Gender norms: Are the terms – Femininity and Masculinity socially constructed?

Sexuality is a term that encompass many areas, and we hope to explore this interesting topic in our segment: SEX-uality.

Definition of Sexuality (Sexuality Resource Centre for Parents)

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*The perspective is written from, and content for this post might be more relevant for those who align more towards mainstream gender identity and roles.

Definition of Masculinity: Having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men

Definition of Femininity: Having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women

Gender norms/stereotypes: 

As a woman, you have to shave your armpit and leg hair because it looks disgusting. You have to talk in a certain way. You have to be gentle. You cannot say adult jokes. You should wear more skirts or dresses. You cannot chase a guy. You have to be submissive. F***ing 10 guys makes you a slut.

As a man, you are less emotionally intuned, crying is a sign of effeminacy, you are less nurturing than women. You want, and think of sex more, watching porn and masturbating is more socially acceptable for your gender. You have to earn more than your wife’s salary. F***ing 10 girls makes you a king.

Genetics v.s. Environment 

The gender you are born with does not mean you will naturally show traits of only either – masculinity or femininity. E.g. gender stereotypes might not always be accurate. It could possibly be environmental factors that shapes us to subconsciously, or consciously abide to these norms and beliefs.

e.g. all babies regardless of gender cry lot, so why do girls end up being more opened to crying compared to boys when we grow older? Why do both genders feel disgusted at girls who do not shave their armpit/leg hair, but show nonchalance towards guys with armpit/leg hair? What led to virginity becoming a sexist term? What makes you so sure guys are less nurturing, or think of sex more than girls?

But do gender norms / roles play essential roles in setting the foundations of society? 

Women and men may differ physically e.g. strength, physiologically e.g. penis and vagina, and psychologically in some aspects, and gender norms are relevant, as they have helped differentiate between men and women behaviourally since the past, which aids in shaping gender roles so that both parties can play their respectives parts in contributing to society.

All these increases effectiveness in social functions e.g. if both men and women had the same status, it might have led to conflict, and lack of stability due to the constant power struggle between both genders.

Also for categorisation and essential needs’ purposes, gender categories are no doubt important e.g. what to put in our identification documents, toilets for both sexes, shaping of clothes to suit the body of genders, making bras and pads for women, and condoms for men etc.

 How has the significance of gender traits and roles evolved?

But having said that, we have reached an era where there is so much more diversity in regards to rigid gender identities, roles, and traits.

Women now need not solely stay at home to care for their children and household chores, or depend financially on their husbands. Education are equally as important to their gender, and they can take on positions that had longed been dominated by males. Cosmopolitan societies are also evolving to a stage where women and men are perceived as almost equal in power, status, and competency.

Gender is exclusive from Masculinity and Femininity? 

We are all free to talk, act, and think however we want to. We need not be pressured to align to social expectations of how others feel we should be portraying – as a man or woman.

E.g. As a woman, we can masturbate and watch watch porn as much as a man. As a man, we have the capacity to cry, and be nurturing.

Showing masculine traits does not make any of us less of a woman, or more of a man.

Showing feminine traits does not make any of us less of a man, or more of a woman.

And traits to describe femininity and masculinity, aren’t they socially-constructed too, to a certain extent? e.g. Blue could have been associated as a girl’s colour, and pink could have been associated as a  boy’s colour. And gender preferences would have also evolved towards that direction.

Deviating from gender norms could possibly shake up societal rules which has set the foundation for structure and stability, but having said that, I think as long as it does not bring any form of harm to anyone, it shouldn’t be a major issue.

Balancing out the unbalanced equilibrium 

I realised a lot of aspects of society structures are very similar. Inequality/differences, be it between genders, age groups, nationalities, social status, financial standing, social hierarchy, communities – always leads to a power difference. And in our current era, the world is trying to even out the equilibrium by bringing up the struggling weaker side e.g. minority communities, third world countries, women’s or children’s rights getting much more attention, while the stronger side remains status quo, or tries to maintain/increase what they already have e.g. capitalism, elitism, nepotism, political corruption, discriminative laws.

Other SEX-uality Posts

Unheard Voices: The memoir of a Singaporean transgender sex worker‏

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Were we gender neutral before the labels of male, female, straight, LGBT?

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Singapore’s version: The “hype” over gender equality and feminism.”

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She’s a slut! She shouldn’t cover herself up so much!

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 Pre-marital sex is unethical and shameful. Virginity is pure virtue.

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PARENT’S HORRID TABOO TOPICS OF “MASTURBATION”“PENIS””SEX”“VAGINA”

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I’m a woman that don’t identify myself as feminist, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

1What the hell is the difference btw Sexual – empowerment v.s. objectification?

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Are women “asking for it” when we distract males with our short skirts?

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