What does it mean when we say “gender is socially constructed”?
Gender and sex are used interchangeably but this usage is incorrect. Sex determines the biology of a person and gender is the identity of the person. However, some ideals were created around genders to fit specific sex. For instance, blue is for men and pink is for women. This statement is not true but it is socially acceptable. Men are expected to act manly similarly women are expected to be feminine. These societal expectations make gender a social construct; it only has meaning because of this association. “The categories of masculinity and femininity, which are assigned to one who is biologically male and female, respectively, are socially constructed.”(Buchanan, 2021) All individuals are taught these social constructs from birth and are expected to uphold them throughout their lives. In simple words, you did not decide that as a girl, you liked dolls or as a boy, you like cars. This behavior was taught to us by the society.
Please discuss how traditional masculine ideals impact women and alternative masculinities. Your discussion should include the role that power and privilege have in hegemonic masculinity.
According to societal norms; a man should be masculine, assertive, strong and a provider but according to Connell’s Model; “Hegemonic masculinity is an exaggerated form of masculinity, which involves a pattern of practices that allowed men’s dominance over women” (Buchanan, 2021). Today this type of masculinity is viewed as toxic masculinity as it leads to dominance over women and commands compliance from them. Many violence cases against women are instigated by men with toxic views regarding genders. Similarly violence against LGBTQ+ is also instigated by individuals that are insecure about their gender identities. Hegemonic masculinity is the reason behind gender inequality where women only live to serve men according to their needs and desires. This power gap is the reason that gender inequality exists and different gender identities struggle to find a place for themselves in society. If a man is not masculine enough, he is often bullied, labeled as a beta and often made out to be an outcast. The concept of a manly man is highly toxic and only exists to provide privilege and power to men so that they may feel in control of everything (Buchanan, 2021).
Buchanan, L. (2021). Gender Ideologies.