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University of Toronto Scarborough
Konstantine Zakzanis

st Maham Tariq SOCB22H3 APRIL 1 , 2013 SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF FEMININITY AND MASCULINITY Gender is a way in which social practice is ordered but then the question is how do we learn the social practices of gender? „Masculinity‟ and „femininity‟ is basically a place in gender relations, the practices through which men and women engage that place in gender, as well as the effects of these practices in bodily experience, and culture (Connell, p. 233). These constructions become cultural norms as they dictate to individuals what it means to be the ideal male or female and they can also go about attaining the ideal image that relates to their gender. The various messages of culture is at the forefront of the individuals‟ beliefs, telling them who they should be, how they should dress, and what they „need‟. The gendered categories of „masculinity‟ and „femininity‟ are socially created notions as well societal ideals about what is considered to be an appropriate masculine or feminine behavior. The main focus of this paper will be to look into the insights of the way masculinity and femininityis constructed as a social organization through culture. As human bodies are both shaped and interpreted in entirely gendered ways, meaning the way they are seen in the society are filtered through cultural lenses which makes some types of bodies seem desirable whereas others, unacceptable. Girls being satisfied with their body relates to their feelings of belonging as well as of being accepted by the society. The greater the acceptance of a woman‟s physicality and sexuality as her body‟s value is measured according to heterosexual standards of desirability. Similarly, young women develop a negative or positive sense of body as a result the society‟s judgments of their sexual attractiveness. One of the topics in the readings stressthe fact that girls are more pressured compared to boys to focus on their physical appearance as beauty is seen to be an important norm of the social organizationfor girls.“The preoccupation with appearance is socialized in girls more than in boys”(Rice, p. st Maham Tariq SOCB22H3 APRIL 1 , 2013 235).The popular media in the society reinforces the concept of such socializing messages as well as practices concerning beauty. Media emphasizes on the idea of considering material possessions as more important than moral values. For instance, the media focuses on how women must be very materialistic, possessing materials over their body to represent themselves. This idea relates to concept of economic imperative which stresses on the fact that “economics is an important reason as to why women change their hair texture, hairstyle, skin, colour, facial features or eye colour.” Women tend to change these things in order to get an “acceptable look” to fit in the society(Rice, p. 238).Today‟s cultural expectations have taught the society by means of gendered roles that women are supposed to perform the concept of being materialistic. All the cultural norms of femininity require women to learn to please visually and sexually through the practices of the body and this includes media imagery, beauty, and makeup. Masculinity is a practiced norm that cannot exist without subordination, such as of femininity. As woman practice the femininity norms of physicality as well as sexuality in order to fit in the society, this gives men the advantage to take control over women. As men are sexually attracted to women as a result of their assessment on the women‟s body, this can sometimes leadto sexual harassment, a concept from the readings. A very common institution where Sexual harassment takes place would be an institution, such as workp
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