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Doing gender.

by | Nov 7, 2022 | Sociology | 0 comments

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Michelle Jackson “Doing gender” has much to do with how we interact with one another and the world around us. This is a direct result of the social construction of gender. Additionally, it is how individuals comply with and deviate from gender rules. Knowledge of both mainstream and alternative cultures is required to successfully “do gender” in everyday life. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the skills we have for following gender rules are unique to the societies we’ve grown up in (Wade & Ferree, 2019). In addition, “doing gender” is something a person does through their interaction with others. It is the result of a social construct and not merely what a person is. At an early age, we learn how to “do gender”. For instance, little girls learn behaviors that lean towards femininity and little boys learn behaviors that lean towards masculinity. If they deviate from these gender rules, both male and female genders face scrutiny about their gender (Schoepflin, 2011). The expectation that I should let my brother help me fix my car since it is presumed that I don’t know what I am doing, all of my female friends when hosting a party are in the kitchen cooking while the guys are in the living room waiting to be served, and my attraction and preference to dating men who know how to fix things are examples of “doing gender” that I see every day. While “doing gender,” men are at the top of the social hierarchy, while women are at the bottom; this gender power difference creates distinct roles for the sexes. We learn how to perform our gender by following gender rules. For instance, women in the United States are taught that exposing their breasts in public is inappropriate. Even when breastfeeding mothers are out in public, the topic can spark heated debate. People find this offensive and indecent or tacky. In contrast, women throughout many parts of Europe find it quite normal to sunbathe without a top. In the United States, women learn that it is appropriate to hide their breasts in public. We also learn how to perform our gender appropriately by not crossing the line or rules of gender in American culture. If we do so, we run the risk of being criticized by others who may question our gender or sexuality (Wade & Ferree, 2019). Encouraged and accompanied by my female friend, I have “done gender” this past week by getting a manicure and perm at the nail salon, resulting in a more feminine hairdo and a coat of red nail paint on my nails. After that, I went to a beauty salon to get my hair permed, which helped me achieve a more feminized appearance. The chance presented itself, and I took advantage of it by inviting a female friend along, who also took the time to get her nails and hair done while we were there. With the topic of redecorating my house, we were both able to interact and discuss ideas. It is rather unusual for two American men to “do gender” by getting their hair permed and getting their nails manicured and painted red. Not to mention talking with a friend about how to redecorate a house. I would have found it uncomfortable to bring a male friend with me for a perm, get my nails done, and discuss how to redecorate my home. References Schoepflin, T. (2011, August 10). Doing gender. Retrieved from to an external site. Wade L. & Ferree M.M. (2019). Gender: Ideas, interactions, institutions (2nd ed). Retrieved from:


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