"The Social Construction of Gender"

            When speaking of social construction, we are referring to the way society defines and develops ideas and characteristics on issues that vary throughout certain time periods and certain cultures. There are many theories that suggest the development of the differences when dealing with the variations between men and women in society. Some social scientists propose biological differences, citing the distinct brain structures and the hormonal differences between the sexes. Others credit society, arguing that the process of socialization begins with early infancy and produces an acculturated being within a few years. Most find some middle ground between the two. An abundance of conflicting information continues to fuel the debate today. .

             There are countless arguments and much supportive evidence sustaining the view that gender is socially constructed. Gender differences are apparent beginning just a few months after birth. Whether they are the result of biology, cultural socialization, or some amalgamation of the two, has been debated by social scientists for decades, but no final conclusions have been drawn. In Anderson's writings, the debate is between nature and nurture. "Nature” refers to the biological differences between males and females and "nurture” refers to the social effects on gender. She supports the nurture approach by explaining that social construction is the basis for gender identity. From the practice of name giving as an infant, to adults in the job market, we as a society differentiate boys from girls and men from women. .

             Anderson adopts the nurture method as the basis for gender for many different reasons. One basis, she states, is that "the variability within gender is usually larger than the mean difference between genders” (p 28). Both men and women share most human traits. In the case of physical appearance, for example, men usually weigh more than women.

Related Essays: