A Look Into Biological Determinism & Social Constructionism 

Topics: Determinism

In the article, “The Social Construction of Gender” by Judith Lorber, she discusses the fabrication of gender as a mass media manipulation. She goes into how gender is so bred into us, that we just associate it with our genes. Lorber does an excellent job of shining light on the issue of how we as humans, create “gender” from our everyday human interaction, social life, and the order of our social life. The main point that Lorber is trying to summarize is the fact that gender at one point didn’t exist, yet it became a social construct that society created to help place people into categories.

Gender has been determined by what genitalia someone has, which determines the role that they get to play in society. Lorber is firing back with how we as a society, become uncomfortable until we have successfully placed a person in gender status. Otherwise, we feel socially displaced.

A few points that I will be discussing in my critique based on Lorber’s article are the effect biological determinism has on individuals and society as a whole, the harmful effects that gender constructionism has on society, and how gender roles are slowly changing.

The main question that I will be answering in my critique is “What is the true effect that biological determinism and gender roles have on our society, and when does it start to become a prominent issue?”. To summarize Biological Determinism, pretty much means that there are no outside/environmental things that influence the biological sex of a person.

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It also implies that biology does and should, completely dictate human behavior. According to Lorber, gender constructionism starts at birth and is based on what someone’s genitalia looks like at birth. Gender roles are slowly changing. Also according to Lorber, they are silently applauded but not openly accepted.

According to recent studies, our ability to exercise free will has been called into question because biological determinism plays a far greater role than previously thought (Zucker, 200). Lorber’s article builds on this when she discusses how once a child’s gender is evident, people start to treat that child differently from those of the opposite gender. Soon that child starts to act and behave differently based on the treatment they are receiving. Once that child grows up, their biological determinism affects the rest of their lifestyle and decisions (Lerner,2003). It’s honestly scary to think that males and females have been shaped, or I guess you could say conditioned, to live their lives a certain way just because of what genitalia they have. The fact that our ability to exercise free will has been called into question is disturbing. It’s disturbing because how do we know if we are thinking for ourselves, or if we are just thinking how society wants us to think, even though some of us are aware of this issue. Every single aspect of our lives has been categorized into gender roles: parenting, sex, the people we are supposed to be attracted to, personality traits that people acquire, employment, how we dress, speak, and act- the list could go on and on.

Thankfully gender roles are slowly developing. Dads are starting to have more hands-on parenting and some even stay at home while the mom goes to work. Gender

Roles are sometimes created based on stereotypes about gender (Blackstone 2003). This has become harmful to our society and how we treat one another. It affects our society by providing a whole other list of disadvantages men and women face in their genders. Whether it is a woman receiving less pay than a man even though they are doing the same job and quality of work, men being looked at as less masculine because they are staying home with their children instead of a woman, or women being told that they can’t have a vasectomy until they have a child of each gender and a husbands approval.

Moreover, from my research and reading of Lorber’s article, I have concluded that there will never be another point in time where gender construct doesn’t exist. If anything, we can take what we have now and try to reshape it into something more neutral for both genders. Like Lorber states, “…gender is constantly created and re-created out of human interaction”. What I’ve also learned from my research is that the gender we are assigned is birth, which dictates a lot of our life experiences. Well, I knew this before but I didn’t understand the severity of it all. I’m really glad that this paper was assigned to us because it prompted me to look at what all gender affects, what exactly gender even means, and how my take on gender affects my daily life and the lives of those around me. It made me realize that I don’t like the idea of gender being a social construct because I don’t think it does any good for mankind. If anything it just has scientists questioning our ability to exercise our free will.

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A Look Into Biological Determinism & Social Constructionism . (2022, Jun 30). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-look-into-biological-determinism-social-constructionism/

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