Gender essentialism is the theory that there are certain universal, innate, biologically- or psychologically-based features of gender different from sex that are at the root of observed differences in the behavior of men and women. This changed the locus of the origin of the essential differences, in Sandra Bem 's words, "from God's grand creation [to] its scientific equivalent: It was not until the middle of the 20th century and the writings of second-wave feminism starting Define essentialism in sexuality Simone de Beauvoir that the first alternative theory for gender difference was proposed.
This theory Define essentialism in sexuality developed by feminist theorists in the s, 70s, and beyond, and described gender difference as being socially constructednamely that the origin of gender difference is not in-born, but learned from interacting in society. Feminists are by no means unanimous in supporting theories of the social construction of gender.
Many adhere more to gender essentialism, or to some intermediate viewpoint. The two theories — gender essentialism and social constructionism — inform an active debate about the origins of gender differences in the fields of feminism, philosophy, and sociology which are sometimes acrimonious and break out into local and national politics. In feminist theory and gender studiesgender essentialism is the attribution of a fixed essence to women.
Essays on the Politics of Bodiesthat essentialism "entails the belief that those characteristics defined as women's essence are shared in common by all women at all times.
It implies a limit of the variations and possibilities of change—it is not possible for a subject to act in a manner contrary to her essence. Her essence underlies all the apparent variations differentiating women from each other.
Essentialism thus refers to the existence of fixed characteristic, given attributes, and ahistorical functions that limit the possibilities of change and thus of social reorganization.
Furthermore, biologism is a particular form of essentialism that defines women's essence in terms of biological capacities. An example of this would be the claim that women's nature is a God-given attribute, or the ontological invariants in Sartrean existentialism or Freudian psychoanalysis that distinguish the sexes in the "claim that the human subject is somehow free or that the subjects social position is a function of his or her genital morphology".
A Proclamation to the World states the official view, and declares gender to be an "essential characteristic" of sons and daughters of God, and an "eternal identity.
Church regulations permit, but don't mandate, ex-communication for those who choose sexual reassignment surgeryand deny them membership in the priesthood. The main alternative to gender essentialism is the theory of the social construction of gender.
In contrast to gender essentialism which views differences between
Define essentialism in sexuality and women as innate, universal, and immutable, social constructionism views gender as created and influenced by society and culture, which can be different according to time and place, and that roles societally defined as appropriate behavior for a person of that specific sex then become the standard to which members of that sex are measured against.
Theories of the social construction of gender grew out of theories in second-wave feminism in the latter half of the twentieth century. Judith Butler 's theory of gender performativity can be seen as a means to show "the ways in which reified and naturalized conceptions of gender might be understood as constituted and, hence, capable of being constituted differently".
This statement distinguishes sex from gender suggesting that gender is an aspect of identity that is gradually acquired. Candace West and Sarah Fenstermaker also conceptualize gender "as a routine, methodical, and ongoing accomplishment, which involves a complex of perceptual, interactional and micropolitical activities that cast particular pursuits as expressions of manly and womanly 'natures'" in their text Doing Difference.
This does not mean that the material nature of the human body is denied, instead, it is re-comprehended as separate from the process by which "the body comes Define essentialism in sexuality bear cultural meanings".
Analyzing gender has been a concern of feminist theory, thus there have been many modes of understanding how gender addresses meaning. This refers to a problem for the concept of subjectivity presupposed by feminist theories of gender. Patrice DiQuinzio discusses "how critics of exclusion see this as a function of feminist theory's commitment to theorizing gender exclusively and articulating women's experiences in terms of gender
DiQuinzio goes on to discuss how essentialism and exclusion work in relation to motherhood. Feminist theory which has used the idea of woman's essence to link gender socialization with exclusively female mothering, such as Nancy Chodorow's work, can be exclusionary and essentialist in the ways that it involves making universalizing and normalizing claims about mothers without taking social, historical, Define essentialism in sexuality cultural context into account.
Furthermore, the essentialism of gender in feminist theory presents a problem when understanding transfeminism. Instead of understanding trans studies as another subsection or subjectivity to be subsumed under the category of "woman", we understand the task of trans studies to be "the breaking apart of this category, particularly if that breaking requires a new articulation of the relation between sex and gender, male and female". Social categories such as gender are often essentialized by not only adults Define essentialism in sexuality also children, as young children are recorded to display essentialist beliefs about gender preferences and indications.
Poststructuralism indicates "a field of critical practices that cannot be totalized and that, therefore, interrogate the formative and exclusionary power of sexual difference", says Butler. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. An introduction to critical social psychology. London Thousand Oaks, California: The lenses of gender: God, sex, and gender: Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Space, time, and perversion: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.
Struggling Define essentialism in sexuality good faith: Johns Hopkins University Press. Yale French Studiesspecial issue: Witness to a Century.
Feminists theorize the political. New York Oxfordshire, England: In Scott, Joan Wallach. Women's studies on the edge. Retrieved May 28, Retrieved from " https: Feminist terminology Feminist theory. Wikipedia articles style issues from December All articles with style issues Wikipedia articles that are too technical from December All articles that are too technical Articles needing expert attention from December All articles needing expert attention Wikipedia introduction cleanup from December All pages needing cleanup Articles covered by WikiProject Wikify from December All articles covered by WikiProject Wikify Articles with limited geographic scope from December Articles with multiple maintenance issues All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from December Wikipedia articles needing rewrite from December All articles needing rewrite Articles needing additional references from Define essentialism in sexuality All articles needing additional references.
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