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Karla Loya

Professor Ditch

English 115

04 October 2017

We are Both Masculine & Feminine

Many believe that sex and gender are the same things; however, they are two totally

different things. Sex distinguishes male from a female based only on reproductive organs in the

human body while gender is mainly the way a person behaves in situations whether it being more

masculine or feminine. In my own experience depending on the location and people around me,

my behavior changed. In one situation, I accompanied my grandma to her doctors appointment.

While the doctor was reading her results, I acted more masculine. I was more serious than usual.

Then a couple days later at a family get together I was more feminine more peppy and talkative.

My performance changed because society demands us to act accordingly to our situation or else

there will be consequences. This reveals that society has control of our gender performances and

has created these norms that must be followed so everyone can feel secure and avoid

awkwardness, but nowadays many are behaving out of their prescribed gender including myself

because different situations ask us to either confirm or break out of our prescribed gender norms.

Society has created these rules for our specified gender to follow. This goes for both

males and females. For example, women could not work in factories since it was a manlier job

and these jobs were dirty. Women were supposed to be more feminine in the sense of being

submissive and uncultured. In the TV shows, I Love Lucy and Happy Days the women were only

wives, mothers, and submissive to their husbands. As for males, in the Mexican culture, to be
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considered more masculine you had to be Macho which meant males had to be dominant and

show that they were in control. This was proven when my parents were still together. My father

believed he controlled everything. Therefore, being a female, and Mexican-American, growing

up I was told I had to act a certain way. Especially culturally I was expected to be more obeying

and submissive, do what I was told like to clean and cook. While my older brother got to relax,

and do nothing. I would always get in trouble if my room was not clean, while my brothers

room can look like a pigsty. It was okay cause he was a boy. Also, every Sunday morning I was

expected to wake up early and clean. Since it is my duty as a female. While my brother can sleep

in until 3oclock in the afternoon. These rules in my culture, regarding my gender, were created

to help prepare me to be the perfect wife and help find a future husband. This is because I was

always told that a man does not want a lazy wife that does not know how to keep the house

clean, they want someone to take care of them. In the article Night to his day: The Social

Construction of Gender written by Judith Lorber, she states Yet gender, like culture, is a

human production that depends on everyone constantly doing gender (Lorber19). Therefore,

meaning that we create our own gender and that it is constantly changing. Now that my parents

are separated, things have changed. My mother is head of our household. Also, my brother is

expected to do more feminine chores. For example, cooking and cleaning. Which meant I got to

relax more. Therefore, due to the situation, it caused us all to behave out of our prescribed gender

norms.

In addition, society has even created gender-based opinions before one is even born.

Parents were told by society how to raise their children. So, society can accept them. In the

article From Women, Men, and Society the authors Claire Renzetti and Daniel Curran, state

Even though American parents do not express a strong sex preference, research shows that
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parents do have different expectations of their babies and treat them differently, simply on the

basis of sex (Renzetti and Curran76). The treatment can have an impact on the children while

they are growing up. It can demonstrate favoritism or the child could be excluded from certain

activities. For instance, boys were meant to play rugged sports while girls play house. However,

I always wanted to do what my brother did. When it came to sports, I wanted to play to, but at

first, I was told no cause of the fear of me getting hurt. Since my gender is associated with being

weak. However, my parents did not want to exclude me from participating. They wanted to show

me that I can do whatever I want. Then eventually I was put on a co-ed team and did great. Now,

my parents knew they could not exclude me from anything just cause of my gender. They

realized that society was changing compared to when they were growing up. Therefore, they

allowed me to break out of my prescribed gender norms.

Furthermore, there are instances when we conform to our prescribed gender norms.

During my experience, it was a Sunday afternoon, and I was on my way to a family get together.

To give our best wishes to my cousin, on her new journey with her fianc. This family, at the

get-together, follows gender rules. All my aunts behave feminine, they are submissive, and

always so happy no matter what. Then, when someone does not follow their expectations they

are weirded out. Judith Lorber, author of Night to His Day: The Social Construction of

Gender, explains this perfectly when she states, Gender signs and signals are so ubiquitous that

we usually fail to note them unless they are missing or ambiguous (Lorber20). Society makes

it hard for us to see ourselves conforming to our own prescribed gender norms, but when it

comes down to someone breaking out from their gender norms we notice it right away. As for

my cousin, she is viewed as a rebel and a troublemaker only because she decides to behave more

masculine instead of feminine. She prefers to be more serious and distant. However, since I did
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not want to be looked down on, I decided to perform more feminine with my family. Which

included being more linguistic and expressive to appeal to them. My cousin and I are viewed as

total opposites, but we get along so well. We understand each other. However, my family views

her as a bad influence on me. Which is so untrue. She has always pushed me to do better,

encouraged me, and has even given me great advice. My family would not know because they

never really given her a chance to be herself. In addition, Lorber goes on to say, Then we are

uncomfortable until we have successfully placed the other person in a gender status; otherwise,

we feel socially dislocated (Lorber20). We feel out of place when someone is not behaving

accordingly to their gender. Until we identify them and get a hold of the situation. Which, I have

noticed that my family cannot hold a conversation with her because they feel awkward talking to

her since she has a more masculine performance. Many are intimidated by her. As for me, Im

more approachable. My family always want to talk to me since they see themselves in me. Im

considered more like them. My family has problems when it comes to accepting someone

different than them. Since they were raised in a society different than us. They expect everything

to be the same, and once they notice something different they try to avoid it instead of

confronting it. It is unfair to my cousin since she feels excluded from everyone and usually at

these family gatherings she is by herself. Then when I go to hang out with her I get in trouble

since Im being disrespectful to the family. Even though our family can be judgmental my cousin

and I do not let it bother us because we know they never going to get out of that biased mentality

that society has planted in them. Therefore, society creates these situations that give us the

choice to confirm or break free from gender norms even though there might be that

awkwardness.
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Nowadays many are realizing that gender is only a performance and does not define us,

therefore, resulting in many behaving outside of their specified gender. The roles can change in

an instant. Nothing stays the same, meaning our roles are going to change. We are constantly

doing gender. Also, the way kids are being raised affects their gender roles. Many parents are

allowing their kids, boys, and girls, to play together. Lastly, it is our very own choice whether we

want to be masculine or feminine. I prefer to be more masculine in both my behavior and

appearance because that is what I am more comfortable with. However, there are days and

situations where I can be feminine it just depends on what I want to be portrayed as.
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Works Cited

Curran, Daniel. Renzetti, Claire. From Women, Men, and Society. Composing Gender. Eds.

Rachael Groner and John F. OHara. Boston, Bedford/St. Martins, 2014. 76-82. Print

Lorber, Judith. Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender. Composing Gender.

Eds. Rachael Groner and John F. OHara. Boston, Bedford/St. Martins, 2014. 19-20.

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