Gender role

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A gender role is a theoretical construct in the social sciences and humanities that refers to a set of social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex. Socially accepted gender roles differ widely between different cultures. Proponents of gender role theory assert that observed gender differences in behavior and personality characteristics are, at least in part, socially constructed, and therefore, the product of socialization experiences; this contrasts with other models of gender that assert that gender differences are "essential" to biological sex. Gender differences exist in almost all societies. With differences in the norms adopted, this suggests that gender differences are, at least partly, influenced by culture.[1]

Gender has several definitions. It usually refers to a set of characteristics that are either seen to distinguish between male and female, one's biological sex, or one's gender identity. Gender identity is the gender(s), or lack thereof, a person self-identifies as; it is not necessarily based on biological sex, either real or perceived, nor is it always based on sexual orientation. There are two main genders: masculine (male), or feminine (female), although in some cultures there are more genders. "Androgyny" has been proposed as a third gender.[2] Some ancient tribes have more than five human genders,[citation needed] and some non-Western societies have three human genders – man, woman and third gender. Gender roles refer to the set of attitudes and behaviors socially expected from the members of a particular gender identity. Gender roles are socially constructed which are often politicized and manipulated, which then result in the oppression of people.

In the modern West, this essential requirement has been changed to a heterosexual desire, resulting in the Western concepts of 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual,' instead of the usual gender identities for males. Researchers recognize that the concrete behavior of individuals is a consequence of both socially enforced rules and values, and individual disposition, whether genetic, unconscious, or conscious. Some researchers emphasize the objective social system and others emphasize subjective orientations and dispositions.[citation needed] Creativity may cause the rules and values to change over time. Cultures and societies are dynamic and ever-changing, but there has been extensive debate as to how, and how fast, they may change. Such debates are especially contentious when they involve the gender/sex system, as people have widely differing views about how much gender depends on biological sex.


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