By Lauren Coronado
“Congratulations on your baby boy, I bought him a blue onesie and a baseball cap.”
Gender identity is determined from the moment an individual is born. Adorning your baby in blue or pink, enrolling him or her in soccer or ballet ” these acts are such natural human traits that one doesn’t think twice to do them.
But can our natural acts of nurture be setting up our gender-based society for the worse?
According to Judith Lorber, a social construction of gender theorist, gender is constantly created and re-created by the effects of human interaction and social life changes. Society is constantly “doing gender.”
Lorber describes “doing gender” as a type of judgment call. “Doing gender” is as simple as someone approving a man’s action as he opens the door for a woman, or feeling confused by not identifying the gender of someone who is wearing a cap and short hair.
Our society is so accustomed to “doing gender” that when we cannot identify a gender, we panic. We question and press at the issue until a gender is identified. But why? Why is our society constantly “doing gender?” Gender identity only reveals a status and an expectation.
Parenting is gendered, with expectations for the mother’s role and the father’s role. Gender identity affects employment and wages. It affects the social construction of gender, as life experiences produce different relationships, experiences and feelings. Society’s expectations of femininity and masculinity dig into our souls and carve their marks.
It is important to remember that gender and sex are terms that cannot be used interchangeably. Gender is a concept that is socially constructed, while sex refers to biological differences.
Most societies are guilty of gender ranking. In the United States workforce, women tend to earn less than men. A woman makes 78 cents to the man’s dollar, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. Men are offered higher and more prestigious positions than women. However, it is also this flawed pattern that we have to blame for these actions, not just sex or gender.
Marital problems are often due to economic and cultural issues. In today’s modern society, there is friction in relationships as the “faster-changing woman” and the “slower-changing man” images threaten gender expectations. As women work in more prestigious fields, divorce rates seem to rise. The connection is if more women are spending less time at home, then more problems arise.
If gender was not socially created, then this wouldn’t be a prominent issue. Divorce rates and failed marriages would not throw the blame onto gender but on the actual problem: little to no effort in balancing the domestic work loads.
Society’s idea of gender is responsible for the inequality between men and women. If society were to stop creating and recreating gender, then these problems would not exist.
Sungah Choi / The Poly Post
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