The Sociology of Gender: Theoretical Perspectives and Feminist Frameworks – Distinguishing Sex and Gender

Sex refers to the biological characteristics distinguishing male and female.
This definition emphasizes male and female differences in chromosomes, anatomy,
hormones, reproductive systems, and other physiological components. Gender
refers to those social, cultural, and psychological traits linked to males and females
through particular social contexts. Sex makes us male or female; gender makes us
masculine or feminine. Sex is an ascribed status because a person is born with it, but
gender is an achieved status because it must be learned.
This relatively simple distinction masks a number of problems associated with
its usage. It implies that all people can be conveniently placed into unambiguous
“either–or” categories. Certainly the ascribed status of sex is less likely to be altered
than the achieved status of gender. Some people believe, however, that they were
born with the “wrong” body and are willing to undergo major surgery to make their
gender identity consistent with their biological sex. Sexual orientation, the
preference for sexual partners of one gender (sex) or the other, also varies. People
who experience sexual pleasure with members of their own sex are likely to
consider themselves masculine or feminine according to gender norms. Others are
born with ambiguous sex characteristics and may be assigned one sex at birth but
develop a different identity related to gender. Some cultures allow people to move
freely between genders, regardless of their biological sex.

Ive been looking at gender roles and and the main thing that arises from linguistic formations, or the way it is expressed in relation to gender, seems to be sexuality and sexuality is discursive because of gender, so im going to concentrate on that area, and narrow it down a bit, because prior I was looking at gender roles in different societies and what it meant to be a man and what it meant to be female, and what happens if it is not that way which can cross over into sexuality, that’s not to say it always does, for example I watched a program on sex changes, whilst watching it I wondered if sexuality had anything to do with the sex change process, I assumed that if a man wanted to be a women he might be attracted to men so in a sense it would make him a straight women, but factually a gay man? confusing right? so yeah, I assumed this, but after watching it and realising that they are 2 completely separate things and that sexuality is more of an aftermath as opposed to the initial idea of a sex change, it got me onto this track about gender and sexuality. 

Rachael Ellis


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