The Social Construction of Gender in the Real World


The Social Construction of Gender in the Real World

Paper details:

Gender is all around us, but we are trained not to see it because we believe it is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’. However, sociologists want
to analyze the way that gender is constructed because it helps us understand our society’s beliefs and values. This assignment
will give you an opportunity to examine gender in the world you see around you.

1) Find an example of one item that is “gendered” or assigned as masculine or feminine in ”real” (non-online) world. Some
categories you may want to think about: clothing and accessories, personal hygiene products, toys, magazines, electronics and
their accessories, games, workouts, television shows or music, etc. You cannot choose a razor. Every other Intro to Sociology
Student has chosen it, and I want to see different things! You want to pick one item to compare for this assignment

2) Take a picture of it, so you can show your classmates.

3) Analyze it like a sociologist! The questions you want to answer:

What makes one set of things ‘masculine’ and what makes the other set “feminine”? What specific criteria define them?

What messages do the items you chose to analyze send about what is ”male’ and what is “female”? In other words, if you were
an outer-space alien looking at these items as artifacts from the Planet Earth, what would you think was true about men and
women after seeing these things?

Why do you think a gendered version of these items was created? Would it make sense to have one “un-gendered” version
instead? Why or why not? What does the fact there are gendered items tell you about how our society views gender?

Which one of Lorber’s three classifications of gender (gender as sameness, gender as difference, gender as
structure/stratification, and process) do you think would apply to these set of products? Why?

In what ways do these items prove the theory that gender, as distinct from sex, is a “social construct”?

graded on the depth of your analysis; your final discussion should amount to 1500-2000 words single-spaced; you
can attach your answer in a word.doc or pdf. You want to think about answering each question as thoroughly as possible. Think
about it: These are objects that we see in our everyday life- what do they mean? And what do they tell us about gender

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