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gender

Definition of Gender

(noun) The attitudes, behaviors, norms, and roles that a society or culture associates with an individual’s sex, thus the difference between female and male; the meanings attached to being feminine or masculine.

Examples of Gender

Gender Pronunciation

Usage Notes

Related Quotations

  • Doing gender means creating 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).
  • “‘Gender,’ in the important sense developed by feminists, refers to our ideas of femininity and masculinity. It has to do with the relations of power between and within the sexes. It is the result of how we raise boys and girls to be men and women” (Kaufman and Kimmel 2011:53).
  • 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).
  • “There is an ordering of versions of femininity and masculinity at the level of the whole society, in some ways analogous to the patterns of face-to-face relations with institution. the possibilities of variation, of course, are vastly greater. The sheer complexity of relationships involving millions of people guarantees that ethnic differences and generational differences as well as class patterns come into play. But in key aspects the organization of gender on the very large scale must be more skeletal and simplified than the human relationships in face-to-face milieux. The forms of femininity and masculinity constituted at this level are stylized and impoverished. Their interrelation is centred on the single structural fact, the global dominance of men over women” (Connell 1987:183).

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References

Connell, R. W. 1987. Gender and Power: Society, the Person, and Sexual Politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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

Kaufman, Michael, and Michael S. Kimmel. 2011. The Guy’s Guide to Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

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Cite the Definition of Gender

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “gender.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 22, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/gender/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

gender. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/gender/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “gender.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 22, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/gender/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“gender.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 22 Aug. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/gender/>.