Sample Term Paper

Words 900


Gender is one of the general principles on which status differences are based. Unlike sex, which is a natural concept, gender is a fact specifying the socially and culturally set roles that men and women are to follow. A person’s sex is determined by whether they are born male or female, but ‘gender’ is a socially learned behavior. What is considered to be ‘acceptable’ masculinity and femininity varies at different times, in different cultures and different countries? Four theories are discussed in this paper by Barbara Riman which explain gender from different perspectives.

q  The Sex Role Theory

q  Structural perspective of Gender

q  Doing Gender

q  Gender as a structure.

The Sex Role Theory

This theory says that we humans learn from society to behave in ways suitable to our sex. According to sex role theory, men are forceful, balanced, prevailing, and intent Women are submissive, instinctive, obedient, and biased. Sex-role theory totally believes that our culture values the personality of each sex equally and that they balance each other in a reasonable way. Women are just as valued for their compliance as men for their forcefulness. They believe the difference in behavior is because of the personality of a person.

Structural Perspective of Gender

Men and women according to this theory behave differently because of the nature of positions they fill in society. It is the family structure and work which create distinct genders. The difference reflects male dominance and limited opportunity for women in any field. Women are not successful because they are not allowed by the structures to develop and behave in a distinct way. If men also have limited opportunity they also behave in a similar way.

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