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Word Count: 2,225
GENDER The word gender is frequently used wrongly ie assuming sex and gender are the same concept The first person to make this distinction was America psychoanalyst Dr Robert Stoller 1968 He stated that sex is the biological makeup which defines the differences between men and women ie external genitalia and internal genitalia He goes on to point out that gender is what make people either feminine or masculine also that sex and gender can be independent of each other Gender refers to the social cultural anatomical physiological and psychological factors we have in mind when we say a person is a man or a woman or describe that person as masculine or feminine Gender is not only an important aspect of the way other people see us but is also central to the way we see and understand ourselves The purpose of this essay is to identify the formation of gender roles from childhood and how these roles or expectations determine life chances in society Firstly the definition of gender through socialisation will be looked at from Feminist and Functionalist perspectives followed by studies into the nature of gender ie parental expectations exploitation of females through childrens books and the media etc A conclusion will then be made based on the research looked at The feminist perspective can be divided into many sub-groups two of which are radical feminism and Marxist feminism The feminist perspective on gender is that of exploitation of women through the media childrens toys and books etc They believe that societys aim is to socialise or condition children from birth into their expected roles in society ie subordination of women and male dominance Radical feminists would take this argument further by stating that society is patriarchal in other words it is dominated and ruled by men Radical feminists believe that women have always been under the thumb of men and if men feel threatened they may resort to violence
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