As a social institution, gender is a process of creating distinguishable social statuses for the assignment of rights and responsibilities.Judith Lorber, “Night to his Day: The Social Construction of Gender” in Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, 2000, p. 208
In this lesson, our focus will be on defining some of the terms that scholars in Women’s and Gender Studies use when we talk about the ways that societies organize people into categories like boy, man, girl, or woman. We can also think about gender as a broader system of thought that organizes human ideas, qualities, and characteristics into categories like masculine and feminine. One of the key observations in contemporary feminist scholarship and theory is that gender is socially constructed.
By the end of this module, you should be able to:
- Understand gender as a socially constructed category
- Identify and define gender dualism
- Define gender key terms including gender identity, gender norms, and gender expression
- Recognize that a gender system does not produce uniform experiences of gender