This essay aims to examine the extent to which gender and sexuality influence our lives. In order to do this, it firstly scrutinize the meaning of gender, sex and sexuality. Secondly, considering the sociological account, it will focus on how social construction of gender and sexuality produce gender identity, gender inequality and gender discrimination, in terms of power, employment, education, it will also explore the distinction between gender and sexuality and how these two concept influences our lives.
GENDER AND SEX
The term gender refers to the social and psychological characteristics associated with being female or male. Characteristics typically associated with the female gender include being gentle, emotional and cooperative; characteristics typically associated with the male gender include being aggressive, rational, and competitive. In popular usage, gender is dichotomized as an either or concept (feminine or masculine), but gender may also be viewed as existing along a continuum of femininity and masculinity. (McCammon & Knox, 2007, p. 112 cited in Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2009, p. 371)
“What it means to be masculine and feminine differ across culture and history,” (Plummer & Macionis 2005 p.308). The two concepts, gender and sex, are used interchangeably but there are enormous variations. Gender is used to describe social and personality differences between women and men. It refers to that which society defines as masculine and feminine while sex refers to biological difference between male and female. (Webb and Tossell 1999:47 cited in McDonald 2009:115. Plummer & Macionis (2005) assert that gender is not automatically a biological entity but a phenomenon that involves a great deal of social activity.
Gender is reciprocally linked to sexuality. O’leary 2007:246, defines sexuality as sexual interest and behaviours that includes physiological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual dimensions. Jackson 1999b:4 cited in Alsop...