fact they hold different meanings. The term "sex" refers to the biological differences, hormonal profiles, and chromosomes of a person, while gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture assigns as masculine or feminine. So while your sex as male or female is a biological fact that is the same in any culture, what that sex means in terms of your gender role as a 'man' or a 'woman' in society can be quite different cross culturally. These 'gender roles' have an impact on the health of the individual. 'Gender role' refers to the characteristics and behaviors that various cultures attribute to the sexes. What it means to be a 'real man' in any culture requires male sex plus what our different cultures define as masculine characteristics and behaviors, likewise a 'real woman' needs female sex and feminine characteristics.

Many have the belief that gender difference is socially constructed. This view states that society and culture create gender roles, and these roles are agreed as ideal or appropriate behavior for a person of that specific gender. Our gender roles start at a very young age. The moment a mother knows what the sex of the baby is, everyone rushes out to buy blues if it's a boy, and pinks if it's a girl. At Christmas and birthdays, male children often get trucks and footballs, while the female children get dresses and dolls. These roles continue throughout a person's life. Men are expected to be the breadwinner, while the women are to be the caretaker of the children. Women are expected to cook and clean, while the men are expected to fix things around...