Social Construction of Gender By Sasha Sanders
I can honestly say, that of all the things I’ve learned while taking women’s and gender studies courses, the most important topic has been the social construction of gender. I believe that understanding this concept is key to helping liberate women because if everyone would realize that we only view gender the way we do because we were nurtured to do so, we would live in a world where people are more accepting of each other’s differences.
In the Judith Lorber’s “The Social Construction of Gender”, she explained that gender is a human production which is dependent upon everyone constantly “doing gender”. She says that gender is maintained as a process, and as part of a stratified and structured system; which has caused gender to be “so pervasive that in our society we assume it is bred into our genes”. Lorber’s excerpt concludes, stating that, gender inequality “is produced and maintained by identifiable social processes and built into the general social structure and individual identities”, and I absolutely agree with this statement because this is the same way that the idea of race, class has been produced in our society.
In this excerpt, every point she made , I could honestly agree with. I feel as though she very accurately explained the reason that gender is looked at as such a binary subject, and why it is so hard to create gender equality in our society. For example, she described the way that in our society, when we see fathers taking care of their children by themselves, we smile at them “approvingly”, with this unconscious feeling of being proud of him because he is a ‘man’ doing this. This was a great way to illuminate on the way that simple thoughts like these, prove the fact that we look at the male and female gender differently because gendered roles have been embedded into our brains. This is what helps prolong the existence of gender inequality.
Looking at gender as part of a “stratification system” was something that I’ve heard of, but I never really took the time to understand what it meant. I now understand the way that “as part of a stratification system, gender ranks men above women of the same race and class”. I found it very interesting when she described the way that in a “gender-stratified” society, mens actions are are more valued than women’s, just because they are done by men, even when their actions may be the same. Her explanation here helps us to understand why men have maintained a hierarchy over women in the majority of the world.
I truly do agree with the points that were made in this reading because they helped to discuss the way that social construction is the way that our society creates different subordinate and insubordinate groups based upon race, class and gender. I loved this reading because Lorber and I have very common views on what is wrong with the way people view gender in our society.
Lorber, Judith. “Night to His Day.” The Social Construction of Gender. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1991. 1-4. Print.