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What Is Social Constructions 

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    Social constructionism is a theory in sociology and communication that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality. This theory applies to the social construction of gender ,a notion in feminism and sociology about the operation of gender and gender differences in societies. Society and culture create gender roles, and these roles are prescribed as ideal or appropriate behavior for a person of that specific sex. A example would be the concept of self/ self-identity. Charles Cooley stated In his Looking-Glass-Self theory: ‘I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am.’ This demonstrates how people in society construct ideas or concepts that may not exist without the existence of people to validate those concepts.

    Social constructionism is created and maintained by many facets of society, including our education system, class hierarchy structure, political systems, and medical complex. Gender is socially constructed and a result of sociocultural influences throughout an individual’s development. But how does social construction of gender effect people that don’t define themselves female or male treated. Why does society do to push us to think about people that seem different then what we know as “normal.”

    Many people believe gender is assigned at birth according to physical sex, after birth is when parents begin to socialize the child and teach them the script that goes with the gender they’ve been assigned. Overtime children learn which clothes to wear, which sports to avoid or do, and which kind of work and hobbies they’re supposed to pursue. People of this society follow that pattern we’ve known for years but there are some that drift from this and start to step out of the social rules.

    For a more inside view I was able to get opinions from Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, an applied sociologist of Latin-Australian background on this matter. In her research paper she states,”The idea of ‘otherness’ is central to sociological analyses of how majority and minority identities are constructed. This is because the representation of different groups within any given society is controlled by groups that have greater political power.” The ones that drift from the “normal” traits of their original sex are put in different categories that allows us to see their worth as less important. Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos goes on to say,”The concept of The Other highlights how many societies create a sense of belonging, identity and social status by constructing social categories as binary opposites. This is clear in the social construction of gender in Western societies, or how socialisation shapes our ideas about what it means to be a “man” or a “woman.” If you don’t define yourself as women nor an male then where do you belong how does our society view “others” during daily routines. How are others being truly affected? Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos explains her point but she doesn’t experience how it feels to not be included in the social construct.

    In the article, “The XX & XY Lie: Our Social Construction of a Sex and Gender Binary” I get a insight view of gender binaries and details not only explaining different struggles but difficulties to explain sexuality in this world. Sara, a transgender woman has spent a lot of time in her life hearing from friends, family, and strangers on the internet about how her gender is “made up”. She goes to say, “These detractors always circle back to the same argument regarding biology, genitals, and the existence of only two “real” genders. They will tell me that it doesn’t matter what name I use, how long my hair grows, what surgeries I get, or how long I take hormone replacement therapy, I will always be a man, in their eyes, because one doctor 27 years ago looked at my penis and decided I was a man.” As a infant you don’t really know how to express yourself or have a choice on how you wanna be categorized in the world. Society takes that right from anyone that doesn’t classify them in the two “real” genders. Sara has been verbally attacked because of what an stranger told her when she was born by the way she looked and not how later on she would realize she was meant to be. Why do we rely on the world to define us and who we are? Why does social construction have that much power on our lives to brainwash us?

    Social construction is the virtue ascribed to a subject by the general public; along with political power, it influences the allocation of public policy benefits. Nonhuman species are socially constructed by humans, and political power is held in trust for them by human interest groups. This raises a number of questions like why are there only two scripts, when bodies seem to come in more than two shapes? Why are we so committed to the idea that there must be a one-to-one correspondence between the two scripts we have and the two kinds of bodies we insist on believing people are born into? In the article, “THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER, Rachel states,”We need the scripts and the clearly delineated categorical distinctions, because you can’t build hierarchy without difference. Hierarchy depends on difference, so you choose some physical differences, like genitalia and skin color, and invest them with significance. Once you have groups which are thought to be essentially different, you can build up and justify your hierarchy on the basis of them. Making them essential, or biologically grounded, gives them immutability and God-ordainedness.” So in order for there to be an working system we must have scripts to have differences and between the people around us. We can be different but not too far to different for the system to work.

    Now to answer the second question, “Why are we so committed to the idea that there must be a one-to-one correspondence between the two scripts we have and the two kinds of bodies we insist on believing people are born into?” Rachel not only explains why social construct happens but gives off an sarcastic remark.She says, “So then we need to maintain the one-to-one correspondence in order to maintain the stability and essential nature of the distinctions. We can’t allow people to go around determining their own identity and position in the hierarchy willy-nilly, or everything will fall apart. And we especially must maintain the gender-sex link because of heteronormativity. After all, one function of gender is to indicate to the world what kind of bidness you’ve got going on under your clothes. As an outward marker of physical sex, gender allows us to identify which individuals are potential mates for us, and avoid the oh-so-horrifying experience of being attracted to someone with (gasp!) the wrong set of genitalia.” I believe she wanted to sound sarcastic so her viewers could hear how simple minded this idea is. People are not allowed to be different because of fear that things will change a dthe system can be “broken” as it’s working now.

    In conclusion we are all of born into this social system that is already gendered, and our social survival depends on our learning how to perform the script. Many “others” should be able to be seen tsi same way as everyone else in this social world. But we have to hate the game not the player. The loosening of these strict categories and binaries can at least result in a view of sex and gender which is far more fluid and flexible, allowing more breathing room for everyone. Everyone needs to be accepted because people like Sara will never get to live their best lives in the system. Sara says, “When a scientific system misses millions of people, is the problem with the people who don’t fit or the system itself?”The system is the problem and an change is coming.

    Citation Page

    1. C, Sara. “The XX & XY Lie: Our Social Construction of a Sex and Gender Binary.” Medium.com, Medium, 21 Oct. 2017, medium.com/@QSE/the-xx-xy-lie-our-social-construction-of-a-sex-and-gender-binary-4eed1e60e615.
    2. Barb J. Burdge; Bending Gender, Ending Gender: Theoretical Foundations for Social Work Practice with the Transgender Community, Social Work, Volume 52, Issue 3, 1 July 2007, Pages 243–250, https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/52.3.243
    3. Zevallos, Z. (2014) ‘Sociology of Gender,’ The Other Sociologist, 28 November. Online resource: https://othersociologist.com/sociology-of-gende
    4. Learning, Lumen. “Introduction to Sociology.” Lumen Learning, Lumen, courses.lumenlearning.com/cochise-sociology-os/chapter/gender-identity-in-everyday-life/.
    5. McPhail, Beverly. “Questioning Gender and Sexuality Binaries.” Taylor and Francis Online, Www.tandfonline.com, 24 Oct. 2008, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J041v17n01_02.
    6. Suslovic, Brianna, et al. “THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER.” Feministing, Rachel, feministing.com/2009/04/23/the_social_construction_of_gen/.
    7. Zevallos, Zuleyka. “Sociology of Gender.” The Other Sociologist, The Other Sociologist, 29 June 2018, othersociologist.com/sociology-of-gender/.

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