• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Gender Roles are culturally rather than biologically produced" - Discuss and give examples from sociological studies.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Neville Borg Sociology A-level "Gender Roles are culturally rather than biologically produced" Discuss and give examples from sociological studies Societies have always placed great importance on differences between males and females, both in positive, as well as in negative manners. Some societies have used them as a justification to ostracize members of the other sex, whilst other societies have tried to exalt the both sexes. These differences are both biological and psychological. This is reflected in the difference between the terms 'Gender' and 'Sex'. 'Sex' refers to the biological, anatomical differences between males and females, whilst 'Gender' refers to the psychological, social and cultural differences between them. This is why sex is a biological construct and gender is a social construct. A person's sex is an innate quality, but a person acquires his/her gender through a process called gender socialization. This is the learning of a particular social role according to one's sex. Through this process, a person learns what is masculine and feminine and learns to act accordingly. The period in a person's life when this process begins and ends is debatable. In fact, some sociologists argue that it begins at infancy, whilst others state that it takes place later in a child's life. Amongst the various theories of gender learning, Sigmund Freud's stands out as being one of the most influential. ...read more.

Middle

Nancy Chodrow based her analysis of gender learning on Freud's theory but adapted it to her ideas. She argued that gender awareness begins at a very early stage in a person's life. She also places more importance on the maternal figure in the child's life, rather than the paternal figure. Chodrow argues that the mother has such a dominant role because of her close attachment to the child in the early stages of its life. According to Chodrow, boys are initially closely attached to the mother, but eventually detach themselves by means of a breaking process. This detachment is voluntary and caused by external messages that if they remain attached to the mother they will be less masculine and considered "sissies" and "mummy's boys". This causes them to completely repress their feelings towards the mother and makes them unable to relate closely to other people. This is known as Male Inexpressiveness. Boys try to achieve fulfillness through activities, such as sports, and chase their goals in an independent manner. Girls do not have such a drastic breaking process as boys. They remain attached to the mother for a longer period of time. They tend to imitate the mother and see her as being dependent on the father. Due to this, later in their life, they will also depend on a man. ...read more.

Conclusion

In fact, fairytales, which are a heavy influence in a child's upbringing, tend to describe how the heroic male protagonist rescues the woman. Certain fairytales have been converted to reverse the roles of the two sexes, but these conversions are generally treated as satires or parodies. Another very important influence is dress code. Males and females generally wear completely different attire. Whilst even styles change throughout the ages, the differences in clothing are always present. For example, in the early 20th century, females in Malta used to wear the traditional "ghonella" whilst males used to wear typical caps, which are still quite common nowadays, especially throughout the elderly. In Malta, Religion is an extremely important cultural influence in a child's gender learning. This is mainly because Maltese society places great importance on this factor in family life. In fact, in the 1960's a Maltese Bishop actually stated that if a married woman is employed and has a job, she is harming her family. Statements such as these are very relevant in the Maltese society. Maltese society, in general, has a very heavy influence on a child's gender socialization. Many females are continuing their education into the tertiary level and are chasing their diplomas. These women are unlikely to plan to become housewives and will probably be ambitious and seeking to establish themselves in a career. A child's upbringing is the result of various different influences, and these different factors breed individuality. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Changes in Family Roles

    The reason I used primary sources was because I felt not all the secondary sources were entirely relevant to my topic. Collecting my own data meant that it would be specific to my topic. Despite this, when collecting my primary data I found that it took up a lot of my time which means it is very time consuming.

  2. Different Sociological Perspectives on Crime

    There is also a clear link with talking about power, in that a range of social control measures were proposed, and many actually introduced, to exercise power and punishment over the groups. Cohen said these groups came about due to the youths rejecting the 'work ethic'.

  1. Crime - 'The media portrays ethnic minorities in negative ways', Discuss.

    So many people may say it is because of behaviour but it's not just the ethnic minorities who walk around in racial groups, it's all the ethnicities. This statement supports my hypothesis because it shows that everyone goes around in racial gangs not just the ethnic minorities but it's the

  2. The position of widows in Nepalese society - sociological study.

    Migration is full of risks to unaccompanied women and their children. In the Mathari valley shanty town, in Nairobi, daughters of AIDS widows as young as 11 or 12 get involved in sex-work in order to buy food for their sick and dying mothers.

  1. Using examples describe a range of sociological perspectives and theories (including both classic and ...

    This is otherwise known as 'The Looking Glass Self' a phrase that was coined by Charles Cooley (1864-1929) and his theory backs up the ideas of Interactionism. 'In a very large and interesting class of cases the social reference takes the form of a somewhat definite imagination of how one's

  2. Free essay

    What was distinctive about gender roles in the nineteenth century?

    However, these gender distinctions relating to the nineteenth century home were only possible in a middle class ideal. In a working class environment, gender distinctions changed. Working class women in the late nineteenth century should have seen improvements to their lives as individuals.

  1. This essay proposes to discuss different accounts of the welfare state by both mainstream ...

    Other feminist's such as Barnes (1997) have also looked into gender differences in the welfare state by studying informal care, and the gendered consequences of it. Barnes claims that women have the main responsibility for informal (unpaid) care. (1997: 13)

  2. Unraveling of cultural meaning and sociological dimensions of Sex and the City by means ...

    On this level, the show deliberately enters into the territory of feminism with its gender play, attempting to breakaway from traditional sex-role definitions. This in itself resembles the radical forms of the feminist movement in the 1970s which embraced consciousness-raising as a tactic.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work