Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

The Social Construction of Gender – Lorber

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Think about a tradition your family has. Can you think of a reason why that tradition exists? Most people would say, “because we’ve always done it.” This is the way I relate gender roles to society after reading Lorber’s article. She shares that sex, as in male or female, is something you are born with; yet, gender is something you learn to be. Society has certain characteristics that define a female and a male. With those rules before us, are we supposed to accept them and play that role?

“Individuals learn what is expected, see what is expected, act and react in expected ways, and thus simultaneously construct and maintain the gender order.” This quote from Lorber’s article really made me realize how warped our gender roles have become. They were formed long, long ago. Now, we feel the need to maintain them simply because we always have. A woman is expected to be weak, emotional, and unqualified for hard labor. Why? Because that’s how things were decades ago… centuries ago. As society changes, gender roles must also take a part in that change.


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