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Richard Alcala
English 115
Professor Beadle
December 7, 2016
What is gender
One may look to the future and imagine, the number of children they wish to have with
their partner. The moment anyone sees what sex the baby is, even if its boy or girl they would
expect it to grow up as to what the sex categorizes them to. Judith Lorber and Aaron Devor,
share the main idea that sex is not what determines ones gender, but how we learn from society
itself. Gender is used as a guide to help humans behave and take responsibility based on what
they would identify themselves as. To understand gender; one must learn, that gender is created
through social and cultural interactions and is not biological.
Gender is created through social interaction and learning. Gender construction may not
be biological or the same as sex, but sex is the starting point for gender construction. When a
baby is born, we all know that the doctor tells us the sex by looking at the genital. Stated by
Lorber Gender construction starts with the assignment to a sex category on the basis of what the
genitalia look like at birth (Lorber 20). This shows that people around the world are already
doing gender from the start of birth, with being assigned a sex to help lead the new born to the
proper life that it is expected to have based on societys ideal expectations.
Expanding on the idea that gender acts as guide, for humans to determine their life styles.
One needs to know that at the ages of five to seven years old, children begin to identify their
selves as a member of society. This begins with children interacting with children they see
belong to their gender group and tend to ignore the opposite gender. With small children there

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will always be confusion, stated by Aaron Devor Five year-olds, for example, may be able to
recognize their own gender and the genders of the other people around them, but they will often
make such ascriptions on the basis of role information, such as hair style, rather than physical
attributes(Devor 36-37) At an early age we begin to determine what is a boy and what is a
girl, based on a hair-cut and ignore all evidence of what the present gender is. Teaching children
that certain hair-cuts and or behaviors could change your gender, and to prevent something like
that to happen. Children behave in a certain way that is acceptable to their gender group and the
same time learning the correct gender behavior. Another problem also shows up, is that in other
cultures and societies recognize more than two genders.
In other countries or cultures around the world such as India and Mesoamerica have more
than one gender. In India, there are more than two genders. There described to be neither men or
women and dress in the opposite gender. Lorber states that Some Societies have three gendersmen, women, and berdaches or hijras or xaniths (Lorber 22). In many cases these men are born
as males, but later in life change to women socially and are treated as women, but are not women
or men. In Mesoamerica, people who change the gender role they wish to follow, would
sometimes be ignored or out casted by their tribe.
Through-out my life, I have grown up around at a lot of girls. During my years in
kindergarten and first grade, the only people that would come to my birthday party would be
girls. That taught me to treat them as equal, even in preschool the other boys in my class would
play with the other girls just as I did. Not because we were forced to play with the girls, but
because our parents taught us to respect everyone. In Hispanic culture, there is usually one
dominate parent that cares and raises the children. That person for my family was my mom. She
had showed me the struggles that women go through and made me apricate the things women do

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and treat them with respect. Through social interactions with the girls in the first few years at
school, kept me touch with the feminism inside of me. As grew up in the, I would do what I ever
I wanted to do without being judge. I would watch al the Disney princess movies that would
come out and time to time, I would play with my sister and her toys. This has proven to me that
gender is constructed through social interactions. I may identify myself as Male, but I am not
afraid to things that the opposite gender normally does.
The argument that many people would make, is people who undergo a sex change, also
change their gender. This may be true in many case, because most people who do it are prepared
both mentally and physically to change their appearance. For other people, they feel
uncomfortable because that have the memories of the past gender. As Lorber sates Gender and
sex are not equivalent, and gender as a social construction does not flow automatically from
genitalia and reproductive organs (Lorber 21). For the people who expected to change gender
right away after the sex change, must start all over and learn a new life style. This proves that
Gender is social constructed and cannot be changed only by appearance.
Is gender constructed socially? Yes, it is. Gender construction starts now of birth and ends
as early as five to seven years old. One may now wonder, how would people identify themselves
in the future with such rapid social acceptance and change that is going on now.
Works cited
Devor, Aaron Becoming Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender, Composing
Gender, edited by Rachael Groner and John F OHara, Bedford, St. Martins, 2014, pp.
36-37

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Lorber, Judith Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender Composing Gender,
edited by Rachael Groner and John F OHara, Bedford, St. Martin, 2014, pp. 20-22