Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed. This includes norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time.
- Gender is hierarchical and produces inequalities that intersect with other social and economic inequalities.
- Gender-based discrimination intersects with other factors of discrimination, such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, age, geographic location, gender identity and sexual orientation, among others.
This is referred to as intersectionality. Gender interacts with but is different from sex, which refers to the different biological and physiological characteristics of females, males and intersex persons, such as chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs.
- Gender and sex are related to but different from gender identity.
- Gender identity refers to a person’s deeply felt, internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond to the person’s physiology or designated sex at birth.
- Gender influences people’s experience of and access to healthcare.
The way that health services are organized and provided can either limit or enable a person’s access to healthcare information, support and services, and the outcome of those encounters. Health services should be affordable, accessible and acceptable to all, and they should be provided with quality, equity and dignity.
- Gender inequality and discrimination faced by women and girls puts their health and well-being at risk.
- Women and girls often face greater barriers than men and boys to accessing health information and services.
- These barriers include restrictions on mobility; lack of access to decision-making power; lower literacy rates; discriminatory attitudes of communities and healthcare providers; and lack of training and awareness amongst healthcare providers and health systems of the specific health needs and challenges of women and girls.
Consequently, women and girls face greater risks of unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, cervical cancer, malnutrition, lower vision, respiratory infections, malnutrition and elder abuse, amongst others. Women and girls also face unacceptably high levels of violence rooted in gender inequality and are at grave risk of harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, and child, early and forced marriage.
WHO figures show that about 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Harmful gender norms – especially those related to rigid notions of masculinity – can also affect boys and men’s health and wellbeing negatively.
For example, specific notions of masculinity may encourage boys and men to smoke, take sexual and other health risks, misuse alcohol and not seek help or health care. Such gender norms also contribute to boys and men perpetrating violence – as well as being subjected to violence themselves.
- They can also have grave implications for their mental health.
- Rigid gender norms also negatively affect people with diverse gender identities, who often face violence, stigma and discrimination as a result, including in healthcare settings.
- Consequently, they are at higher risk of HIV and mental health problems, including suicide.
The work of WHO is aligned with and supports the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, and SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,
The Organization is committed to non-discrimination and to leaving no-one behind. It seeks to ensure that every person, regardless of gender or sex, can live a healthy life. Gender inequality hinders progress to fulfill everyone’s right to health. Efforts in support of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) must focus on reaching those most often left behind, such as marginalized, stigmatized and geographically isolated people of all sexes and gender identities, with a special focus on those in situations of increased vulnerability, including poor people, persons with disabilities and racialized and indigenous peoples.
Addressing discrimination against women and girls is critical to achieving UHC. WHO develops norms, standards and guidelines on gender-responsive health service provision and delivery, and commissions research on issues focusing on gender equality, human rights and health equity.
- 0.1 What is gender as a social construction?
- 0.2 Who first said that gender is a social construct?
- 0.3 What are the two social constructs?
- 1 What does social construction of gender depend on?
- 2 What are the features of social construction?
- 3 What are social constructs PDF?
- 4 Is marriage a social construct?
- 5 What is another way to say social construct?
The social construction of gender is a theory in feminism and sociology about the manifestation of cultural origins, mechanisms, and corollaries of gender perception and expression in the context of interpersonal and group social interaction. Specifically, the social construction of gender stipulates that gender roles are an achieved “status” in a social environment, which implicitly and explicitly categorize people and therefore motivate social behaviors.
formal : an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society Class distinctions are a social construct,
A social construct is a concept or category that has socially and culturally mediated meaning. In other words, social constructs are concepts that generate their meaning through social and cultural worldviews, An illustrative example of this is the fact that the idealized notion of beauty has changed over time.
- In 17 th Century France, for example, plump women were considered to be exceptionally beautiful.
- Today, being thin is considered beautiful.
- Therefore, ‘beauty’ isn’t objective, but socially constructed in a specific time period.
- Examples of social constructs include race, gender, nationality, childhood, madness, age, intelligence, and beauty.
The idea emerges from postmodern and poststructural theories in cultural studies and sociology. It highlights how concepts like race, gender roles, and beauty are not natural or normal.
John Money was one of the pioneer researchers who stated that social constructs of gender influence the formation of gender identities. He also coined the term gender role.
Social Constructionism and Postmodernism – Historically, sociology has searched for underlying structures that lead to human behavior. Social constructionism evolved in the cultural and intellectual context of the mid-20th century, which was dominated by the Postmodernist movement.
- Postmodernism is the rejection that there can be an ultimate truth.
- To postmodernists, the world, as it is perceived by individuals, is a consequence of hidden structures.
- The world cannot be understood in terms of grand theories; rather, postmodernism emphasizes how ways of life can differ between the groups and situations of the people who live them (Burr 2015), Postmodernism has both informed and been informed by social constructionism; however, these theories diverge.
Social constructionism provides a framework for understanding the constructed worlds that people inhabit — useful for understanding social behavior, while postmodernism does not provide such a framework (Flaskas, 1995).
It comes from a perspective known as constructivism, which suggests that we come to an understanding of certain ideas in our society because we made them exist. Race and ethnicity are two great examples of socially constructed ideas in our society.
The Social Construction of Gender Gender is socially constructed and a result of sociocultural influences throughout an individual’s development (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005). Gender identity can be affected by, and is different from one society to another depending on the way the members of society evaluate the role of females and males.
- Our gender identity can be influenced from the ethnicity of the group, their historical and cultural background, family values and religion.
- Often people confuse or misuse the terms gender and sex.
- The term sex refers to the biological distinction of being male and female (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005).
To make the distinction clearer one could consider that we inherit the sex but we learn our gender (Boss, 2008). Gender is a structural feature of society and the sociological significance of gender is that it is a devise by which society controls its members (Henslin, 2006).
Gender like social class and race can be used to socially categorize people and even lead to prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice is a set of attitudes, more likely unfavorable, towards members of a group ( Pennsylvania State University, 2011). Discrimination is overt negative behaviors towards a person based on his or her membership in a group ( Pennsylvania State University, 2011).
When there is differential treatment of people based on their sex the term sexism defines this behavior. Sexism refers to any bias against an individual or group based on the individual’s or group’s sex (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005, p.340). Gender discrimination is another way one could define sexism and in particular this is associated with discrimination and stereotyped beliefs against women.
Stereotypes are beliefs about the characteristics, attributes, and behaviors of members of certain groups and most of them are socioculturally based (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005). Stereotype ideas and beliefs regarding women, although they have been changed and improved, are still evident in our country and in other modern cultures.
Unfortunately in several countries around the world such as Arabian courtiers, Africa and India things have not changed much and women are still considered a minority and do not have equal access and rights in their societies as do males (Henslin, 2006).
This variation regarding gender around the world makes prominent that gender identity is influenced by social variables and has little to do with biological variables. The idea of social construction of gender sees society, not biological sex differences, as the basis for gender identity (Anderson, Logio & Taylor, 2005).
There are many different processes by which the expectations associated with being a boy or a girl is passed on through society. For instance one could see this from the moment a child comes into the world and from the fact that he/she has to face a “blue” or “pink” reality.
- I recently attended a baby shower party and I was shocked first by the amount of items a baby needs and even more about the color choice of each item.
- Everything was pink, as a baby girl was expected, and honestly I never imaged how many different shades of pink actually exist for products such as baby clothes.
The house decoration was pink, people were wearing pink or pastel colors, all the gift wrappers pink as well as the gifts themselves. My gift was one of the few items of a different color, as I chose yellow and light purple items, which was actually a challenging task to find as most of the items in the store I shopped were blue or pink.
- The social construction of gender could be further been seen by the way parents behave to their children, by their expectations about how their children should behave and act, and by the toys they buy for them.
- For example girls are supposed to play with dolls and be sweet and emotional and boys are supposed to play with action figures and be aggressive and rational.
Therefore clothes, toys, and even the language used with young children follow the trend of stereotyping gender. Children learn by modeling and the messages they receive and act accordingly. An example similar to the dress code we having for children can also be seen with adults, particularly in the colors, fabrics and designs specific to each gender.
- Another example is the situation of a female working in the business field that is expected to dress in masculine way in order to be considered successful and to be taken more seriously.
- This could demonstrate again how social influences affect gender expectations and shape behaviors and norm regarding gender.
Apart from the family, which is the first agent of socialization and learning gender identity, children learn from other sources such as school. Starting from the first years of school, including day care center years, children learn their gender identity from playing and interacting with other children and care providers.
By visiting a child care program one may notice that the environment is arranged in ways to promote gender identity. Most likely there will be an area staged as the housekeeping corner where girls the play and there will be another area with building blocks and tool kit items where the boys play. However it is believed by several that the kind of toys and roles children play affect their future and the skills they learn.
Social Construction of Gender |Gender Studies Part 06|
Playing with blocks is considered giving experience in spatial relations and in mathematical concepts, where playing with dolls and dramatic role playing is associated with learning to be a nurturer (Conzalez-Mena, 2006). As children grow more stereotype ideas are involve regarding which subjects are favorable and suitable for each gender.
- For instance the most obvious example is math and probably all of us have heard the notion that boys are better in math than girls.
- Therefore one could see that again social influence affects perception about gender identity and roles.
- However perceptions such as this can lead to stereotype threads which are the fear or nervousness that one’s behavior will exemplify a negative stereotype about his in-group and thereby in essence confirming the accuracy of the stereotype.
Furthermore the media also affects and influences gender identity. For instance children are constantly bombarded with shows depicting gender stereotype models from toys marketed as for boys or girls, to children’s TV programs and shows. It is common for the children’s programs to emphasize the role of the male “hero” who saves the weak female.
- Children interpret these messages as “real life” which shapes their reality, behavior, and expectations of their gender role.
- However, the social construction of gender does not happen only once and does not stop with children.
- It continues throughout the rest of our lives and influences our perspective and the way we view things and situations.
Regarding the media one is able to see an example of gender stereotyping by observing the messages of advertisements. Recently I had conversation with my husband relating to the issue of sexism regarding a car show he was watching on TV where standing next to the new cars were beautiful female models.
- My comment was that is an example of benevolent sexism.
- Benevolent sexism involves the attribution of typically positive traits or qualities towards women but these traits are derive from stereotypes that see women in limited ways and often stem from male-centered perspectives (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005).
My husband did not want to accept this and he argued that male models are sometimes used as well. We end up watching the car show for over an hour in order to find a male model next to a car but we did not see any. Additionally cultural and religious beliefs and attitudes have a serious impact on gender identity and in many cases promote stereotype beliefs against women and lead to gender discrimination.
When it comes to culture and religious influences in a society regarding the view of gender I believe the concept of institutionalized sexism is appropriate to describe this situation. Institutionalized sexism is the sexist attitudes that are held by the vast majority of people living in a society where stereotypes and discrimination are the norm (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2011).
When a society has specific norms people living within the society will adapt to them and they will do the same even for discriminatory norms. For instance when a society, due to religious and cultural reasons, view women as weak or inferior people living within the society will develop the same views and will act accordingly.
- One can see this for example in many Muslim countries and also with different religious groups, even in our own country.
- People tend to conform to their group and will do the same even when they engage in discriminatory behaviors as they want to fit in and be accepted by their group which is known as normative conformity (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2011).
Society constructs our gender and categorizes its members similar as it does with age, ethnicity, race, social class and status. However the categorization according to gender is another way of manipulating members of a society and to promote inequalities.
- There are obvious biological and anthropological differences between the two sexes but we cannot use these differences to infer conclusions and provide stereotyped models about gender.
- As mentioned in the beginning sexism is the term that accounts for gender discrimination and has different forms.
- One of them already mentioned is benevolent sexism characterized by positive but stereotyped views of women.
Contrarily another form is hostile sexism which is characterized by negative stereotypical views towards women. For instance hostile sexism views of women are centered on beliefs that women are inferior to men due to superficial views that one can hold again women.
- Lastly another form of sexism is ambivalent sexism which holds views of both hostile and benevolent sexist attitudes simultaneously (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005).
- However no matter the form, sexism has overall negative consequences and results in stereotyping women, and even prejudice and discrimination.
The United States of America and other developed countries have come a long way in trying to eliminate discrimination against women but there is still a room for improvement. Gender as mentioned above results from sociocultural influences. Research and theory derived from social psychology could be able to develop appropriate interventions that could target a vast range of individuals and institutions in order to promote equality of genders and eliminate gender discriminations.
References: Andersen, M.L., Logio, K.A. & Taylor H.F. (2005). Understanding society: an introductory reader (2nd e.d.). Belmont, CA : Thomson Wadsworth, Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D. & Akert, R.M. (2011). Social Psychology (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall/Pearson. Boss, J. (2008). Analyzing moral issues (4th ed.).
New York, NY : McGraw-Hill Conzalez-Mena, J. (2006). The young child in the family and the community (4th e.d.). Upper Saddle River, NJ : Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall Henslin, J.M. (2006). Essentials of Sociology: A down-to-earth approach (6th e.d.). Boston : Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Unit I: An Introduction to Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies: Grounding Theoretical Frameworks and Concepts Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge that holds that characteristics typically thought to be immutable and solely biological—such as gender, race, class, ability, and sexuality—are products of human definition and interpretation shaped by cultural and historical contexts (Subramaniam 2010).
- As such, social constructionism highlights the ways in which cultural categories—like “men,” “women,” “black,” “white”—are concepts created, changed, and reproduced through historical processes within institutions and culture.
- We do not mean to say that bodily variation among individuals does not exist, but that we construct categories based on certain bodily features, we attach meanings to these categories, and then we place people into the categories by considering their bodies or bodily aspects.
For example, by the one-drop rule (see also page 35), regardless of their appearance, individuals with any African ancestor are considered black. In contrast, racial conceptualization and thus racial categories are different in Brazil, where many individuals with African ancestry are considered to be white.
- This shows how identity categories are not based on strict biological characteristics, but on the social perceptions and meanings that are assumed.
- Categories are not “natural” or fixed and the boundaries around them are always shifting—they are contested and redefined in different historical periods and across different societies.
Therefore, the social constructionist perspective is concerned with the meaning created through defining and categorizing groups of people, experience, and reality in cultural contexts. The Social Construction of Heterosexuality What does it mean to be “heterosexual” in contemporary US society? Did it mean the same thing in the late 19th century? As historian of human sexuality Jonathon Ned Katz shows in The Invention of Heterosexuality (1999), the word “heterosexual” was originally coined by Dr.
- James Kiernan in 1892, but its meaning and usage differed drastically from contemporary understandings of the term.
- Iernan thought of “hetero-sexuals” as not defined by their attraction to the opposite sex, but by their “inclinations to both sexes.” Furthermore, Kiernan thought of the heterosexual as someone who “betrayed inclinations to ‘abnormal methods of gratification'” (Katz 1995).
In other words, heterosexuals were those who were attracted to both sexes and engaged in sex for pleasure, not for reproduction. Katz further points out that this definition of the heterosexual lasted within middle-class cultures in the United States until the 1920s, and then went through various radical reformulations up to the current usage.
- Looking at this historical example makes visible the process of the social construction of heterosexuality.
- First of all, the example shows how social construction occurs within institutions—in this case, a medical doctor created a new category to describe a particular type of sexuality, based on existing medical knowledge at the time.
“Hetero-sexuality” was initially a medical term that defined a deviant type of sexuality. Second, by seeing how Kiernan—and middle class culture, more broadly—defined “hetero-sexuality” in the 19th century, it is possible to see how drastically the meanings of the concept have changed over time.
Typically, in the United States in contemporary usage, “heterosexuality” is thought to mean “normal” or “good”—it is usually the invisible term defined by what is thought to be its opposite, homosexuality. However, in its initial usage, “hetero-sexuality” was thought to counter the norm of reproductive sexuality and be, therefore, deviant.
This gets to the third aspect of social constructionism. That is, cultural and historical contexts shape our definition and understanding of concepts. In this case, the norm of reproductive sexuality—having sex not for pleasure, but to have children—defines what types of sexuality are regarded as “normal” or “deviant.” Fourth, this case illustrates how categorization shapes human experience, behavior, and interpretation of reality.
- To be a “heterosexual” in middle class culture in the US in the early 1900s was not something desirable to be—it was not an identity that most people would have wanted to inhabit.
- The very definition of “hetero-sexual” as deviant, because it violated reproductive sexuality, defined “proper” sexual behavior as that which was reproductive and not pleasure-centered.
Social constructionist approaches to understanding the world challenge the essentialist or biological determinist understandings that typically underpin the “common sense” ways in which we think about race, gender, and sexuality. Essentialism is the idea that the characteristics of persons or groups are significantly influenced by biological factors, and are therefore largely similar in all human cultures and historical periods.
- A key assumption of essentialism is that “a given truth is a necessary natural part of the individual and object in question” (Gordon and Abbott 2002).
- In other words, an essentialist understanding of sexuality would argue that not only do all people have a sexual orientation, but that an individual’s sexual orientation does not vary across time or place.
In this example, “sexual orientation” is a given “truth” to individuals—it is thought to be inherent, biologically determined, and essential to their being. Essentialism typically relies on a biological determinist theory of identity. Biological determinism can be defined as a general theory, which holds that a group’s biological or genetic makeup shapes its social, political, and economic destiny (Subramaniam 2014).
For example, “sex” is typically thought to be a biological “fact,” where bodies are classified into two categories, male and female. Bodies in these categories are assumed to have “sex”-distinct chromosomes, reproductive systems, hormones, and sex characteristics. However, “sex” has been defined in many different ways, depending on the context within which it is defined.
For example, feminist law professor Julie Greenberg (2002) writes that in the late 19th century and early 20th century, “when reproductive function was considered one of a woman’s essential characteristics, the medical community decided that the presence or absence of ovaries was the ultimate criterion of sex” (Greenberg 2002: 113).
Thus, sexual difference was produced through the heteronormative assumption that women are defined by their ability to have children. Instead of assigning sex based on the presence or absence of ovaries, medical practitioners in the contemporary US typically assign sex based on the appearance of genitalia.
Differential definitions of sex point to two other primary aspects of the social construction of reality. First, it makes apparent how even the things commonly thought to be “natural” or “essential” in the world are socially constructed. Understandings of “nature” change through history and across place according to systems of human knowledge.
Second, the social construction of difference occurs within relations of power and privilege. Sociologist Abby Ferber (2009) argues that these two aspects of the social construction of difference cannot be separated, but must be understood together. Discussing the construction of racial difference, she argues that inequality and oppression actually produce ideas of essential racial difference.
Therefore, racial categories that are thought to be “natural” or “essential” are created within the context of racialized power relations—in the case of African-Americans, that includes slavery, laws regulating interracial sexual relationships, lynching, and white supremacist discourse.
Social constructionist analyses seek to better understand the processes through which racialized, gendered, or sexualized differentiations occur, in order to untangle the power relations within them. Notions of disability are similarly socially constructed within the context of ableist power relations.
The medical model of disability frames body and mind differences and perceived challenges as flaws that need fixing at the individual level. The social model of disability shifts the focus to the disabling aspects of society for individuals with impairments (physical, sensory or mental differences), where the society disables those with impairments (Shakespeare 2006).
Disability, then, refers to a form of oppression where individuals understood as having impairments are imagined to be inferior to those without impairments, and impairments are devalued and unwanted. This perspective manifests in structural arrangements that limit access for those with impairments. A critical disability perspective critiques the idea that nondisability is natural and normal—an ableist sentiment, which frames the person rather than the society as the problem.
What are the implications of a social constructionist approach to understanding the world? Because social constructionist analyses examine categories of difference as fluid, dynamic, and changing according to historical and geographical context, a social constructionist perspective suggests that existing inequalities are neither inevitable nor immutable.
- This perspective is especially useful for the activist and emancipatory aims of feminist movements and theories.
- By centering the processes through which inequality and power relations produce racialized, sexualized, and gendered difference, social constructionist analyses challenge the pathologization of minorities who have been thought to be essentially or inherently inferior to privileged groups.
Additionally, social constructionist analyses destabilize the categories that organize people into hierarchically ordered groups through uncovering the historical, cultural, and/or institutional origins of the groups under study. In this way, social constructionist analyses challenge the categorical underpinnings of inequalities by revealing their production and reproduction through unequal systems of knowledge and power.
Judith Butler and Gender Performativity – Judith Butler is one of the most prominent social theorists currently working on issues pertaining to the social construction of gender. Butler is a trained philosopher and has oriented her work towards feminism and queer theory.
- Butler’s most known work is Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, published in 1991, which argues for gender performativity.
- This means that gender is not an essential category.
- The repetitious performances of “male” and “female” in accordance with social norms reifies the categories, creating the appearance of a naturalized and essential binary.
Gender is never a stable descriptor of an individual, but an individual is always “doing” gender, performing or deviating from the socially accepted performance of gender stereotypes. Doing gender is not just about acting in a particular way. It is about embodying and believing certain gender norms and engaging in practices that map on to those norms.
These performances normalize the essentialism of gender categories. In other words, by doing gender, we reinforce the notion that there are only two mutually exclusive categories of gender. The internalized belief that men and women are essentially different is what makes men and women behave in ways that appear essentially different.
Gender is maintained as a category through socially constructed displays of gender. Doing gender is fundamentally a social relationship. One does gender in order to be perceived by others in a particular way, either as male, female, or as troubling those categories.
- Certainly, gender is internalized and acquires significance for the individual; some individuals want to feel feminine or masculine.
- Social constructionists might argue that because categories are only formed within a social context, even the affect of gender is in some ways a social relation.
- Moreover, we hold ourselves and each other for our presentation of gender, or how we “measure up.” We are aware that others evaluate and characterize our behavior on the parameter of gender.
Social constructionists would say that gender is interactional rather than individual—it is developed through social interactions. Gender is also said to be omnirelevant, meaning that people are always judging our behavior to be either male or female. Judith Butler: Author of Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.
Social constructionism observes how the interactions of individuals with their society and the world around them gives meaning to otherwise worthless things and creates the reality of the society.
Conclusion – Social constructionism accepts that there is an objective reality. It is concerned with how knowledge is constructed and understood. It has therefore an epistemological not an ontological perspective. Criticisms and misunderstanding arise when this central fact is misinterpreted.
This is most evident in debates and criticisms surrounding realism and relativism. The words of Kirk and Miller (1986) are relevant when they suggest that the search for a final, absolute truth be left to philosophers and theologians. Social constructionism places great emphasis on everyday interactions between people and how they use language to construct their reality.
It regards the social practices people engage in as the focus of enquiry. This is very similar to the focus of grounded theory but without the emphasis on language. Social constructionism that views society as existing both as objective and subjective reality is fully compatible with classical grounded theory, unlike constructionist grounded theory which takes a relativist position.
- Relativism is not compatible with classical grounded theory.
- Social constructionism as influence by Berger and Luckman makes no ontological claims.
- Therefore choosing constructionist grounded theory based on the ontological assumptions of the researcher seems incompatible with the idea of social constructionism.
How this stance has influenced and remodelled grounded theory into socalled constructionist grounded theory will be the subject of another article.
Social Constructionism or the social construction of reality is a theory of. knowledge of sociology and communication that examines the development. jointly constructed understanding of the world. Social constructionism may be. defined as a perspective which believes that a great deal of human life exists as it.
The dangerous world of social constructs — Pi Media Isabelle Osborne reflects on the way social constructs may be contributing to discrimination and division. Gender. Race. Beauty. Femininity. Masculinity. Money. Marriage. Valentine’s Day. In times gone by, these concepts have been seen as existing in an objective reality, things that already existed and should therefore be upheld as the truth.
- However, these are products of human invention; products society has constructed to make us believe they are everyday truths.
- These constructs develop into what is considered ‘the norm’.
- Having invented the world we live in today: society is actively manufactured by us human beings.
- If anything, such constructs are valued for how they allow us to make sense of the world – it is how people are differentiated.
We have constructed a distinction between nature and nurture, yet nurture only exists as a representation of the codes society has laid out. Social constructs create a suffocating reality which tells us what to think of certain individuals and communities.
This leads to the development of hostility across different societies who hold different views to one another. When behaviour is dictated by the constructs society determines, humans become governed by ideals that seek to divide. As a result, some people end up on the opposite side of what society deems as acceptable.
Such is evident in race and gender debates prior to the 21st century. The Suffrage movement was a reaction to the belief that women were inferior to men, whilst the Civil Rights movement fought against the perception that white skin made an individual superior to those with black skin.
Social constructs are only as strong as we allow them to be, and can be destroyed by a little determination and will. Whilst many of these issues have been rehabilitated and the wounds of the past are beginning to heal, social media has expanded to such an extent that one of its major roles in society has become one of driving and validating certain social constructs that threaten to undermine the progress that has been made.
For example, a rise in negative perceptions of body image in recent years, can in part be attributed to the damaging concepts of modern beauty promoted by social media sites like Instagram: young adults, particularly women, often actively modify their behaviour and appearance to fit the standards of attractiveness.
- When we don’t fit the mould society constructs for us, we become outsiders.
- We believe we are doing something wrong, that we are ‘weird’, that we will never be accepted.
- The damage social constructs do is clearer today than it has ever been before.
- Society needs to work to eliminate what we have constructed for ourselves.
In a world where scientific and technological advancements beyond comprehension are being made, propelling society towards a brighter future, we are simultaneously taking steps backwards as we fashion an ideal world for ourselves that sees humans lose touch with reality.
According to Berger and Kellner, marriage is an important reality-building and reality-confirming institution but it too must be constructed as a common reality of the married partners in accord with the norms of society.
Abstract – In this research, I focus on virginity loss to examine how people in the contemporary United States use the resources of cultural ideas and personal experiences to make sense of themselves as sexual beings. Sexuality is shaped (constructed) by social processes at the cultural and individual levels; thus virginity is socially constructed.
- By concentrating on the present-day U.S., I show how social construction operates in a context where cultural notions about sexuality are highly diverse.
- I explore patterns in the definitions and the subjective meanings of virginity loss by gender and sexual orientation, relating virginity loss to earlier and later sexual experiences.
Data come from in-depth interviews with 61 women and men, ages 18 to 35. About two-thirds identified themselves as heterosexual and one-third as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. A majority believed that both women and men could lose virginity with same-sex partners; this belief was strongest among non-heterosexual and younger respondents.
Women, especially younger women, were more likely than men to say that rape could not result in virginity loss and that people could be virgins more than once. Patterns by age suggest the influence of social movements such as feminism, gay rights, and conservative Christianity. Most respondents interpreted (framed) virginity as a gift, as a stigma, or as part of a larger process.
Individual experiences—including sexual conduct before and after virginity loss and decisions about partners and timing—were patterned by interpretive frames. Adherents to the process frame were most likely to report satisfactory virginity-loss experiences.
Sexual orientation and gender influenced interpretations of virginity, with women most likely to see virginity as a gift, men to view it as a stigma, and non-heterosexuals to approach it as a process. Yet, people who shared interpretations of virginity had similar experiences, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, suggesting that shared interpretive frames help account for the coexistence of differences and similarities.
Analyzing early sexual experiences by interpretive frames can improve the precision of future studies. These findings also underline the need for researchers to reduce their reliance on first coitus as indicating the point at which sexual activity begins.
What is another word for social construct?
|cultural norm||societal norm|
What is the full meaning of construct?
Transitive verb. : to make or form by combining or arranging parts or elements : build. construct a bridge. also : contrive, devise.