Do you think masculinity and femininity are social constructs?

Do you think masculinity and femininity are social constructs?
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  • No
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  • Unsure/maybe a bit of both
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Most Helpful Girls

  • Some aspects of gender are because of biological differences, like the general assumptions that biosex female people have certain parts and biosex males have certain parts. Then there are things like hormone levels that may bring out certain behavior traits, and some of those behavior tendencies have been associated with one sex or the other. Then there are the social constructs on top of that, so gender is a much more complicated thing than sex is.

    The part that is a social construct is more like:

    "Pink is for girls, blue is for boys, and a boy who wears pink is feminine." (It used to be that blue was for girls and pink was for boys, in the past.)

    Some part of what we see as feminine or masculine has to do with social conditioning about what men and women are "supposed" to do, like or be, and not with any actual biological difference.

    Such as: Men can grow long hair. Women can grow long hair. We have decided that long hair is more feminine. It had practical reasons - women were less likely to do physical work that would catch their hair or clothing, so we could wear it longer, but in-and-of-itself, long hair is just a thing either sex can have. It's neutral, biologically speaking. And in this day, and age, we see some men who are considered to be quite masculine having longer hair. This is because the social construct of women with long hair and men with short turns out not to matter in the modern age as much as it used to matter, so the social construct has changed to say "some women still look feminine and hot with short hair and it's just fine" and "some men look masculine and hot with long hair, and that's also just fine."

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    • Just a little side note about the pink thing
      Back in the old days having red clothes was a prestigious thing reserved for the wealthy men as it was the most expensive dye and it was also a dye that didn't last long so with washing red clothes became pink quickly
      So men wore pink not because pink was"manly" but because red was though frankly it was more about showing wealth than being manly even

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    • The dolor one has fascinated me for years. The switch to pink for girls and blue for boys can be traced to as recently as the 1940.

      People don't realize that Thomas Gainsborough's Pinkie and The Blue Boy eschewed gender based colors of the day (late 1700's).

    • give me my tights back please l am a lady lol

  • I think that some aspects of masculinity and femininity are social constructs... but that those social constructs are led out from biological facts. There are biological differences between men and women that makes some types of skill and behaviour more "natural" for one sex than for the other... but not all the gender roles are purely based on biology, nor do all aspects of masculinity and femininity have basis in biology.

    There's also the fact that we have evolved beyond the animal stage and can to a much bigger degree choose whether or not we want to follow those base instincts. And so, some of the things we have been raised to think of as "masculine" or "feminine" aren't really in a biological sense, they are just learned behaviours.

    So... like many questions in life, the answer is "both yes and no." ^_^

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Most Helpful Guys

  • Yes, it is. What is "masculine" or "feminine" is a matter of personal opinion and societal upbringing/environment. Things that are considered "very feminine" in one culture are just considered "strange" in other cultures and vice versa. The same goes for masculinity. For instance there is a tribe in Central America where young men have to jump a really high tower with a vine tied around their foot. Kinda like bungee jumping but much, much more painful. Rather than being elastic like a rubber rope, those vines stop your fall very abruptly. Many of the young guys get seriously injured. Yet, the passage rite is mandatory and going through it alive is considered to be "very manly". Most westerners, including most western men would probably regard this ritual as dangerous and weird, not masculine.

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  • There are hormonal, biological and psychological differences. Those are certainly hardwired, as an example even in apes males prefer trucks and balls, while females prefer clothing and dolls. Response to emotional distress alao seems to be hardwired, as is attraction patterns (guys have a visual trigger), and males seem to have a biological urge to protect women. Further there may be a few deep psychological assumptions about gender that are also hardwired such as the belief that men are more dangerous or aggressive then women (recent studies involving domestic violence challenge that assumption). But some of the trappings are societal such as makeup or clothing or color designations.

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What Girls Said 40

  • Of course they are! I was just watching young children play for my psychology degree and observed a young boy preparing tea and offering it to others. The other boys responded and pretended to drink tea but that's assumed a female thing to do. Children don't differentiate between girls and boys toys until they can read their parent's responses to certain toys. That boy was likely mimicking behaviour they had seen, something that is involved in learning, not at all concerned about the sex of the person they're mimicking. Many parents will have said to their child at some point, "don't play with that, that's a girl's/boy's toy." That is how they learn what is right and wrong and what is 'wrong' for their sex. The toy industry was actually what created the pink/blue divide and it could be reversible in many years to come if toys were gender neutral, not aimed at one gender and parents didn't also judge their children for the type of toy they played with. It would be nice to get to that point, then people wouldn't judge the 'unusual' children who like things they 'shouldn't' like.

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    • And it's ironic I am writing this on GaG, that differentiates male and female with pink and blue colours!

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    • its so nice to talk about those kind of things

    • Yes, well unfortunately the masses do not see it that way which only serves to fuel the artificial division set between male and female interests because people are afraid of being ostracised due to their interests differing from what is considered the 'norm'.

  • In my experience, yes. When I was younger, I loved cars, sports, science and building treehouses while I hated wearing dresses, playing with dolls, the color pink, anything with glitters etc. However, as I got older this started to change because in school teachers would only let me play with other girls, with dolls and all that stuff. People have always told me that I should like all those girly things. Now, I have started to like more girly things but I still prefer science sports and cars.

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    • That sucks. I think we should like whatever we like. We shouldn't have to be forced into liking things because of our gender. Its absolutely wrong.

    • @AshleySeeks you are a tomboy, that's cool! But having certain interests don't determine your gender, which is what we created. Then again, there are certain things that men and gravitate towards specifically. It just so happens you gravitate towards something mostly men do. Doesn't make you a man though.

    • @AshleySeeks well l think that l will go back to primark and buy that dress its only £4 pound lol

  • I think they have a basis in evolution and biology more than anything. However, I do also think those biological differences have led society to push the different genders into certain roles, which is definitely a social construct.
    Overall, in their purest forms, I don’t think they are social constructs, but the bi-products of masculinity and femininity are social constructs... if that makes sense lol

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  • Not entirely, but if you don't think at least part of it is social construct, you're kidding yourself.

    Large parts of what we think of as feminine and masculine IS nurture not nature.
    Such as things like long hair, skirts, pink, high heels, make up, being submissive/shy being seen as feminine.

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    • Actually submission is seen in women naturally more then men who tend to be more aggressive and assertive. Heels were made specifically to accentuate their legs and hips, make up was created to accentuate the naturally feminine qualities of the face.

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    • @SirRexington How does the first part of your argument relate to the second? If something was "created" then it's societal. Creativity = human innovativeness.

    • Ya pretty much what she said..
      Though I heard heels were originally for butchers to make their pants less dirty when they run around in blood. And then someone figured out that heels make you appear taller and tall men are seen as more powerful, so no noble men and kings started wearing them...
      And eventually it got passed down to women.
      Same for make up... men used to wear it originally and now both genders do. Sometimes it's used to enhance facial features (both masculine and feminine by the way, do you you really think make up always makes you more feminine? ). But it is/was often used as a form identity too.

      Both of these cases are clearly nurture.

  • I think some parts are but some aren't, like girls wearing makeup and wearing dresses and guys talking about cars and stuff I think are but I woman looking after babies and guys looking after the family and doing physical tasks is more instinctive

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    • Well dresses were made to fit the contours of the female body. I definitely think some things have been pigeonholed and taken too far, but for the most part these roles exist pretty naturally.

    • oh haha i duno about dress history, but yeah I agree, a lot of it is probably just naturally how w would act, but I think it's probably just a little different for humans than animals cause I think even if its instictual we're still kind of aware of what we do

  • Not completely, but I work with children and young people and more and more I'm realising how much we impose on our kids. We are told that girls are more social and guys are more technical but I believe that's exactly what you get if you make boys play with cars and girls with dolls. First couple of years of your life have huge impact on who you grow up to be

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    • I don't think we force boys to play with cars. Men gravitate towards them naturally and I've always hated dolls and the pink isles but I love action figures.
      Girl toys just don't do it for me.

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    • l like a nice doll

  • Hmm. I mean it depends what you mean by that. Lots of people seem to be confused about the actual meaning of femininity and masculinity.

    If by femininity you mean “cooking, cleaning, waxing and acting dumb” then yeah it’s a social construct. But if by femininity you mean “having boobs, having hips and curves” then it’s definitely not a social construct lmao

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  • I they they do have a "natural base". But most of it is social construct. Like, do some people really think that girls naturaly like pink and boys naturaly like blue? Lmao

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    • I don't like blue at all. Lol.

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    • l love pink

    • Ah shit, I didn't even notice that, lol. It does indeed say "they they." I still don't think it's reason enough to downvote, though...

  • Yes. I'm 100% heterosexual, but have mostly masculine traits. People often assume that I'm a lesbian because I'm not in the least "girly".

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  • Of course and definitely are. The society and especially social media, have great influences on the definition of masculinity and femininity.

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  • It's a mix of biological and social influence, similar to gender.

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  • yes, I think we both have masculin and feminin in us, but I think guys have hard time accepting this cause they were raised in a way that being feminin is being less

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    • Masculine* feminine*

    • Nobody has had your life but you, and that goes for everyone. Everything is relative. Think, if a question is not properly worded, the answers will depend on the interpretation and be a little off, maybe.

  • Part of it definitely is. As a kid and even today I love what I love, some of them are considered masculine but I don't give a shit. Here's a small list of things that I like for example:
    1) Science
    2) Makeup and fashion
    3) Cricket (sports not insect lol)
    4) Books
    5) Working out, especially strength training
    6) I am also very active as in, I am always running and jumping around and I can carry heavy stuff which is described as boyish by many people.

    All the stuff above are a mix of boyish and girlish but idc~ I just be myself <3

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    • you are very cool l do male and female things as well

    • Literally none of that has anything to do with gender roles. And that's part of the problem.

      But masculinity and femininity do exist as they are traits created from our testosterone and estrogen levels.

    • They really don't. I agree. But people divide them into boyish and girlish.

  • Depends what you mean. If you mean by liking football, the gym, and beer is masculine and pink, being dumb and taking care of the house is feminine, then yes, those are social constructs. If you mean by testosterone, hips and boobs, etc, no.

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    • Normal men are born mansuline. A man being feminine is from nuture not nature

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    • Yes. Back 1000s if years ago if a man was not hunting , but instead stayed back with women he’s a gay dude

    • Anyways I can see a batty boy from a mile away

  • I think they have both existed thousands of years before “social construct” became a term.

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  • Eh, all three of those terms are so vague. Everyone has different ideas of masculinity and femininity, and social constructs emerge from biology...

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  • Of course it is. The only things that determine what is masculine and what is feminine in society are the opinions of people.

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    • So giving birth isn't feminine? lol

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    • @MlleCake Well that's where you and I disagree. lol. Not saying I don't respect people's choices, if that's how they want to live, but in my eyes they are not men. Human men don't and can't give birth.

    • @636314 Sez you.

  • No they are natural constructs. The idea that masculinity and femininity are social constructs is a social construct.

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  • Of course they are, that doesn't mean that they're any less realistic. Although, they can be very generalized. The application varies from person to person.

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  • To a degree, yes. But as with anything societal, there's always nature and nurture involved. The trick is recognizing the difference.

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What Guys Said 145

  • The real logical explanation why I know for a fact that masculinity and femininity is not a social construct is the fact that masculinity and femininity existed before governments even were started. All masculinity and femininity are is just the way to describe male and female and also in a spiritual aspect, to describe both traits from masculinity and femininity that are found in all of us the fact that masculinity and femininity traits are found in everyone. And no what I mean by feminine traits and masculinity traits I don't mean what the mainstream media tries to push. Putting on makeup does not make you feminine just as much as getting shredded and cussing people out does not make you more of a man. And it's because of the lies and mainstream media push they want us to be brainwashed so that you're not able to question anything. The reason for that is because they don't want to people to be smarter than them because they want to control us, you want to know real oppression? the real oppression is the mainstream media and the globalist agenda that just want world domination. In order to actually be smart you have to learn to question everything including your own beliefs including yourself and including everyone else and you have to learn to be curious and have to learn to be open-minded and you have to learn not to be a hypocrite and you also have to learn to overcome fears. If you are too prudent to allow other people to talk and you're not allowing people to talk and say their piece of the puzzle before your turn, then you'll never learn therefore you'll never grow and therefore you'll never be smarter. The only thing that is a social construct is belief itself and ideologies and perspectives. The problem with people of the extreme left is just the same exact problem Bible Thumpers have. They both tell lies and they both say a whole bunch of words they don't know the meaning of and then twist the truth or make people believe in a lie and try to make people think that their words they are using or the meaning that they think isn't meaning that I was actually a different meaning than they think. Because narcissism. The truth: we are all living in The Matrix. The more you see people for how they look on the outside or for how they are different the more you will learn hate. True Justice is blind. It does not discriminate and it does not see color and it also doesn't see in black and white. You can't make the world a better place if you give into hatred

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  • Of course not. They are as much a social construct as colors.

    When you look under the hood, I have XY chromosomes and those __make_ me masculine. My wife has XX and tjose _make_ her feminine. People in between, so to speak, have various genetic or gestational or developmental abnormalities.

    NONE of these are social constructs.

    They are constructs of 4 billion years of evolution of life on Earth.

    Social scienists need to get a grip and master Occam's Razor.

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  • The idea that women are not as capable as men is a social construct men and women for the most part can do the same jobs like physic and engineering ( look at Marie curie first woman ever to get a Nobel prize and she got one in both physics and engineering the only person to get another price and two different fields).

    This is when it’s not a society thing our physical body’s and the way we think, men like to solve problems when a women comes to use with a problem and just wants to be heard we tend to want to give advice on how to fix it when all you want us to do is listen. Women tend to be more emotional than men which makes us look insensitive but that’s not our goal that’s just how we come across. Women can give birth man can’t and are usually physically stronger than women doesn’t mean I want to go up against Rhonda Rousey or Gal Gadot. Masculine work position would be One that requires heavy lifting such as oil rig and currently we need oiled up our cars and most women do not have the strength to do such a job not saying all women can’t do the job but the majority of women aren’t going to be physically capable of doing the job because of her physical strength nothing against her it’s just limitations she has women are tough I want to want to give birth being a mother is typically looked at as more feminine taking care kids all that kind of stuff. I also noticed that women Pay a lot more attention to detail especially when it comes to cleaning and making homes look nice even tell if there’s a woman in the house when you enter somebody’s house it’s a mess versus looking nice

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  • Based off Carl Jung's theory of anima and animus we all possess both masculinity and femininity. Anima is subconsciously inside a male which is feminity and animus is subconsciously inside a female which is masculinity. People need to understand that males and females are both physically and mentally different. If you refuse to believe that might as well just call yourself a postmodernist.

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  • There have been soooo many numerous and dense research done to disprove this argument. Back in the day, when we humans were living in caves and running around hunting. There was no social construct our biology structured the way behave and fundamental masculine and feminine behaviors are a result of evolution. Even Christians believe this very thing.

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  • I am a man that has a feminine side that is just about equal to my masculine side. I have only been with women. I love women I doubt that will ever change. But most people see me for what I like and not what I am. Never considered having a boyfriend. Infact every man women find attractive I think are ugly hell I think I ugly.. I am comfortable in my own skin. I like hunting and fishing and off roading. I also like shopping and pedicures and shoes. I fix my own truck when it breaks down. I paint my toenails. I don't think there should be lines in the sand where you are either on one side or the other. People are and should be what they are born to be. Not everyone agrees with me on this and do you know what? I accept them for it. I don't discriminate or judge anyone who is being themselves.. With one exception... Be yourself all you want as long as it don't hurt anyone. I don't care if you cover your self in green jello and run naked down the street. But the second you hurt someone the fun is over.

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  • Some aspects of gender roles are based on social norms and is a result of taught behavior
    But there are some biological differences and those do also make a difference
    The idea that it is entirely taught behavior is ridicules to me there are differences to our instincts to our hormone levels to our physical builds all of which influence behavior
    The fact that we have built up differentiating social norms is most likely a result of differentiating biology in the first place

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  • Biology is the main determining factor in masculinity and femininity. Your testosterone and estrogen levels you are born with determine your masculinity and femininity. As well as things like men being stronger and taller, and women being more emotionally intelligent, drive how we act in daily life

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  • they are not "social constructs", they are strategies for survival of our species that have evolved over million of years. not only humans use that strategies. also other animals have clearly defined gender roles.

    it's modern society that questions it's "necessity" given that we basically have no struggle to survive as a species anymore but society didn't create those roles. evolution did.

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  • No. They are natural. Society just embellished and tweeked them a little.

    Erase everyone's minds and start over, and I garantee you masculinity and feminity will still be there. At least in some way. They are natural, it's just because we are male and female. Society can't change that. Not really.

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  • It 100% is a social construct. Just think of all those other civilizations where women are viewed as leaders while men just do the heavy lifting. Had people decided that barbies and pink was manly then you'd look like a loser for playing with power rangers and wearing black.

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  • Liking it or not, biologically men and women really are different from each other; and your sex greatly affects your outlook on life, and how you think of and interpret the world around you.

    But regardless, society definitely greatly exaggerates those differences even more. Though your sex makes a big difference in your life, it's not as specific as determining whether you prefer pink or blue, whether you prefer video games or dressing up, etc. It effects your though process, but not the things you like in specific.

    I highly doubt women would wear as much makeup as they do if it wasn't for society pushing women to care for their looks more than men, or that they'd shun video games and sports as much as they do if society didn't force them towards fashion and dressing up.

    If society didn't impose anything, we'd have a lot more girls becoming astronauts and watching shows like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, and a lot more guys dressing up and dancing and singing.

    Basically, people would care less about what society says, and just do as they like, regardless of gender roles.

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  • No because we have substantial amounts of data showing that its biological in nature, that many of the behaviors can be found across the primate order, shown to exist in infancy, shown to exist in a biological sense, shown that hormones influence behavior and that male and female hormones are different etc. Their is not debate on this, scientifically speaking, gender is not social its biological in origin.

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  • No, it's basic biology. That doesn't mean men can't be more feminine, it just means that masculine and feminine exist and some guys may be more feminine and some girls more masculine. Things like instilling guys to be a man and not cry etc is social programming but it seems to be dissappearing.

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  • No, not completely, but I believe the social aspect of it amplifies the need to show it off. Not every girl and guy are the same next to similar gendered individuals.

    Men and women are definitely born with different capacities than each other, some are similar, but generally you can tell that there is some difference. There is a lot of socialization involved, but it is not completely one way or another

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  • When my daughter was barely 12 months old, I put some trucks etc in front oh her, and some baby dolls in front of her also. Guess which toys she chose every single time? The dolls. She was not the least bit interested in the trucks- ever. Do, assuming she was too young to be affected by any social conditioning , I can assume she was born with a more maternal instinct, right? So for her, at least, Id have to say the answer is “no”. Am I right?

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  • Not really women are more towards the social side of things. But masculinity existed before society femininity I think even cooking and cleaning was a social construct. But protecting women from dinosaurs or sabre tooth tigers was all instinct not a social construct nor was being a soldier during ww1 or ww2. But a lot of feminity comes from society.

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  • I should’ve put “Not sure” because I really haven’t educated myself on the what exactly social construct but growing up I’ve always been taught that men naturally suppose to be masculine and women are naturally suppose to be feminine.
    Times are changing though and if there is 100% evidence of that being different then what I grew up knowing then I’ll be for it. :)

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  • Yes, masculinity and femininity are social constructs because it is what society dictates. Masculinity and Femininity vary across different cultures and periods in time. Both males and females can exhibit masculine or feminine traits and behavior.

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  • To an extent yes, society has its idea of what roles each gender has to play and how they should act or conduct themselves. Unfortunately, it's something people follow blindly. Roles and stuff should be defined in every individual relationship and what the parties mutually agree on... not what society dictates.

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