SOC327 2017 Tut4 – Wed 1530

How do you know if you’re a boy or girl, straight or gay, or something else altogether? Is it just obvious biology, something you’ve always known instinctively? Or is it something you’ve learned? What about your sexuality? Or what about your image of yourself as a sexual person?

While conventional perspectives focus on a hetero-normative image of men and women accompanied by prescribed male and female behaviours, and other perspectives gave range to a number of alternative conceptions – gay, lesbian, queer, transgender etc – the origins and repercussions of our sex, gender and sexuality are contested.

Some say that sexuality is fluid and eroticism is plastic, changing over the life course and in different contexts. Others point out that ‘obvious biological’ parts of our existence – our bodies – are increasingly altered to confirm to socially derived gendered stereotypes. Many women continue to alter themselves in ways ranging ‘beach ready body dieting to labiaplasty in pursuit of the perfect female form. Similarly, eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, and sales of protein enhancement and grooming products are steadily increasing amongst men.

What do you think? How much of our sex, gender and sexuality is innate and biological, and how much is environmental and social?

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21 Comments

  1. I think sex is solely the biological aspect of a person. Gender on the other hand, I feel is determined by culture, social constructs, and other social forces we are born into. Ethnicity, class, nationality, and language are important factors in relation to how we see ourselves and how we portray that back to those around us.
    On the other end of the spectrum you will find the socio-biology (nature) approach to sex and gender. This argues that the organization of biological reproductive characteristics, as well as human behaviour being innate, determined by our brain size, genes, or other biological attributes.
    The nature vs. nurture debate is respected from both ends, however, in my opinion social constructionism (nurture) makes more sense as it accepts gay, lesbian, queer, transgender etc more openly and without as much questioning as socio-biology.

  2. Sex is purely biological as it is what we are assigned with at birth. Our gender, on the other hand, is socially constructed and conditioned into us from a young age – even before we are born with the introduction of gender reveal parties (Ritzer 2016). Social ideologies are thrown at us from a young age – girls wear dresses, boys wear overalls, therefore; is gender biological if it is all we’ve ever known?

    Our expression of femininity and masculinity is linked in status and social capital (Skeggs 1998). Historically, non-heterosexuality was deviant and seen as a “threat to the gender order” (Patulny 2017). As a society, we are more tolerant, however; a lot of our sexuality may be hidden due to conditioned gender norms and behaviour, making it impossible to distinguish whether sexual/gender fluidity exists.

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  3. Whether an individual is female or male is biologically determined, but whether that individual’s gender is consistent with their assigned sex is something that can be shaped by social and environmental influences. From a young age, parents and caregivers typically begin to encourage gender-consistent behaviour and often discourage cross-sex activities. As a result of these social experiences, an individual learns from their culture a concept of what it means to be female or male, and adjusts their behaviour accordingly. This produces a set of expected behaviours for females and males to adhere to, known as gender norms. The reinforcement of these norms is evident through various mediums including toy manufacturing, books, clothing, film, media and product advertisements.

    Concerned with society’s gender preconceptions and prejudices often perpetuated by these mediums are parents who choose to raise a gender-neutral child. This decision is often done so in an effort to liberate the child from a society plagued by gender stereotypes and to encourage them to be whoever they want to be without feeling obliged to adhere to a set of gendered expectations. Although highly controversial, the reasoning behind gender neutral child-rearing is an important global issue which cannot be ignored. Swami’s (2016) article on the increasingly unattainable standards of the female figure, in conjunction with Hall’s (2015) feature on the negative health impacts of body pressures highlight the danger of socially derived gendered stereotypes.

  4. I feel that sexuality is fluid and our sexual preference can be altered depending on our environment. I think gender is something we are born with and is static, because of our genetic makeup. Unless, of course, a person decides to change their gender they must physically or chemically change their biological makeup. When I reflect on of all of the things I have done to reinforce my femininity such as make up, push up bra’s and high heels not to mention the surgical procedures such as botox and body altering medications I have to wonder why I feel compelled to do such things to myself. At the end of the day I am assuming I looked like a woman anyway and therefore I was not trying to change something but enhance and conform to what society expected of me as a woman. i worked in a company that valued looks and femininity and so I would wear flat shoes to the door of my office and then i would put my heels on. I dont know why this would make a difference to how I performed my role but clearly I did t anyway, if anything heels just slowed me down.

  5. Our biological sex is determined by our DNA but our gender is strongly influenced by our sex resulting from years of reinforcement. From the time that we are born, our mothers dress us in certain colours that match our gender according to society – Pink for girls, blue for boys. The toys we are encouraged to play with – dolls and prams for girls, cars and trains for boys all influence the way a child begins to understand the world and what is expected from them. However, in society we see masculine women and feminine men who display a gender orientation that opposes their biological sex. So it seems that no matter what influence society has on our gender, there may be something built in that overrules everything else.
    We also see that the roles assigned to either gender (male or female) can vary from culture to culture as well as sexuality and sexual orientation being open to fluidity. While some cultures are more willing to experiment sexually, others frown on such a thing therefore people may suppress or hide any urges or desires.
    Davis (2009) discusses our assertion of femininity and masculinity and how even in online society the representation of gender is an important way of conferring identity. Online game rooms allow players to design or over-emphasise their avatar, but over-exaggerated forms raise questions of authenticity which can destabalise online social interaction. It can make people feel uncomfortable.
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  6. Full lips and round buttocks. Large perky breasts. A flat stomach. The ‘thigh gap’. The ‘thighbrow’. Hair removal on vaginas, on underarms, and on legs. Tanned lean bodies with muscular definition. Thick full eyebrows, accentuated by flawless makeup. Shiny hair. Manicured fingers and pedicured toes. Should I keep going? It is undeniable that in 2017, many women feel that they must adopt at least some of these attributes to be considered (conventionally) beautiful.

    I want to start by saying that I do not consider these things to be true markers of beauty. In actuality, I am opposed to a large number of them. I stand by the belief that every person should be free to choose how they wish to present themselves, free from all social pressures. Alas, this will never happen. Let’s face it; we all succumb to some level of socially constructed notions of femininity (or masculinity) whether we like it or not. We all want to look, and therefore feel, beautiful or attractive. I know I do.

    Although beauty may originate in our bodies, and therefore is obviously biological, it is by and large socially constructed. For example, when I was younger I had naturally thick eyebrows. Rewind to the 90s. This is a decade which embraced all things big and baggy. It embraced overalls, scunchies, high waisted jeans, and high top sneakers, yet, for some reason, it did not embrace ‘the eyebrows’. Big eyebrows were ugly and masculine. So, as you can all appreciate, I took to them with tweezers like an overzealous hairdresser with a new pair of scissors. But that’s a story for another day. Lucky for me, big eyebrows have made a comeback. And not in a bad ‘80s Madonna’ kind of way, but in a slick ‘Kim Kardashian’ kind of way.

    In light of this observation, can we say that we are embracing natural eyebrows? Or are we once again, simply conforming to social standards of beauty? I lean towards the latter. Therefore, my eyebrow example supports how socially constructed notions of beauty may originate in one’s biological physicality. However, it is how we define beauty which may considered fluid, as it subject to change over time.

    This concept is analysed by Beverly Skeggs. She argues that ‘glamour’ allows certain women access to power. However, due to their cultural capital, this is only available to middle class women. Therefore, the more attributes, or socially acceptable markers of beauty one is able to adopt, or achieve, the better. These social markers are encouraged, and in some cases even created, by the media and the market. For example, the more glamorous a woman, the greater access she has to employment, to all types of relationships, and therefore, to the market. This builds confidence, which in turn reinforces these markers of beauty.

    Therefore, ‘the eyebrows’ are an example how socially constructed notions of beauty may originate in biological physicality. However, it is how we define beauty, and thus our eyebrows, which is considered fluid.

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  7. Last week’s lecture highlighted several key points from Judith Butler in relation to sex and gender. Butler argues that sex is biological and that an individual’s body has pre-determined norms in regards to their sex before the individual’s gender is even considered.

    Perhaps one could argue that factors such as sexuality and feminine and/or masculine traits are developed as an individual’s maturity grows over time. For example, feminine traits are typically learnt as young girls grow to become women. In terms of sexuality, some women would make a conscious effort to dress in clothing that presented them as glamorous (Skeggs 2005, p. 131). This is very much developed through environmental and social concepts as opposed to biology. The aim would be to refrain from any mannerisms or actions that appeared to be aggressive or controlling, particularly in relation to their sexuality. Traditionally, it is through this conscious effort that women might work towards being glamorous (Skeggs 2005, p. 131).

    One could also argue that the way in which individuals view themselves, or how they want others to view them, is something which they grow to know instinctively and is something which they can alter to their desires. This is evident through the creation of online avatars (Davis 2009, p. 28). Online users have the option to alter their avatars in conjunction with the social experiences presented to them (Davis 2009, p. 28).

    Our gender and sexuality can be more environmental and social as opposed to innate and biological. For example, an “ideal” image of a woman’s beach body continues to change over time (Swami 2016). The one presented by The Weight Loss Collection, an advertisement that was found in London, reminds us of how the “ideal” image is becoming more and more unattainable (Swami 2016).

    A significantly large portion of gender and sexuality seems to be environmental and social. We learn to perform mannerisms which allow us to identify with the gender connected to our identity (Skeggs 2009, p. 133).

    Reference List

    Davis, M 2009, ‘Technologies and sexual citizenship’, in Sex, Technology, and Public Health, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 22-47.

    Skeggs, B 2005, ‘Ambivalent femininities’, in M Fraser & M Greco (eds.), The Body: A Reader, Routledge, London, pp. 129-134.

    Swami, V 2016, ‘Women’s idealised bodies have changed dramatically over time – but are standards becoming more unattainable?’, The Conversation, 13 September, viewed 28 March 2017, https://theconversation.com/womens-idealised-bodies-have-changed-dramatically-over-time-but-are-standards-becoming-more-unattainable-64936

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  8. I believe that a person’s sex is completely biological. We are either born as a female, having two of the same kind of sex chromosomes (XX), or a male, with two distinct sex chromosomes (XY). Gender however, is something I view as socially constructed, and is determined by culture, popular themes and rituals, as well as how we feel.

    A reason for this is that sex forever stays the same, throughout history we have only had males or females. Gender and its stereotypes have changed throughout history, what society deems as feminine and masculine is constantly changing around institutions like fashion for example. In the early 1900’s it was feminine to be voluptuous, and in different cultures this was celebrated for different reasons, like the ability to feed a child. This evolved to the era of the unachievably skinny woman, and now strong seems to be what makes a ‘woman’. Both men and women alter our bodies to conform to these socially derived gendered stereotypes, because they make the content seem so ‘right’. We are so in tune to what is ‘on trend’, so much so that we are willing to go to levels of change that mean going under the knife, or dedicating all our time to fit these moulds, of what characterises a certain gender.

    Sexual fluidity is something that has become more accepted in society, with the movement for acceptance of the LGBTI community gaining traction globally. Sexual fluidity and erotic plasticity are two things that not all people identify as being, with research showing that there are those who identify as clearly gay, lesbian or straight.

  9. I believe that a person’s sex is completely biological. We are either born as a female, having two of the same kind of sex chromosomes (XX), or a male, with two distinct sex chromosomes (XY). Gender however, is something I view as socially constructed, and is determined by culture, popular themes and rituals, as well as how we feel.

    A reason for this is that sex forever stays the same, throughout history we have only had males or females. Gender and its stereotypes have changed throughout history, what society deems as feminine and masculine is constantly changing around institutions like fashion for example. In the early 1900’s it was feminine to be voluptuous, and in different cultures this was celebrated for different reasons, like the ability to feed a child. This evolved to the era of the unachievably skinny woman, and now strong seems to be what makes a ‘woman’. Both men and women alter our bodies to conform to these socially derived gendered stereotypes, because they make the content seem so ‘right’. We are so in tune to what is ‘on trend’, so much so that we are willing to go to levels of change that mean going under the knife, or dedicating all our time to fit these moulds, of what characterises a certain gender.

    Sexual fluidity is something that has become more accepted in society, with the movement for acceptance of the LGBTI community gaining traction globally. Sexual fluidity and erotic plasticity are two things that not all people identify as being, with research showing that there are those who identify as clearly gay, lesbian or straight.

    #S327UOW17 #tut4 #Wed1530‬

  10. I think that sex is a biological based thing. Sex is a thing that is determined by the body parts you are born with. Gender, on the other hand, is environmentally and socially constructed. Femininity and masculinity are things we are taught. From a very early age we are taught that girls like barbies, high heels and makeup and boy like cars, trucks and dinosaurs. We are also taught that colour has gender specifications as well, like purple and pink are for girls and blue and green are for boys. Just about everything can be assigned by gender, including: clothes, toys, hair styles, even sports and music are assigned by gender.

    I personally think that society has labels they like to assign to people. People have to fit into groups that are assigned by society. Sex and gender, for society – especially those of the past – are considered to go hand in hand. People are expected to act and dress and basically maintain the identity/gender they are given by the sex they were born with. When people go against these social norms people become confused and even angry and stressed. It is here that society makes up sub-groups such as ‘tom-boys’ to make themselves feel like everything is normal again.

    For most of my life I haven’t strictly followed the norms expected of the female sex, all my teenage years i wore ‘boy clothes’ (mainly band shits), rode motorbikes, went hunting and did a whole bunch of things that weren’t considered ‘girly’. I was described as a ‘tom-boy’, as ‘different’, as a ‘pretty bogan’. People were uncomfortable that I didn’t fit their expectations of what I should be so they made their own category to put me in. These categories are seen all through society these days, it can be seen most predominately in the LGBTI community.

    It is important to note that society these days is becoming increasingly accepting of the different ways gender can be portrayed and displayed and the fact that gender isn’t assigned by sex. There is still a way to go before it is fully accepted but we are well on our way to it.

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  11. I believe that sex and gender go hand in hand. Sex, as how we are biologically born and gender as the expression of that sex. In the case of a transgender person for example, they often alter their biology through the use of hormones, sex reassignment surgery, etc to match their felt gender. This proves that sex and gender are inextricably linked.

    I think that male and female biologically do have different traits that make each sex unique. Thus our gender expression is different, a difference labelled as femininity and masculinity. Society however takes these differences and overly enforces them so we are conditioned to act and express ourselves in a certain way before we’ve even had the chance to figure it out for ourselves. The most cliche example is how from a young age girls are encouraged to play with dolls and boys with trucks. I don’t believe however that if all social pressure was taken away from young children that girls wouldn’t necessarily be more inclined to reach for a doll and boys to a truck. The things we play with and ways we play as children point to our biological differences, and these differences are good. The problem I think is that society has created neat little boxes to label people into that are far too narrow and finite. There needs to be more room allowed for people to express their gender as not all women have strictly what is defined as ‘feminine’ traits and not all men ‘masculine’ ones. Society’s definition of feminine and masculine traits are too restrictive and often ‘masculine’ traits are given more value than ‘feminine’ ones. Differences between men and women need to be celebrated, not incessantly labelled and put into a box.

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  12. Sex is generally understood to be the biological characteristics that make up human bodies, that being if you have a penis you are male and a vagina you are female. However, the arguments presented by Judith Butler make the point that sex is in fact not used to describe ‘raw bodies’, but rather is a cultural practice (sex ascription) that shapes bodies (Putulny 2017; Butler 1993). The labelling of individuals at birth as male or female gives rise to two normative sexes, which become fundamental to an individual’s identity (Putulny 2017). However, this becomes an issue when individuals do not exclusively fit into these prescribed ‘sexes’. For example, transgender, intersex or gender-fluid persons.

    Gender on the other hand is perceived to be an exclusive social construct, that impacts how individuals perform their assigned sex in a socially acknowledge way. For women this is accomplished through adequate representations of femininity, which was, and possibly still is, greatly impacted by ones social status in society (Skeggs 2005). This process is not exclusively female, rather men also experience similar constraints that shape their projection of themselves as masculine individuals (Putulny 2017). Some sociologists have argued that men’s expression of gender and masculinity is more tightly policed than their female counterparts, as the Western world still places higher value on masculinity (Halberstam 2004). However, girls who continue to show identification with tomboyism in puberty are meet with equal amounts of social constraint (Halberstam 2004). This is because such identification is associated with sexual deviance, often being linked to lesbianism or transexuality, which usually results in forms of extreme punishment (Halberstam 2004; Butler 2011).

    This brings me finally to how sexuality is experienced, and constrained, in Western society. Whilst, although gradually, sexuality is beginning to be seen as innate and biological rather than environmental, individuals who express sexual preferences other than exclusive heterosexuality are still punished. This links back with gender, and the gendered expectations that are placed on individuals, for example, a woman is expected to grow up, get married to a man and have 2.6 kids. Such expectations do not include lesbian or gay couples, transsexuals, asexuals or individuals who are otherwise alone. Such expectations surrounding sexuality, even though it is being accepted as biological, and gender expectations greatly impact the lives of individuals, especially if they deviate from the established ‘norms’.

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  13. I think that sex, whilst being biological, does not limit your gender in anyway. I believe that sexual identity, social image is all a subjective turn, and depends on the individual themselves. I think that our bodies may have been influenced in some way to fit into certain gender roles in the past, but in today’s society it is more open and accepting for individuals to fit into where ever they seem fit.

    I do believe that environment may impact the way an individual sees themselves, but in contrast it’s also possible it may have no effect. For example; a male individual who grows up in a heavy Catholic environment might be less likely to portray themselves in a less masculine way.

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  14. With sex being seen as biological and gender referenced to have significant impacts that are derived from environmental and social influences, it is evident that the two are inextricably linked. For those born into the wrong body, the ability to alter and present your body as the true identity that an individual feels it is has become more socially acceptable and encouraged throughout society.

    Gender-based activities and behaviour are enforced usually from birth, whether it be from parents or manufacturing companies creating gender-specific toys; pink for girls and blue for boys is a global theme for gender representation. In contrast to this, it is becoming common for carers/parents to raise their child through a neutralised approach. Having them dress how they so desire and ultimately have the ability and freedom to be who they feel they are, whether that be to a specific gender, or to a fluid, non-binary conforming gender.

    Growing up, my “style” of clothing would change each week, one week I could be dressed as any other girl, the next I’d be one of the boys. I don’t feel like I need to conform to a stereotypical female appearance, however being a gay woman gives society an explanation as to why I may dress more so like a male at times. I personally feel that certain parts of society need these labels to have closure as to why certain individuals make particular choices.

    The article presented by Swami (2016), gave great context and explanation towards a females unrealistic image. Additionally, Davis’s literature (2009) based on online avatars, explored the freedom of choice within appearance online. This highlights the influence of labels and stereotypes that constrict certain individuals.

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  15. It is important to understand that there is a difference between what sex and gender are and how that is understood by society. Sex is a biological concept and refers to the sex that we are born with which is either male or female and determined by a particular set of chromosomes. However, gender is a socially constructed term used in society to attribute particular norms and characteristics to being either a girl or a boy, being either feminine or masculine respectively. It does not always correlate to the sex that we are as girls may be seen being rational which is deemed ‘masculine’ whereas a boy who may be more emotional about a situation can be seen as being more ‘feminine’. It includes things such as how we feel, dress, behave and our roles and expectations within society. For example, a traditional norm for dressing babies when they are born is pink for girls and blue for boys. Why is this so? Is it to help others within society to correctly identify what sex your child is, based upon how they are dressed or is that the socially acceptable behaviour within our society that people do without consciously thinking about it?
    In the lecture, it was discussed about the gendered construction of the body and how culture has played a role in influencing and shaping it in all of us and from an early age. We have seen through history how the notion of gender has shaped our society and how it impacts on how we are viewed by not only ourselves but by others.
    In the reading by Skeggs (1998), she discusses the notion of femininity at the end of the 19th century and how it was linked to class. Middle class white women were seen as the epitome of femininity due to how they dressed and behaved with respectability unlike their working class counterparts who viewed as the ‘other’ to femininity. On these assumptions, judgments were made about a woman’s femininity and sexuality based upon their appearance and their class, that a middle class woman was not sexual but feminine and a working class woman was sexual but not feminine. I think that still in today’s society we make judgements of people, particularly women, based upon their appearance and assumptions as to the kind of person they are.

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  16. I think that sex is biological within a person, although our sexuality and our gender are influenced by the environment. Generally from a young age we are somewhat conditioned such as “don’t behave like that, a lady wouldn’t act like that” or to be “strong and tough” like a male. We are told the certain ways in which a male or female is supposed to act or behave.

    The social image however toward male and female is constantly changing as we evolve from what type of body image is “sexy” on a male or female for example tattoos are becoming a big thing with both male and female and these are things that would not have been as socially acceptable 20-30 years ago

    I believe the environment in which we surround ourselves heavily impacts the way we display ourselves in society.

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  17. Our bodies seem to prescribe our sex based solely on natural and scientific elements contained within our bodies. However, we mould and change our bodies in order to fit into categories etched out by social norms and ideals. Shouldn’t the naturalness of our bodies automatically legitimise our identities and thus, eliminate the need for social alterations of our bodies? Through exploring the transformations we undergo within our social and culturally distinct contexts, we can see that our bodies need to change in order to truly abide by social codes concerning sex, gender, and sexuality.

    The labels and categories we sort people into from birth are constituted of meaning specific to certain cultural ideals. We can see this come into play with the continual contestation taking place concerning gender as a social contract rather than a definite piece of biological data. Butler (1993) states that gender is a performance rather than being biologically determined. Another interesting outlook which subverts naturalising views of gender is that of Tyler Ford (2015). In this clip Ford (2015) presents how they view themselves as agender;, i.e. as neither female/feminine or male/masculine but rather placed somewhere on the spectrum that is gender. This identity for Ford (2015) is something that is deeply opposed within society as it eliminates gender boundaries and contests our very understanding of gender. Gender, as outlined by Butler (1993), Ford (2015), and others, is something that is created through and by social and cultural elements.

    Traditionally gender is understood as something that is natural and biologically prescribed at birth the same as sex is, but gender is greatly being redefined. Is sex classification something that we need to analyse? Is sex categorisation and the way we view our bodies in social and cultural contexts something that needs to be viewed the way gender is? We hold a lot of weight to the value of biological sex as a scientific fact but is there more to this that is socially produced?

    Reference List

    Butler, J 1993, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”, Routledge, New York.

    StyleLikeU 2015, Move Over, Gender Binary!: Tyler Ford, YouTube video, 21 September, viewed 23rd March 2017, .

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  18. A person’s sex is largely biological and carries pre-existing expectations prior to one’s birth. However, a person’s gender and sexuality is acculturated or socially developed over time through personal experiences, culture, technology, or their environment.

    An individual’s sexuality is no longer constrained to one sexual preference of heterosexual or homosexual orientation. In today’s society, “Sexual preferences are not set in stone and can change over time…this has been described as sexual fluidity” (Selterman 2015). In addition, another term coined as erotic plasticity shows how one’s personal environment and influences within this setting can have a huge impact on their sexual preferences and change their attitudes or behaviour (Selterman 2015). When observing these fluid sexual preferences and determinates of one’s sexual desires, we can see how one’s sexuality is not determined on your gender or sex. Sexuality is influenced by an array of concepts in today’s society, one of those being technology and “…internet-mediated sexual practices” changing the way sexual preference can be performed (David 2009, p.23). In this sense, sexuality is an every changing fluid concept, with many outside factors influencing one’s sexual preferences.

    Across history, body image and how one presents them self has become the determining factor of a person’s gender, their desirability in society, and their social status. This can be seen through women who alter their bodies to conform to socially idealised gendered stereotypes. Women have been adapting their bodies to suit societies expectations since the Stone Age 100, 000 years ago (Swami 2016). This can be seen through the busty, round Venus figurine found at Stonehenge and the 19th century artists such as Rembrandt who depicted women with round faces and pear shaped bodies (Swami 2016). Over time, women’s body image began to develop into a slimmer shape, with the expectations of a small waist and slender legs. This image later carried into the “…mass media and helped to create a standardisation of beauty ideals… (seen in) movies and magazines, as well as Hollywood stars” (Swami 2016). This image has not become unpopular over time, but gained momentum in modern society with new trends of bikini bodies and thin toned women as the new craze to influence gendered societal expectations of women. All such bodily images have become the defining factors in how women fit within their gender and how they are expected to present them selves within society. This in turn, has made depression, insecurities in one’s own body, eating disorders and unhealthy lifestyles common problems within our society today.

    Through looking at these concepts, I do believe a person’s gender and sexuality is “…something they have learnt to perform” or are influenced by in their society, environment, culture, the media, and western ideals of beauty (Skeggs 2005, p. 133).

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  19. Although sex, gender and sexuality have been historically defined by biological differences, the definitions and meanings have expanded to include the modern variations. To say gender and sexuality are explicit of a biological nature (in my opinion) is incorrect, as this viewpoint does not account for how one psychologically processes (internal factors), let alone the social and environmental factors (external) that might influence/alter one’s gender and sexuality. I feel that it is a combination of all three that determines how one considers themselves in this context. In saying this, I believe that both gender and sexuality can be fluid. In the sense that both can be altered (perhaps, drift) depending on the context of one’s life.

    Additionally, rigid gendered roles have historically determined the need for alteration and conformity to the expectations placed by these roles, in short – to fit a certain mould dictated by society. These expectations have become normalised and further solidified by society. Those who did not fit this mould, tend to be labelled as outcasts of society.

    Though, Swami (2016) argues that recent uprising against unattainable beauty standards has been due to a resurgence of feminism that has inspired women to reject these norms. However, gendered roles have always been challenged and rejected through many forms of feminist and queer theory over the years. Challenging the expectations of women and their roles, for example: not be submissive, powerless, play the role of the perfect housewife and mother, nor have their own careers and make their own money.

    One can only hope that movements away from normalised expectations of sex, gender and sexualities, society can be more accepting and respectful of modern-day variations.

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  20. This is a controversial topic that some people find really hard to comprehend and understand.
    The idea of sex is a biological part of our life, something innate that we are born with. Though, Gender can be seen as a social construct, an aspect of life that we have been taught and grow around. From such a young age we are not only taught but expected to follow the expectations of our particular gender. These stereotypes are as simple as boys wear blue and girls wear pink. (Butler). This idea can relate directly to the Skeggs reading where she speaks about the women needing to dress appropriate to seem “glamourous. So in saying that, this is more or less a something forced onto women to make them seem more feminine

    Furthermore, I believe that although someone is biologically born male or female, this doesn’t necessarily determine their gender. Gender is and can be determined through both social and environmental factors which allow one to shape their identity.

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  21. People are born with their sex, gender and sexuality. In the present century, women are able to determine the sex of their child, hence even before the baby is born, women can decorate the nursery of a baby and buy all the clothe and necessities for the baby. This has led to shops categorizing the clothes for children and babies. Male children are always given clothes that are in the colour blue, whereas female children are made to wear pink coloured clothes. Skeggs states that in the nineteenth century women were separated into classes and the middle class women believed that they were more feminine than the low class women, as femininity requires the presentation of different classes, their behaviour and code of conduct as well as the amount of capital and living standards that they have in society. Skeggs also argues that ‘glamour is a way of holding together sexuality and respectability.’ Women needed to carefully negotiate the boundaries surrounding their expression of sexuality.
    Nature and nurture both play a strong role in helping us determine our sex and sexuality. Many people who are born as women, feel that they are stuck in the wrong body and wish to become males. This is because even though we may be born with a particular gender, by living in the current society and mixing with other people, helps people develop their true self identity and sexuality. It is incorrect that society and the laws look down upon or criticise, homosexual and transgender people. This has lead to several issues such as cyber sex, where Davis expresses that cyber sex provides the means for practicing same sex desire as many people can create identities and even homosexual people can attract other heterosexual people by having identities of the opposite sex and hence make the men or women interested in them, thus satisfying their sexual pleasure.
    Unfortunately in the twenty first century, Davis states how xeno transplantation and genetic modification technologies have breached the boundary between human and other forms of life. This is true because the concept of eugenics is very popular and the woman is allowed to decide the features of her child and even change the gender of her child, before the birth of the child. Earlier, women were allowed only to store the stem cells of the umbilical cord of their children, to help them in the future, however eugenics is an extreme topic that is violating the privacy of a fetus even before it has been born. people today are drawn towards breast implantations and plastic surgery that allows them to look extremely beautiful and accepted in society, in the case of people who wish to have a change in their gender.
    The contraceptive pill has also allowed women to have sexual pleasure without creating massive barriers in her life. The creation of the contraception pill and the condom has helped stop the spread of several sexually transmitted diseases. However, Marshall states that several pharmaceutical companies fund these clinical research concerning sexual dysfunction as they know they can make a lot of profit and better sales when people buy their products. This shows how society works in a circle as although the rules that we follow are set by society, it also provides several alternatives and loopholes for the people to break the rules and live their life.

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