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ERIC Number: ED358741
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Language and the Construction of Gender: Clarifying Ideas about Gender.
Taylor, Anita
This discussion of gender constructs compares them with racial constructs, and examines ways in which language tends to dichotomize or polarize them, and to reject ambiguity as unacceptable. Other curiosities about sexual categorization are noted, including the fact that femaleness is subsumed under the category of "man," which in turn is synonymous with human, but some roles are stereotyped as female only. It is argued that the English language supplies no good alternatives to the biologically-based bipolar construction, and conceptualization follows this pattern. Reliance on certain implicit assumptions: that there are distinct biological sex categories (male and female) and that gender is directly related to sex results in fuzzy conceptualizations of gender. It is noted that some feminist scholarship focuses on diversity among women, not just differences from men. However, little challenge to underlying bipolar assumptions is found in the literature. It is proposed that a useful way of approaching this issue is to pay attention to those people who challenge the biological categories assigned to them or reject the cultural concomitants. Distinctions made between gender assignment (made at birth), gender identity (as expressed both to oneself and to others), gender role, and gender attribution are seen as useful. Further, the need to begin with any gender distinction is disputed. (Contains 63 references.) (MSE)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A