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Is gender a social construct?
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Different cultures embody different gender norms

There are varying degrees of what is regarded as masculine and feminine in different cultures. These differences indicate that gender is a social construct.

The Argument

Gender role beliefs vary from culture to culture. In the traditional family model, the woman is responsible for looking after the children and household chores, whilst men are predominantly known to be the “breadwinner”. There is a variation in different countries on how much this traditional role is maintained. Studies have suggested that education is a factor that influences how egalitarian a household is. In the US, the higher the educational standard, the more egalitarian the belief systems. An important factor to consider was the cultural power dynamics held in each country. It was found that countries with more masculine cultures, that promoted male competitiveness and an emphasis on the distinction of behaviours acceptable to exhibit by men and women, adapted the more traditional approach, rather than the egalitarian one. In more feminine societies, the distinction of the male and female role is blurred and overlap, and therefore the power dynamics play a minimal role. [1] It is significant to consider, age, generational and educational as well as cultural differences that impact the perception of gender roles in society. These influences suggest that gender is a social construct.

Counter arguments

The evolutionary theory of gender suggests that aspects of our behaviour have been biologically coded and adapted to ensure our survival. This explains the gender roles. Human ancestors over 10,000 years ago had to adapt their minds to their hunter-gatherer surroundings. The gender roles are therefore evolutionary adaptations which are biological to ensure that the species survives. The hunters (males) needed strength, agility, competitiveness, and aggression to attain this, and the gatherers (females) were developed to nurture, grow food, provide shelter, and look after the offspring. The female was not encouraged to hunt as this would have discouraged reproduction and the production of milk. Biological evolution is therefore the root of the gender role differences which has been present through human evolution irrespective of culture. [2]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 14:52 UTC

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