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Imagine a so common act a 5 year old girl trying on one of the mothers dresses on her little feet a pair of mothers high heel shoes on her lips and all over her face moms red lipstick and around her pudgy neck mothers pearl necklace Picture this little girl standing in front of her moms vanity mirror with this overgrown dress gathered and dragging behind her her feet lost somewhere in the depths of a pair of evening pumps she is smiling most contentedly at herself obviously pleased with the grown-up smiling back at her What thoughts come to mind as you focus on this little girl What do you feel when you see her silly laughing face Whatever your thoughts they probably would not have been the same had the child just described been a little boy But why would your perceptions change so drastically based on only one minor alteration The answer lies in the fact that gender is not by any means a minor fact in our interpretations of the meanings of behavior Gender is a socially constructed phenomenon that controls directs and affects many of our personal behaviors as well as our daily interactions with others Much of our lives are directly or indirectly governed by the written and unwritten rules and laws of a phenomenon known as socialization from which we have been trained to recognize and understand right from wrong normal from anormal Inculcation in our society and culture results in commonly understood definitions of what is appropriate and inappropriate male and female behavior These definitions are deeply fixed into our modes of thinking and their influence on our lives is powerful Gender vs Sex Most social scientists distinguish gender from sex Gender roles are not biologically determined but vary acording to culture and era and even for individuals during the course of their lives Gender roles are consequently described by social scientists as
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