If you had to summarize in ordinary language the concept of "gender as structure," what would you say? (How would you explain "gender as a social institution" to a relative or a friend?)
How did Judith Lorber demonstrate the different significance gender categories have for the individual and for society? (Hint: It may help to recall Lorber's discussions of "sameness" and "difference.")
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1. As you explicate the idea of "gender as structure," like a building, it is created. The article clarifies, "Most people find it hard to believe that gender is constantly created and re-created out of human interaction, out of social life, and is the texture and order of that social life. Yet gender, like culture, is a human production that depends on everyone constantly "doing gender" (West and Zimmerman 1987)."
Instead of unifying us, gender as a structure hinders us: "gender divides work in the home and in economic production, legitimates those in authority, and organizes sexuality and emotional life (Connell 1987, 91-142)." It is also dangerous since it breeds inequity as "When gender is a major component of structured inequality, the devalued genders have less power, prestige, and economic rewards than the valued genders."
However, to me, this concept does embody some hope as well as it means that when we see an athlete like Hines Ward dance on Dancing With The Stars, it shows how the notion of what is acceptable as male can be reinvented is an example of gender as structure.
The article's example shows how this structure is thankfully not set in stone as society can reinvent what we deem as gender appropriate with this illustration: "Seeing men taking care of ...
This guide discusses gender as a social institution" using specific examples to validate.