Surely, each of us saw or heard from a person the phrase: “I feel more feminine / masculine in myself.” But what does that even mean? How can you feel more like a woman than a man or vice versa? What is the difference between gender and gender , and should I pay attention to this?
The concept of gender and gender
Gender arises as a sense of self . It describes gender affiliation at a psychological level and is shaped by society and culture, expresses a social model of behavior for men and women. In the case of such a thing as “male / female” only biological accessories are taken into account, namely, the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the body, which define people as male or female.
While the “sex” is beyond the control of man and depends to a large extent only on what organ nature has awarded him, “gender” is an acquired and changeable concept , a person can control him under social influence.
You can be a woman, but feel more like a man. This is not related to orientation, the difference is in behavior. And it is this feeling that reflects gender.
Gender in society
Many, perhaps, have heard such an expression as “gender stereotypes.”
They take place when society determines or ascribes any characteristics to men and women. For example, the stereotype that guys should always take the first step, or that the place of girls in the kitchen. These are the features that, according to society, characterize a person as a man or woman.
When the family is expecting a baby, and according to the results of ultrasound, they know that they will have a girl, parents are already trying to form the gender of the unborn child. They buy pink dresses, skirts, dolls and many other things that girls tend to have in society.
When a child grows up, then his gender most often coincides with the biological gender. However, what cannot be instilled from birth is gender identity . A man independently defines himself as a man or a woman. He may feel uncomfortable if society assigns him a gender status corresponding to the biological sex, although in reality a person feels like a guy in the body of a girl or vice versa. This happens because society itself is quite conservative, and perceives only standard and centuries-old gender attitudes.
Social gender (gender) is characterized by two important features:
Change over time – today’s expectations and norms regarding men and women differ from those that were back in the 19th century. For example, women in Russia have owned suffrage only for the past 112 years, and their provision in 1917 is not an expression of evolutionary changes, but the fact that the provisions allowing only men to vote earlier were only a social agreement.
Change in space – these changes are closely related to the cultural context stemming from traditions, religion and customs. The situation of women (and men) in Western European countries is different from that in Africa and the Middle East. It all depends on what are the traditional roles of women and men, what patterns of their behavior prevail in this environment. Take even the most ordinary example. In villages it is more difficult to live in contradiction with the standards of the biological sex, because in small communities any “deviation from the norm” is striking, and the population of villages is lagging behind in a civilized and tolerant development.
But to feel different, not in accordance with gender, is normal. And this can happen throughout life or only in certain periods.
The term “gender” in the literature
The first comparisons of biological sex and gender were mentioned in the publication of psychologist and anthropologist Robert J. Stoller, “Sex and Gender: Developing Masculinity and Femininity,” published in 1968, where the author drew his conclusions from a psychoanalytic study of men with – as he described it – psycho -sexual disorders (transvestites, transgender people). Stoller emphasizes: “The difference between gender and gender is that gender is biological, gender is a psychological, and therefore a cultural phenomenon.” For sociology, the term “gender” was coined by Ann Oakley in 1972 in the book “Gender, Gender, and Society.”
In Russia, it is not customary to discuss gender. Attempts to identify oneself by gender are often denounced or misunderstood. Although in other countries a lot of attention is paid to this phenomenon. The concepts of “gender”, “gender”, “sexual orientation” are completely different things, and each of them somehow characterizes a person. Studying these aspects allows you to better understand yourself and others. The emergence of such a concept as “gender” allows you to go beyond the traditional perception of gender and avoid the traps of simplified masculinity and femininity, which is part of the stereotypical theory of social roles. “Courageous” women and “feminine” men are very common, and this is precisely the reflection of gender. This state of affairs is the norm, although it has not been fully studied.