However, it may be analyzed in terms of biology—a girl must pass puberty to become a woman—and sociology, as a great deal of mature relating in social contexts is learned rather than instinctive.
In gender studies the term gender refers to proposed social and cultural constructions of masculinities and femininities. In this context, gender explicitly excludes reference to biological differences, to focus on cultural differences. Those who followed Butler came to regard gender roles as a practice, sometimes referred to as " performative ". Hurst states that some people think sex will, " For example, Michael Schwalbe believes that humans must be taught how to act appropriately in their designated gender to fill the role properly, and that the way people behave as masculine or feminine interacts with social expectations.
Schwalbe comments that humans "are the results of many people embracing and acting on similar ideas". Schwalbe believes that these distinctions are important, because society wants to identify and categorize people as soon as we see them. They need to place people into distinct categories to know how we should feel about them. Hurst comments that in a society where we present our genders so distinctly, there can often be severe consequences for breaking these cultural norms.
Many of these consequences are rooted in discrimination based on sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians are often discriminated against in our legal system because of societal prejudices. He says that "courts often confuse sex, gender, and sexual orientation, and confuse them in a way that results in denying the rights not only of gays and lesbians, but also of those who do not present themselves or act in a manner traditionally expected of their sex".
Andrea Dworkin stated her "commitment to destroying male dominance and gender itself" while stating her belief in radical feminism. She notes that a transition occurred when several feminist scholars, such as Sandra Harding and Joan Scott , began to conceive of gender "as an analytic category within which humans think about and organize their social activity".
Feminist scholars in Political Science began employing gender as an analytical category, which highlighted "social and political relations neglected by mainstream accounts".
However, Hawkesworth states "feminist political science has not become a dominant paradigm within the discipline". Beckwith describes two ways in which the political scientist may employ 'gender' when conducting empirical research: It may also demonstrate how gender differences, not necessarily corresponding precisely with sex, may "constrain or facilitate political" actors.
Gender as a process has two central manifestations in political science research, firstly in determining "the differential effects of structures and policies upon men and women," and secondly, the ways in which masculine and feminine political actors "actively work to produce favorable gendered outcomes".
Gendering is a socially constructed process based on culture, though often cultural expectations around women and men have a direct relationship to their biology. Because of this, Newman argues, many privilege sex as being a cause of oppression and ignore other issues like race, ability, poverty, etc. Current gender studies classes seek to move away from that and examine the intersectionality of these factors in determining people's lives. She also points out that other non-Western cultures do not necessarily have the same views of gender and gender roles.
Newman believes this is problematic because there is no unified definition as to what equality means or looks like, and that this can be significantly important in areas like public policy. Sociologists generally regard gender as a social construct, and various researchers, including many feminists , consider sex to only be a matter of biology and something that is not about social or cultural construction. For instance, sexologist John Money suggests the distinction between biological sex and gender as a role.
Lynda Birke, a feminist biologist, maintains "'biology' is not seen as something which might change. However, there are scholars who argue that sex is also socially constructed. For example, gender theorist Judith Butler states that "perhaps this construct called 'sex' is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps it was always already gender, with the consequence that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all. It would make no sense, then, to define gender as the cultural interpretation of sex, if sex is itself a gender-centered category.
Gender should not be conceived merely as the cultural inscription of meaning based on a given sex a juridical conception ; gender must also designate the very apparatus of production whereby the sexes themselves are established. She argues that colonial powers used a gender system as a tool for domination and fundamentally changing social relations among the indigenous. She argues that male and female genitals were considered inherently the same in Western society until the 18th century.
At that time, female genitals were regarded as incomplete male genitals, and the difference between the two was conceived as a matter of degree. In other words, there was a gradation of physical forms, or a spectrum. Therefore, the current perspective toward sex, which is to consider women and men and their typical genitalia as the only possible natural options, came into existence through historical, not biological roots. She starts her argument with an example of the birth of an intersexual individual and maintains "our conceptions of the nature of gender difference shape, even as they reflect, the ways we structure our social system and polity; they also shape and reflect our understanding of our physical bodies.
After describing how the doctors inform parents about the intersexuality, she asserts that because the doctors believe that the intersexuals are actually male or female, they tell the parents of the intersexuals that it will take a little bit more time for the doctors to determine whether the infant is a boy or a girl. That is to say, the doctors' behavior is formulated by the cultural gender assumption that there are only two sexes. Lastly, she maintains that the differences in the ways in which the medical professionals in different regions treat intersexual people also give us a good example of how sex is socially constructed.
A group of physicians from Saudi Arabia recently reported on several cases of XX intersex children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH , a genetically inherited malfunction of the enzymes that aid in making steroid hormones. A number of parents, however, refused to accept the recommendation that their child, initially identified as a son, be raised instead as a daughter.
Nor would they accept feminizing surgery for their child. In this article, Fausto-Sterling states that Western culture has only two sexes and that even their language restricts the presence of more than two sexes. She argues that instead of having a binomial nomenclature for organizing humans into two distinct sexes male and female , there are at least five sexes in the broad spectrum of gender.
These five sexes include male, female, hermaphrodite, female pseudohermaphrodites individuals who have ovaries and some male genitalia but lack testes , and male pseudohermaphrodites individuals who have testes and some female genitalia but lack ovaries. Fausto-Sterling additionally adds that in the category of hermaphrodites, there are additional degrees and levels in which the genitalia are developed; this means that there may be more intersexes that exist in this continuum of gender.
Fausto-Sterling argues that sex has been gradually institutionally disciplined into a binary system through medical advances. She brings up multiple instances where gender in history was not split into strictly male or female, Fausto-Sterling mentioned that by the end of the Middle Age, intersex individuals were forced to pick a side in the binary gender code and to adhere by it.
She then adds on that "hermaphrodites have unruly bodies" and they need to fit into society's definition of gender. She emphasizes that the role of the medical community is that of an institutionalized discipline on society that there can only be two sexes: She finishes up her argument asking what would happen if society started accepting intersex individuals.
Gender Intensification Revisited focuses on the work of Heather A. Lindberg, and Janet Shibley Hyde on whether or not girls and boys diverge in their gender identities during adolescent years. This hypothesis argues that parents affect their children's gender role identities and that different interactions spent with either parents will affect gender intensification.
Authors of Unpacking the Gender System: The coauthors argue that daily people are forced to acknowledge and interact with others in ways that are related to gender.
Every day, individuals are interacting with each other and comply with society's set standard of hegemonic beliefs, which includes gender roles. They state that society's hegemonic cultural beliefs sets the rules which in turn create the setting for which social relational contexts are to take place. Ridgeway and Correll then shift their topic towards sex categorization. The authors define sex categorization as "the sociocognitive process by which we label another as male or female.
Sexual differentiation and Sexual differentiation in humans In most cases, men and women and boys and girls are similar in behavior, with little gender difference, but some gendered behavior is influenced by prenatal and early life androgen exposure.
This includes, for example, gender normative play, self-identification with a gender, and tendency to engage in aggressive behavior. These levels may also influence sexuality, with non-heterosexual persons exhibiting sex atypical behavior in childhood.
One of the earliest areas of interest was what became known as "gender identity disorder" GID and which is now also described as gender dysphoria. Studies in this, and related areas, inform the following summary of the subject by John Money.
The term "gender role" appeared in print first in The term gender identity was used in a press release, November 21, , to announce the new clinic for transsexuals at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was disseminated in the media worldwide, and soon entered the vernacular. The definitions of gender and gender identity vary on a doctrinal basis.
In popularized and scientifically debased usage, sex is what you are biologically; gender is what you become socially; gender identity is your own sense or conviction of maleness or femaleness; and gender role is the cultural stereotype of what is masculine and feminine.
Causality with respect to gender identity disorder is sub-divisible into genetic, prenatal hormonal, postnatal social, and post-pubertal hormonal determinants, but there is, as yet, no comprehensive and detailed theory of causality.
Gender coding in the brain is bipolar. In gender identity disorder, there is discordance between the natal sex of one's external genitalia and the brain coding of one's gender as masculine or feminine. These extend from the exclusively biological "genetic" and "prenatal hormonal" differences between men and women, to "postnatal" features, some of which are social, but others have been shown to result from "post-pubertal hormonal" effects. Although causation from the biological— genetic and hormonal —to the behavioral has been broadly demonstrated and accepted, Money is careful to also note that understanding of the causal chains from biology to behavior in sex and gender issues is very far from complete.
For example, the existence of a " gay gene " has not been proven, but such a gene remains an acknowledged possibility. These women usually have ordinary female appearances though nearly all girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH have corrective surgery performed on their genitals. However, despite taking hormone-balancing medication given to them at birth, these females are statistically more likely to be interested in activities traditionally linked to males than female activities.
Psychology professor and CAH researcher Dr. Sheri Berenbaum attributes these differences to an exposure of higher levels of male sex hormones in utero.
In sexually reproducing species, individuals produce special kinds of cells called gametes whose function is specifically to fuse with one unlike gamete and thereby to form a new individual. This fusion of two unlike gametes is called fertilization. By convention, where one type of gamete cell is physically larger than the other, it is associated with female sex.
Thus an individual that produces exclusively large gametes ova in humans is called female, and one that produces exclusively small gametes spermatozoa in humans is called male. An individual that produces both types of gametes is called hermaphrodite a name applicable also to people with one testis and one ovary. In some species hermaphrodites can self-fertilize see Selfing , in others they can achieve fertilization with females, males or both.
Some species, like the Japanese Ash, Fraxinus lanuginosa , only have males and hermaphrodites, a rare reproductive system called androdioecy. Gynodioecy is also found in several species. Human hermaphrodites are typically, but not always, infertile.
What is considered defining of sexual reproduction is the difference between the gametes and the binary nature of fertilization. Multiplicity of gamete types within a species would still be considered a form of sexual reproduction.
However, of more than 1. A few rare species that push the boundaries of the definitions are the subject of active research for light they may shed on the mechanisms of the evolution of sex. For example, the most toxic insect,  the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex , has two kinds of female and two kinds of male. One hypothesis is that the species is a hybrid , evolved from two closely related preceding species. Fossil records indicate that sexual reproduction has been occurring for at least one billion years.
It appears that the ability to reproduce sexually has evolved independently in various species on many occasions.