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Gender and Sexuality - Essay Example

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Gender and Sexuality

The concept of patriarchy arises from such theorizing. Parents thus have a socially constructed world view of gender which is transmitted to a child at birth which transmits to adulthood. Gender then influences all relationships and development in human lives. Traditional attitude to gender, too, is defined in terms of strictly defined categories. While men are supposed to be rational, stoic, independent, aggressive and oriented towards success, women are considered to be carers, emotional, nurturing, dependent, selfless and oriented towards relationships (Walsh). Individuals are strictly judged according to these traits and differences between genders are overemphasized. In such gender categozitaion, women's characteristics in men's attitude or vice versa are considered in a derogatory manner. Hence, as women are accepted as the normal carers, men's role in childbirth or parenting is de-emphasized. This paper will first discuss in more detail the concept of identity, gender and sexuality and then contextualize it to the specific case of fatherhood and marriage relations.
The western approach to sexual identities is based largely on Judeo-Christian religious doctrines. In the 19th century, the power to control sexual identities shifted from the religious authorities to the medical communities that related sexual identities to biological essentialism (Dreger, 1998; Herdt, 1996). The biological approach to sexual identities was primarily based on the Darwinist binary notion of heterosexuality that was considered to be the teleological form of evolution to the highest form.
Even though feminist psychology broadly follows the positivist approach to the human mind, many feminists have questioned this approach that emphasizes laboratory research and "mystification of scientific expertise" by incorporating social science research (Gergen and Davis, 1997). The liberal humanist attitude proposes a unique nature of human kind, disregarding differences in color, class, creed and gender as a result of which there is a "personalisation of the politics" (Kitzinger, 1987, cited in Gergen and Davis, 1997). Modern sociological theories of sexual identity have grown into debates on nature/ nurture, biological/ culture, essentialism/ constructivism and so on which have not always been resolved (Fausto-Sterling, 2000). Even modern study of science has been colored by the human practices and relations hence the biological versus sociological approach cannot be exclusive of each other. Therefore, the surgeon's genital correction of infants or the attempt to study the differences between males and females in terms of the structure of the brain or studying the role of sex hormones in various organs of the body are essentially directed by the sociological notions of sexual identities (Fausto-Sterling, 2000). Social learning plays as important a role in sexual development as biological factors do hence the two cannot be considered separately.
In the poststructuralist theory, study of cultural interpretations of embodiment and sexual identity focuses on gender and gender relations, including the dynamics and ...Show more

Summary

While biological or genetic process of developing sexual identity through external markers of sex is a straightforward concept, the debate over gender identity has been varied. …
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Gender and Sexuality Essay essay example
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