Jul 21, 2020 in Sociology Essay

Sociology Essay

Introduction

In essence, gender refers to the feelings, behaviors, and attitudes that a particular culture attaches to an individual’s biological sex (American Psychological Association, 2011). On the other hand, the term ‘sex’ refers to one’s biological make-up, which is usually characterized as female, male, or intersex (Jónasdóttir, Bryson, & Jones, 2010). According to the definition, sexual orientation is the explicit sex to whom a person is romantically and sexually attracted to, which may include members of the opposite sex, the same sex or both sexes (Rahman & Jackson, 2010). Finally, gender identity is one’s sense of being female, male or transgender. To this end, this paper presents a summary of three interviews conducted to reveal the experiences regarding gender, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The interview materials were integrated with the class concepts to bring a reflection of the research assignment. Lastly, this study reveals my personal background and experience regarding, gender, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Summary of Interviews

Interview 1

The first respondent was my Korean friend, John Park, who is 24 years old and is a member of the soccer club in the university. John Park revealed that he perceived himself as fitting and fulfilling the expectations of what it meant to be “female” or “male.” According to Park, being female or male in this society means having the biological features that distinguish the two sexes. He held that he fitted entirely in the male category according to his description of being male or female. John Park was grateful that he had never experienced any tensions in his personal life regarding fulfilling the expectations of being in a particular sex category. According to John, even as an adolescent teenager, he did not recall any stories or experiences which pressured him to fit in a given sex category.

Park recalled his parents’ effort to shape his conduct in a gender, through the way they dressed him and the kind of toys they bought him as a child. He revealed that his mother would dress him in trousers as opposed to clothes that were meant for the female category. Additionally, his father bought him toys like “action figures” as opposed to “Barbie dolls” that were known as popular toys for girls. John Park also mentioned how the division of labor in their household would be distinct for him and his younger sister. He added that his tasks entailed working in the yard, like trimming the fence, while his sister mostly did the household duties. In this regard, John felt pressure to fulfill gender-specific expectations through maintaining a concrete way of dressing that is frequent in the male category. He added that pressure came from his classmates and other friends within the campus. According to Park, the expectations for women versus men still differ, and the situation is problematic. He thought that people who did not identify themselves with either category face a challenge, because they are perceived as less fitting in the society. 

Want an expert write a paper for you?
Talk to an operator Now!

Interview 2

The second respondent was my neighbor James Smith, who is 25 years, and who studies medicine at the University. James felt that he fulfilled the expectations of what it meant to be “female” or “male.” He asserted that being male or female in the society today means having the particular biological characteristics that distinguished the male and female categories. Smith held that he fitted in the male category according to the social construct of a male. Admittedly, James revealed that he had experienced tensions concerning being male or female while growing up. He added that the strain came from his friends who bullied him as a teenager because his voice had not broken and he had not developed any facial hair like most of them. His friends deemed the two features as being fundamental characteristics of being male at the time. 

Smith recalled the way his parents tried to shape his behavior in a gender specific way through taking him to church seminars that taught about the role of men in the society. He was brought up in a religious background and his father often accompanied him to “men only” boot camps where they would be taught about sex and gender distinctions in the society. Besides, James was encouraged to take the medicine course because his father believed it was a strong career path. James shared that he still felt pressure to fulfill the societal expectations through gender particular roles that specify the responsibilities of a man. Smith added that in his teen years, he was taught that a man is the primary provider of the household. As a result, Smith works very hard in his studies to get good grades and hopefully, get a well-paying job. He shared that pressure comes from his father who is the sole provider back at home. James shared that expectations of women versus men today differed in a significant way, and the situation was a pleasant thing. He asserted that people who are not identified as either male or female face stigma and feel isolated in today’s society. 

Interview 3

The third respondent was a stranger from downtown, Columbus Ohio. The woman, Jane Meyers, was a 30-year-old waiter in the local restaurant in the urban center. Ostensibly, Jane felt she did not fit the expectations of what it meant to be male or female in the society today. She revealed that being male or female in the society entailed not only having the distinct physical features but also behaving and dressing in a particular way. Admittedly, Jane revealed that while she fitted in the female category due to her female characteristics, she did not fit the description of a “female” in her way of dressing and behavior. Jane shared that she experienced tensions from her friends and family, because she did not like wearing make-up or dresses as compared to her female counterparts. Shockingly, she recalled her mother’s efforts while trying to force her to wear clothes that she did not like as a teenager.

Meyers revealed that her mother would buy her toys like dolls and other toys that were perceived as suitable for a young girl of her age at the time. Jane shared that she was liberal minded and did not feel any pressure to conform to gender-specific expectations in the society today. She explained that it was a good thing that expectations for female and male differ these days, because people now have more freedom of expression. Jane added that people who did not identify themselves as either male or female have less pressure to conform to people’s expectations. 

Don't lose time, order now!

Choose the best topic, set the deadline and get any of your papers written according to all of your demands with perfect timing. We provide individual approach to each client.

Interview Material concerning the Concepts from the Lectures

Gender Socialization

Children acquire the gender specific roles for girls and boys at a young age through socialization, which is dictated by attitude, societal values, and beliefs (Cohn & Zeichner, 2006). As seen in the second interview, James acquired the “male” role of being the key provider in the household through social seminar teachings.

Gender Roles

Children learn how to behave and are introduced to particular body parts from the people around them through expectations that are attached to their biological make-up (Levant, 2011). For instances, boys are introduced to toys like toy guns and trucks to promote aggression and motor skills, while girls are introduced to dress-up apparel and dolls to foster social proximity and nurturing. This illustration is seen in the first interview where John played with “action figures” as opposed to “Barbie dolls.”

Conformity

According to the research, normative standards to attitudes towards sex and sexuality differ across the world. This statement means that different people respond differently to predetermined standards in society. For instance, John and James felt pressure to conform to societal expectations as opposed to Jane, who asserted that she was liberal minded. 

Sanctioning

Reinforcement of gender stereotypes and roles continues even when a child reaches school age, whereby girls are encouraged to pursue humanity and home economics while boys are invited to take science and math courses (Bancroft, 2009). The example is seen in the way James Smith, the medical student, was asked to take the course because his father perceived it as a class suited for the male category.

Personal Background on Sex and Gender

Talking from my experience as Jim Lee, a 24-year-old male international student in the public university in Columbus, Ohio, I have never reflected deeply on my gender and sexual background. However, from the learning outcomes of the lecture concepts, I gathered that I followed behavioral prescriptions of my particular sex category, in this case, being male. During my childhood development, I recall gender specific policing at home through the gender specific roles that were ascribed to me by my parents. In this regard, I assert that I still conform to the social expectations and do not find myself challenging the prescriptions in the society today. The reason for this is because I find that the way I was socialized was proper for me and the relationships around me were not strained.

 

Related essays