Understanding gender relations



May 3, 2023

Understanding Gender Relations

Hoor Asrar describes an
interesting subject

Understanding Gender Relations – Human evolution is a curious phenomenon not halting at any juncture. Within this huge spectre of evolution human race has always been cautious about matters relating to genders and it was a reality that it has to face throughout its existence. In specific context gender relations evolved as the social construction of sexuality. Over the years gender specification has been fully engrained in the social and cultural discourses. It focuses on the special perceptions and patterns of interpretation by which the binary structure of male and female is viewed, dealt with, and institutionalised. In doing so, it deals with the symbolic order of sexes in a society, as well as with the self-attributions and identification of the individual, which focus on it but are not identical to it. Gender relationships are embedded in concrete social relations and structural connections though their mature varies in different societies and they could face instability and dependency as the situation may be.

The main focus of studies initiated regarding issues related to genders and it deals primarily with analysing gender identity and their multifarious representation. With the passage of time this specific field has been expanded to analysing feminist aspects of existence spread over the areas of race, ethnicity, social class and matters related to the sexuality angle. In the current parlance gender studies perspective is often used to refer to the social and cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity, rather than biological aspects of the male or female sex. Nowadays gender specificity is pertinent to many disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology and psychology. These areas of operations sometimes differ in their approaches to it emphasise its importance. Looking at gender phenomenon from the political angle it concedes that its foundational discourse in currently widely employed in mass politics.

In this context the main point that has emerged in this reference is social gender differentiation is not based on biological or physiological conditions but on the result of social classifications and it certainly is not the outcome of a natural order that is immutable. The emphasis was that gender should be taken as a structural phenomenon with broad based considerations. As is mostly the case with evolutionary matters the gender issue was first taken on the basis of inequality between women and men that gave impetus to feminist movements that took strength in the beginning of the 20th century. The first milestone reached when under the influence of feminist campaigners the effort was made to unmask the scientific development as male oriented and criticizing the lack of awareness of women’s lives and active dealings professions. Feminist criticism of science highlighted that cultural, political and socially dominant gender images influenced the scientific theories of the time distorting them.

Efforts were made consequently to bring into consideration the feminist perspective and focus on determining their position and status in the broader social setting. This view was gradually broadened and increasingly women’s thinking and actions were analysed in relation to men’s with the intention of identifying differences and hierarchies. It was in this context that the discussion began about what sex and gender really mean and it soon emerged that gender indeed was a social categorisation that has hitherto governed gender relations and there was a need to review this point of view. The current situation is that gender is no longer treated as something natural but as a social or structural category with subsequent social roles and people are assigned or denied specific characteristics, attributes and places in society on the basis of their sex.

The next step in development was to re-orientate the implications associated with the separation and devising hierarchy of social spheres such as reproduction and production and these freshly developed syntheses gradually became part of the modern developed and democratically governed societies. Though this notion is still not understood and appreciated in most countries of the developing world that are mostly embroiled in the traditional interpretation of gender relations but efforts are also made there to bring about the change in their social order. In the modern world, gender is regarded as a binary hierarchy that co-organises the different levels of social organisations. This synthesis is based upon the premise that gender is a part and a result of a construction process in which he and she as individuals are involved in a sociological shift. The result is that gender is no longer viewed as a structural category but also as a process category that is constantly evolving.

The ongoing efforts in this context is to treat gender attribution and gender identity as a continuous production process that is taking place in all human activities. It is a collective and individual process of construction through which dual-gender classification is strategically implemented in practical social actions. A central understanding of gender relations is the recognition that hegemonic maleness is responsible not only for the dominance of men over women but also for hierarchies among men. An important difference continues to be that the experience of injustice and discrimination has not formed the basis of a political or partisan intervention and that these considerations had very little significance. Gender affiliation of persons and the two-sex model as a social classification and functional differentiation principle do not refer to the law of nature but is the result of social constructive processes. This construction of gender cannot, however, be viewed as a neutral form of determination; rather, it is already part of the social determination of gender relations and therein also of the social inequality between men and women.

It is reiterated that normative reference points in women’s and gender studies are put up for discussion with the transformation and broadening of knowledge on the category of gender as a binary construct. In the beginning, gender studies were oriented— as was the women’s movement—toward the issue of how equality between women and men could be attained in all areas and which barriers are an obstacle to this goal at the political, legal, symbolic and other levels. The primary emphasis this subject placed on was that the gender equality was essential and it should be viewed in discriminatorily as equality is assessed to lead to a cementing or even strengthening of progression of individuals in a social matrix. In this reference it is often pointed out that the deconstruction of gender has led to a shift from the selection of one of these two positions to a concern with analysing the connections between equality and difference.

The area of gender studies is consistently expanding and has witnessed a phenomenal increase in the number of female operatives serving in all professional circles who are currently occupying high political, social and economic offices and their performance is greatly valued. It is anticipated that the scope of the subject would keep on increasing as it is still realised that there is tremendous scope in this crucial area of human existence and exploration of further avenues is considered very much in order. This area is now finely balanced to proceed ahead on the lines that many rational people intend it should and expect that the discrimination witnessed in the developing world is surely to be addressed and aligned with the practices in vogue in the developed world particularly in the democratically governed countries. The Weekender

Hoor Asrar Rauf has remained a national swimming champion and recently Graduated from UCF-USA in Hospitality and Event Management 


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