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doing gender

Definition of Doing Gender

(noun) “[C]reating differences between girls and boys and women and men, differences that are not natural, essential, or biological. Once the differences have been constructed, they are used to reinforce the ‘essentialness‘ of gender” (West and Zimmerman 1987:137).

Doing Gender Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: do·ing gen·der

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /dOO-ing jEn-duhr/
  • British English – /dOO-ing jEn-duh/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈduɪŋ ˈʤɛndər/
  • British English – /ˈdu(ː)ɪŋ ˈʤɛndə/

Usage Notes

Related Quotation

  • Gender isn’t something we’re born with. It’s something we perform. And we learn about doing gender through friends, school, religion, and family. We are taught to ‘do’ our gender in many ways. Our parents might tell us to toughen up when we go out for sports. If we’re boys, our parents might not worry if we stay out late. If we’re girls, we might get in trouble for getting angry” (Tarrant 2009:6–7).

Additional Information

Related Terms


Fenstermaker, Sarah, and Candace West, eds. 2002. Doing Gender, Doing Difference: Social Inequality, Power, and Institutional Change. London: Routledge.

Tarrant, Shira. 2009. Men and Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

West, Candace, and Don H. Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society 1(2):125–51. doi:10.1177/0891243287001002002.

Works Consulted

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Doing Gender

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American Sociological Association (ASA): Purdue Online Writing LabThompson Rivers University

American Psychological Association (APA): American Psychological AssociationPurdue Online Writing Lab

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS): Chicago Manual of Style OnlinePurdue Online Writing Lab

Modern Language Association (MLA): University of MelbournePurdue Online Writing Lab