Chapter two of Launius and Hassel examine the idea of gender social construction. In order to pave the groundwork for the principles of the social construction of identity, the pair first distinguishes between sex and gender. In reality, from the traditional point of view, these two words are sometimes used interchangeably. By taking the contrast between the two words to the fore, Launius et al. prepare the reader to understand how gender is affected by socialization. According to the duo, sex denotes biological, genetic and physiological features of a person while gender denotes a person’s behavior (Launius et al. 27). Such a distinction is important when matters of feminism and gender are being discussed. With a clear explanation of the concept of gender and sex, the authors set a precedent for an understanding of the social construction.
From the viewpoint of persons who believe that gender is socially constructed, the current binary/gender system is an affirmation that there are more than two sexes and two genders in the modern society. From a personal perspective, this assertion in the chapter is factual. The rationale for such a perspective is that by restricting the genders and sexes to the conventional view, the LGBT groups remain discriminated. The authors explore other concepts in the chapter, which critical for the understanding of the concept of gender. Therefore, it is only through an understanding of the concepts of sex and gender that one can relate to the subject matter.
Launius et al. (31) identify the sites where gender construction processes may take place as education, family, religion, sports, legal and criminal justice systems and the popular culture and media. The identified sites resonate with what I have always perceived to play a critical role in a persons perception of things in life, gender inclusive. The duo then proceeds to elaborate how each of the sites influences a persons construction of gender. For instance, in the family setting, children are conditioned to perceive some roles as for women while others remain a preserve of the men. Consequently, children form their gender perspectives based on the roles they are assigned in the family. Through such an explanation, Launius et al. make it simpler to understand the concept of gender construction. In their argument, they affirm that the conditioning of a person is contributory to the way they think about gender. Most importantly, just as other aspects of life, a person gets accustomed to a particular view based on their environments. Therefore, the authors are right to implicate the mentioned sites as factors in the social construction of gender.
Perhaps the strongest concept of the chapter is rape culture. I concur with the authors that many cases of rapes go unnoticed, as the women have normalized it as part of the life of the females. Specifically, the women contend that the abuse by men is part of the norm in society. According to Herman (49), men are conditioned to show their masculinity in the society. Part of that is the contempt of anything feminine (Herman 49). Through this, both authors affirm that the spread of the rape culture is as a result of the social construction of gender. Both men and women view rape culture as part of life primarily due to the social construction. Concurrently, the perspective offered by the authors about rape culture is informative and could form a point of departure towards alleviating the problem from our societies conclusively.
Herman, Dianne. “The rape culture.” Culture 1.10 (1988): 45-53.
Launius, Christie, and Holly Hassel. Threshold concepts in womens and gender studies: Ways of seeing, thinking, and knowing. London: Routledge, 2014.
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