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Implications of Society’s Imposition of Gender

Before proceeding, allow me to make a couple things clear.

Sex: Biological lines of differentiation between males, females and hermaphrodites.

Gender: Socially acquired characteristics which is associated with a particular sex.

Transsexual: An individual who psychologically believes s/he belongs to the opposite sex.

So, now that we’ve got that cleared up, it pretty much was a regular day until I stumbled upon feminist arguments of Oakley and Mead (the biggies), and how truthfully ambiguous social lines of differentiation are on the basis of sex and how pathetic they seem to be. In contrast, we have sociologists like Murdock talking about how men simply exist to be biologically and mentally superior to women, denoting them with the inherent right and opportunity to draw the line of the sexual division of labour.

Well, I think functionalists’ arguments against feminism is awfully problematic.

Truth to be told, an infant is not born into society knowing and completely understanding its inherent role and responsibility in society. Instead, this is a process through which socialisation tends to and attempts to ensure, and through sanctions, this individual conforms to such socially-imposed roles. It’s sadistic in nature to think that before an infant can even physically walk or talk that her or his future is laid out in front of her or him, on the basis of physiological differences.

Instead, this entire concept of masculinity and femininity is a terrible social construct. It’s terrible even thinking of the idea that the two exist as mutually exclusive counterparts and must go hand-in-hand to an individual’s genetic makeup. I’m positive that the opportunity of autonomy of individuals, if not forced under the aristocratic nature of society and its totalitarian imposition, would allow individuals to discover their true selves, rather than being socialised into society’s vision of a perfect ‘male’ or a perfect ‘female’ (whatever those words mean).

Personally, I believe, this philosophy is counter-intuitive. There have been multiple examples in the past of individuals committing suicide or instead becoming rebellious and deviant in nature because of social forces that surround an individual. Societal forces like the family and education never cease to comment on someone’s masculine nature if it’s a girl, or a boy’s feminine persona in a sarcastic and witty manner. Instead of imposing these informal sanctions, why can’t society simply allow an individual to hone and discover his or her own self? I find it terribly problematic at how other students, teachers, relatives, or essentially anyone can comment on such charismatic features of a boy or girl and continue to be commended on their comment because of its conformist nature and their compellingly functionalist outlook on life.

Sadly, life isn’t that easy for every individual. I personally know many students and have many friends who undergo this issue of being labelled negatively, picked at, spoken rudely at, amongst many other things—simply because of their own social and egoistic temperament which society and external communities inhales and judges them upon. It’s a terribly devastating reality, and I can’t help but to feel sorry for these people because I, myself, have seen such comments passed informally and although my voice alone is not enough to counter an entire systematic value incorporated into conservative societies, I still linger on to hope of a future society where mentality will be more flexible and socialisation to continue to evolve as a two-way process.




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