Remember when we were in kindergarten having fun and playing with toys. The little girls would play with a baby doll or a kitchen set. On the other hand, the boys played together with their toy trucks and Lego. We can see that from a really small age we learned that men and women are separated. In other words, we learned it because gender is socially and culturally constructed. Everyone has their roles and different expectation according to their gender because of society. For instance, if a woman plays with a toy truck it would be seen as not right or she is “not girly enough”. The same thing goes for men. Why is it wrong for a boy to play with a toy doll? It was not our choice to assign different roles according to our gender. Our parents, family members, friends, religious beliefs and traditions are the ones who taught and constructed it in our minds (Macalo, 2019, para. 3).
In addition, there is a difference between gender and sex. Our sex is biological, it is what we are born with, but gender is what is the psychological, social or cultural (Adam, 2001, para. 5). This means a person can be whomever they want, but our gender is what is stopping us to do so. Many cultures around the world have their way of how they perceive gender. For example, the Mohave Natives of the United States of America have not only two genders, but four. They have male, female, alyha (male who lives as a woman) and hawme (female who lives as a man) (Blackwood, 1984, p. 28). In their culture, it is normal for a man to live as women and vice versa, but for the western culture is still a little hard to accept the peoples who are different from being men or woman. The idea of gender is passed down by generations and they become the norm. In our society, the LGBTQ people are struggling to settle or be seen as normal in society because we haven’t seen anything more than two basic genders.
Furthermore, social media has a big impact on our lives. Social media is a new tool to portray directly or indirectly those gendered ideas. In other words, with this tool, it has become easier to distribute and display views on gender, especially in western societies. For instance, in many of the superhero movies, we often see the men saving a hopeless and weak woman (2). Social media is in a way reinforcing the men and female qualities that are stereotypical (Wood, n.d, p. 232). The men are strong, providing, rational, active and protector. On the other hand, the women are weak, caring, emotional, passive and protected. Young children are highly influenced by social media and when they see these indirect, stereotypical and constructed characteristics they combine them into their reality. However, there has been a recent change in social media. More and more celebrities are coming out as part of being from the LGBTQ community. This is because we are breaking those socially constructed gendered ideas that are pass down to us from our childhood, but we still have a long way to go to fully socially deconstruct gender.
Adams, Alexia Jo. “The Social Construction of Gender.” The Social Construction of Gender – Applied Social Psychology, 3 Oct. 2001, www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/applied_social_psychology/2011/10/the-social-construction-of-gender.html.
Blackwood, Evelyn. “Sexuality and Gender in Certain Native American Tribes: The Case of Cross-Gender Females.” Signs, vol. 10, no. 1, 1984, pp. 27–42. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3174235. Accessed 7 Feb. 2020.
Macolo, Micheal. “Time to Move Beyond ‘Gender Is Socially Constructed.’” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 31 July 2019, http://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/old-school-parenting-modern-day-families/201907/time-move-beyond-gender-is-socially-constructed.
Wood, Julia T. “Gendered Media: The Influence of Media on Views of Gender.” Department of Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel, pp. 231–244.
Written by Hassan Waheed