What people see in there everyday life may not seem to be what it actually is. Men dress like men and women dress like women. Growing up people learn what is right and wrong. Parents teach there kids these norms, and when we see something out of the ordinary we put them down. Not all men are masculine and not all women are feminine. Sigmund Freud, Judith Lorber, and Judith Butler all agree that gender is socially constructed. Gender is looked at as male or female, but is this opinion socially constructed or a biological fact?Sigmund Freud essay’s on the Theory of Sexuality shows that gender is socially constructed, and not a biological fact.
He uses psychoanalytic investigation to study how human behavior affects our gender. He uses three steps in showing how humans gain their sexuality. First is infantile sexuality, and how as infants we gain our sexuality on our own. When we are babies we use thumb sucking to pleasure our self, replacing the nipple. Being young, we do not realize the right and wrong of public sexuality. In the second step, latency, we start learning right and wrong.Our mouth is no longer a place for pleasure, and we move on to other things like potty training. Sexuality is mainly constructed in our third and fourth year of our life.
Finally, puberty reaches us and we acknowledge our sexuality. Freud says once we reach our puberty, our choices are merely based on our childhood experiences, though we do not remember them. Freud says that it is known that establish the difference between masculine and feminine at puberty. From puberty on Freud states, “This contrast has a more decisive influence that any other upon the shaping of human life (Freud).It is at this time when we have to start making decisions on our own.
Who will our sexual object be? He first explains that it comes from our early infantile period of sucking and gaining pleasure. Who we will seek this please from will be our choice, and gaining that pleasure from the genitals. Another way we find our objects is narcissistic, searching for our own ego and finding it in other people.
I think this is a major cause of bisexuality and inverts. An example would be a boy who grows up with his mother notices how his father treats her and makes her loved.This young boy might grow up to search for someone with the same traits as his father, making him homosexual. These examples prove that Freud is stating that gender is socially constructed. From the time that we are born there are three steps we take to find our split between masculine and feminine, and who our sexual objects will be. This social construction can be created in different ways. Judith Lorber bases her writing on continuums.
All of the gender categories such as sex, sexuality, and gender are based on two sides, but with grey areas. Sex is based on biology or physiology.Sexuality is based on desire, or sexual performance and orientation, and gender is based on a social status. For most, sex is assigned when we are born, based on the appearance of our genitalia. But what about people who are born with a penis and now live as a women and people born with a vagina that now live as a man? These people in today’s society are looked down upon. Not to mention everywhere they go they have to look at signs telling them what to do.
One example is bathroom signs; society perceives that only men use mens’ restrooms and women use womens’ restrooms.I think the main problem is lack of education. People are scared to believe that these people actually exist. Lorber has a good point that everything is put on continuums, man and women, male and female, lesbian and bisexual, and heterosexual and homosexual. But it is the areas in between that people need to think about. People can do this by education themselves on the subject, and knowing what is right from wrong.
Judith Butler also believes gender is socially constructed. Growing up we learn what to do in certain situations.When we are young we walk around in our birthday suit, we learn this is not normal.
Self-surveillance proves that even though we may not be being watched, we still to the right thing. But what is the right situation in gender? People can decide for themselves what they will look like to other people, and this should not be a problem. All of these ideas came from an origin. These origin ideas show right and wrong for males and females. The way men dress and the way women dress is a stereotype. “Gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original (Butler). People who wear drag are not imitating anything, if anything they created it on there own, and they are not a copy. Butler shows that if homosexuality is a copy, then there would be no construct of heterosexuality.
If copies come from an origin, then homosexuality is the origin. Butler shows in many ways how gender is socially constructed. It is true that gender is a biological fact that if you think about most people are born man or women. This implies that men are masculine and women are feminine. But, this is far from true.
Freud proves that gender is socially constructed through three stages of our life. First through infantile sexuality, where thumb sucking and breast feeding occurs. It is hard to imagine that as infants we are thinking sexually, but when we are older we do not remember these experiences. Second is latency where we learn what are right and wrong things to do, like public sexuality. Butler also talks about this, but she calls it self-surveillance. The third part of our social construction according to Freud is that we acknowledge our sexuality from when we were young.Lorber talks about how people are consistently on continuums.
The only problem is people look only at each side and not in the middle, like bisexuals. Though these authors have good points on how gender is socially constructed. If people were more educated, I believe it would not be out of the norm for people to see this. People these days like to hide the fact that they may be homosexual, even though they should have the right do show it. What people are on the outside, does not have anything to do with what they are underneath their clothes, looks, or even personalities.