Gender as a Social Construction Judith Lorber is able to convey many of her ideals about our contemporary conceptions of gender in her essay, “The Social Construction of Gender.” Not only does she clearly express her opinions on the roles of physiological differences of the male and female bodies, but she also elaborates on the roles of the mass media and professional sports among other things. It rapidly becomes clear that there are many legitimate arguments that support this movement for near or complete equality in genders and the roles that they perform.
Clearly, society has been created around two separate classes or genders: men and women. Lorber argues that much of what we consider to be gender has no place in the natural order of the things. She is able to begin her argument by citing that gender has often been a literal creation of man in many cases such as those of hermaphrodites. Should a baby be born with characteristics that do not fully represent the male or the female gender, a doctor will judge the baby based on the size and shape of its gentiles, and then transform him/her into one or the other. Though there are more advanced techniques employed in this process today, this does illustrate the arbitrary meanings of gender.
Lorber holds many of the same views as the average feminist and more. She agrees with the view that genders are nothing more than a “cultural overlay” and is oppressive to females. Though she does not dispute the fact that there are many differences in physical, intellectual, and emotional characteristics between men and women, Lorber claims that these differences are “…socially meaningless until social practices transform them into social facts.” (Lorber, Page 40) These include most activities from professional sports to active duty in the military.
Though Lorber describes women as having distinguishing characteristics that are alien to men,...