What is Social/Cultural Construction?
Cultural constructionism- human behaviour and ideas are best explained as
the result of culturally shaped learning (Gender is cultural)
Biological determinism- biological features such as genes or hormones are
used to explain behaviour and ideas (Sex is biological)
Social construct is a concept or practice that is seen as natural, common
sense, essential, or god given. We create it through our choices; we reinforce
our own worldview.
Gender As Cultural Construct:
Sex refers to biological categories (male & female) determined by genital,
chromosomal and hormonal differences.
Gender refers to patterns of culturally constructed and learned behaviour
and ideas attributed to men and women.
Anthropologists ignored “gender” & assumed men’s lives were the cultural
A cross cultural perspective challenges the idea that gender is natural,
because gender is variable cross culturally
Gender and sex do not correlate “naturally” but culturally
The Sambia of Papua New Guinea:
Boys do not naturally become men, they need help
Considered strong warriors, because they lived by constant threat of their
neighbours, very important for meant to be very strong
Boys are trained from young age to become very strong “warriors”
Men don’t live with wife and children, they live in a men’s house, they get
taken away from mother’s house when they are 6 or 7 to live in this place to