Using Exam¬Ples from Everyday Life Explain and Discuss How Theorists Understand Gender as Something We Do

Using examples from everyday life explain and discuss how theorists understand gender as something we do.

This essay is going to explain and discuss theorist’s understandings of gender as something we do rather than being a fixed part of who we are. Firstly, it is important to define the difference between sex and gender, bringing in Judith Butler’s views. Then the essay will explain and discuss Erving Goffman’s ‘dramaturgical approach’ to social interaction, and Judith Butler’s understandings of gender as performativity, using various academic sources. Both these two theorists view gender as a kind of performance. Performance as an explanation of the self or identity is an interactionist idea, which was first put forward by Erving Goffman (Woodward 2000). Goffman has questioned the concept of identity, the self, identity seems private, unique, and natural to the individual it was these controversial ideas of first Goffman, then Butler in specific reference to gender, who challenged these instinctive human beliefs thus theorizing gender identity. While there are numerous theories regarding gender identity, most of them view gender as construction, a set of behaviours prescribed by society that individuals learn and become more proficient at as they mature.

Gender tends to be referred to as the social characteristics associated with being male and female members of society (Woodward 2000). Gender roles are cultural and personal which are learned through many institutions in society, although they do vary among different cultures. They determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, and interact within society (no author). However, sex is a biological distinction determined by the anatomical traits essential to reproduction such as reproductive and chromosomal attributes (Punch et al 2013). Butler argues that sex is biological given from birth, which can only be altered in extreme cases and due to certain conditions. For example, if you were born...