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Compare and contrast a biological understanding of Gender and a social constructionist view and discuss the practical and social consequences of each?

Biological understanding of Gender and a social constructionist view

Compare and contrast a biological understanding of Gender and a social constructionist view and discuss the practical and social consequences of each?

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Biological Theories of Gender

to biological differences between males and females. For example, chromosomes (female XX, male XY), reproductive organs (ovaries, testes), hormones (oestrogen, testosterone).

Gender refers to the cultural differences expected (by society / culture) of men and women according to their sex. A person’s sex does not change from birth, but their gender can.

In the past people tend to have very clear ideas about what was appropriate to each sex and anyone behaving differently was regard ed as deviant.

Today we accept a lot more diversity and see gender as a continuum (i.e. scale) rather than two categories. So men are free to show their “feminine side” and women are free to show their “masculine traits”.

The biological approach suggests there is no distinction between sex & gender, thus biological sex creates gendered behavior. Additionally, gender is determine by two biological factors: hormones and chromosomes.

 

Social Constructionism

Social constructionism is the theory that people develop knowledge of the world in a social context, and that much of what we perceive as reality depends on shared assumptions. From a social constructionist perspective, many things we take for granted and believe are objective reality are actually socially construct, and thus, can change as society changes.

Origins

The theory of social constructionism was introduced in the 1966 book The Social Construction of Reality, by sociologists Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckman. Berger and Luckman’s ideas were inspired by a number of thinkers, including Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and George Herbert Mead. In particular, Mead’s theory symbolic interactionism, which suggests that social interaction is responsible for the construction of identity, was highly influential.

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