The paper shall also take into account the role of the media and social stereotypes along with the role that different cultures play in the establishment of gender identities.
Gender identity refers to the roles of masculinity or femininity that are assigned to individuals on the basis of certain markers, in a certain society. This may vary from one culture to another and no fixed definition exists in society. These identities change over time as well and not just spatially. For instance the Victorian models of femininity have changed a lot and English women no longer abide by the codes of conduct that women in Jane Austen’s novels scrupulously followed. This, however, has certain similarities to the conduct expected of women of countries that were colonized by England. Apart from pointing to the fluid nature of gender identities, this phenomenon also points to the fact that gender identities are influenced by a
The sexual orientation of a person decides the partner that he or she may wish to enter into sexual intercourse with. The politics of sexual orientation, however, does not end with producing effects on the choice of a partner though. Desire and gender identities are closely linked and both affect the other. Judith Butler talks of this in her work, Undoing Gender, where she talks of how unconventional sexual orientations affect the conventional definitions of masculinity and femininity that are set by the society, thus offering a challenge to the conventional hierarchies in society (Butler, 2003). Both heterosexuality and homosexuality can offer challenges to oppressive heteronormative social setups; however, homosexual orientations have great effectiveness in challenging the social unit that is the most important factor in the perpetuation of heteronormative societies: the family. Homosexual units offer possibilities to the parties involved to redefine the nature of conjugal relationships and to restructure the society.
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