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Ivory Estrada
Professor Beadle
English 115
3 October 2016
Changes To A Blinded Society
Since the beginning of time, women were established as the subordinate to men in our
society. Every living human was also conformed to follow the traditional social norms,
depending on their gender. Why is it that females remain submissive to males? And why are we
taught to conform to these traditional norms that society has placed upon us? Society views
people as individuals who follow traditional gender codes in order to establish a stable social role
within it. Gender is a very broad spectrum of socially constructed habits, behaviors, and beliefs.
Several articles may argue otherwise. The goal is to further deepen ones knowledge about the
way some do gender, as opposed to the way society views it. We will dive in to three articles
which all share a common idea within this broad spectrum of gender in our society. They all
share a counterargument regarding the way society treats men separately from women due to
certain expectations and presumed abilities of each sex. In the book Composing Gender, three
articles argue these issues and incorporate refutations regarding the discrimination between men
and women in our society, and also deal with how different people are treated based on the way
their gender identities are contributed to social norms.
Gender is a very broad spectrum of socially constructed habits, behaviors, and ones
beliefs. Judith Lorber in the article, Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender,
argues that gender means sameness for individuals but society views it differently. Lorber
describes sex as being the biological areas of a person based on their reproductive organs and

hormonal processes. These characteristics are what distinguish a male and a female. She then
suggests that gender is what a person identifies himself or herself as. Society is viewed as being
consisted of males and females who are meant to be classified with having characteristics of
either femininity for females or masculinity for males. Lorber defines the social construction of
gender as dealing with how individuals perform gender, not from a biological standpoint, but
rather acting on the means of society and what society expects. She states that a sex category
becomes a gender status through naming, dressing, and the use of other gender markers. (Lorber
p.20) What can be taken away from this quote is that Lorber believes that once the gender of a
child is evident, they act upon the way their parents mold them to societys traditional norms.
When dealing with the parental influence on how individuals do gender, the analysis of a
persons speech patterns, behaviors, and demeanors now comes into play. Aaron Devor in the
article, Becoming Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender, implies that in order
to become a member of society, one must establish their form of gender identity appropriate for
their designated social status. Devor supports his implication by breaking down the differences in
characteristics, behaviors, and physical appearances of a traditional male and female. He claims
that society views women as only being facilities for childbirth and breastfeeding because that is
how women were treated and meant to be used for during earlier time periods. However, we
have the predisposition that males are of superior power and have always been the dominant sex.
Devor observes the distinctions society sets for both male and female is differentiating their body
postures and tones of voice. Devor suggests that people appear feminine when they keep their
arms closer to their bodies, their legs closer together, and their torsos and heads less vertical than
do masculine-looking individuals. (Devor p.41) As presented, it is given that if an individual
sits with their legs crossed and body language it shows inferiority. A more masculine person

usually shows authority with a stiff, abrupt posture that communicates force and threat. When
analyzing speech patterns, Devor suggests that a feminine person tends to have a higher tone of
voice, which conveys a nonaggressive, subordinate status. People that are masculine appear to
have a more aggressive, deep, voice, which conveys an act of authority and superiority.

The aspects of femininity and masculinity play such a huge role in the workforce as well.
Ruth Hubbard in the article, Rethinking Womens Biology, argues that sex differences do not
define nor alter the workforce in our society. Hubbard supports her argument by discussing the
various traits womens biology share with social constructs and political concepts. Hubbard first
starts out by describing height differences between men and women; it was always said the men
were taller than women, but in reality, that was the abstraction society put upon us, which in
fact is not true. The average height for men is only a few inches greater than that for women. So
clearly we now see how just the height between men and women has affected social factors.
Something as basic as height can give off an act of superiority for men because theyre always
meant to be taller than women. Hubbard suggests that in order to achieve an egalitarian
division of labor requires political will and action, not changes in our biology. (Hubbard p.51)
The discrimination between men and women in the workforce also deals with how certain titles
will be given to either one of them to make them sound superior. For instance, a man and a
woman can be given the same job position but are each given a different title for that position.
Each can hold the same profession but the male may be titled as an administrative assistant,
whereas the female is given the title of a secretary. During the earlier periods, women were
always secretaries in the workforce to the men. These discriminating titles of position give the
males one that make them appear authoritarian and superior; women are given a degrading title

because they were always taught as viewing themselves inferior and submissive to men. Society
should not distinguish social power in the workforce on the more superior sex, but more
distinguishing it by their talent and quality of their work. Both should be treated equally in
constructing a stable and fair society in the workplace and just in general.
Each author has their form of distinguishing the issues of discrimination between men
and women, but they all work together in finding common ground. Their purposes and tones of
their writings share many aspects in order the grasp the attention of their readers. Lorbers
purpose is to explain how individuals view gender differently than how society portrays it. She
writes in an informative tone for all members of society. This may open the eyes of readers and
give them an idea of the equality between others and how it should be played in the role of
society. In addition, Devors purpose is to inform us how society treats different gender norms,
and it can either end with a good consequence or a bad one. He writes in a controversial tone for
the members of society who dont want to follow that typical gender norm being portrayed by
our society, and that it is possible to follow in multitudinous directions dealing with ones ideal
view of living in todays society. The purpose of Hubbards article was to stress the fact that in
order to achieve a society of equality, the focus needs to be on the political will and action, not
on biological variations. Her tone is very elucidative for both men and women of society
because she believes that members of society should be credited for being talented and having
the ability to display amazing work, rather than receiving higher credit due to the person being a
male, and receiving less credit if the person were a female.
Applying all this analysis to my own personal experiences was difficult. However, these
articles gave me a different perspective on how my life was actually influenced by at least one
claim mentioned. During the early of my childhood, it was surprising of how much I didnt

appear feminine. My parents followed traditional social norms and brought them upon me, but to
an extent. When I was a toddler I always had short hair, I even had an embarrassing bowl haircut.
Therefore, I didnt appear as feminine as I would have if I had longer hair. Regardless of the
boyish haircut, my parents would still dress me in feminine clothing and treated me as normal
parents would treat their baby girls: soft, sweet, and gentle. At two months old, my parents
decided to put earrings on me preferably because the fact that I had such short hair, they didnt
want the rest of society viewing me as a boy. But as I was getting older, I never had an issue with
being discriminated against because I was a woman, or people having difficulty in determining if
I was male or female. Although I do tend to conform to the traditional social norms, Im
comfortable just the way I am. There were many opportunities for me to explore and try to find
myself in another light other than a typical feminine female, but I like the woman I have become
throughout the journey of comformity and adaptivity in our society. My life relating to these
articles was such a nonexistent thought before reading the concepts in Composing Gender, but
there were issues that related to my own experiences that I was completely blind about before.

Works Cited

Groner, Rachael, and John F. OHara. Composing Gender. Boston, Mass.: Bedford/St.
Martin's, 2008.
Lorber, Judith. Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender. Composing
Gender. Boston, Mass.: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. p. 19-30
Devor, Aaron. Becoming Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender.
Composing Gender. Boston, Mass.: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. p. 35-43
Hubbard, Ruth. Rethinking Womens Biology. Composing Gender. Boston, Mass.:
Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. p. 46-51