Questioning our gender isn't something most of us do normally/naturally, but through this diablog we were given the opportunity to look critically at gender in society. We discussed the fact that gender roles are not a given, assigned by nature, but a product of a social institution designed to assign predetermined places in society and that gender is not about biological sex, although biology is not entirely separate either. In today's society no one is exempt from gender roles; even intersexed children who often have their gender chosen for them from birth and who are then surgically assigned the appropriate genitalia. This made us question whether we should even assign gender to any baby, born with our without ambiguous genitalia. However, we realized that gender is so embedded in our society that it would be nearly impossible to completely extinguish concepts of masculinity and femininity--especially looking at our language. For example, we use "he/she" and "his/hers" very often and it's sometimes awkward to use words like "one" and "they" as a replacement. Gender is deeply ingrained in us via social training that begins at birth (different clothes, toys, names and lessons in manners etc.). Deviations from assigned gender roles often result in types of social punishment (such as violence, resistance, or discrimination), whereas adherence to them gives advantages and rewards. Our parents have passed down to us expectations that they learned from their parents as far as how to act like a girl and how to act like a boy because gender is built to be a part of our identities. We act out or "do" gender unconsciously every day (like breathing as Kate mentioned) and "do" it differently from situation to situation. For example, gender can be identified from the smallest characteristics such as the way an individual walks, speaks, eats, sits, or socially interacts. What we as a society fail to realize is that gender is not strictly male and female but a large spectrum of combinations meaning it is fluid and can be ambiguous. We tend to be uncomfortable when we cannot readily identify someone's gender and therefore strive for dichotomized gender groups. It is not possible to have rigidly separate genders that receive equal treatment; therefore, one gender with always be inferior to the other. If we can achieve a societal view of gender as a combination of masculine and feminine traits in differing doses, we can potentially become a society that is truly equalized.
TrackBack URL: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/143157