Sexual Meanings: The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality

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Because some young women believe that they …

Johann Hari complains of that "Some lines are deliberately provocative and offensive" (2002),and Sarah Burrell is concerned that the viciousness of the play'sdialogue jars with the reconciliatory plot: "That this is a world wherefemale genitalia cannot be referred to enough, and never without theC-word, is understood, but matching the sadomasochistic language of thecouple's past with the Relate-style counselling of the play's presentis something of a challenge" (2002).

This free Sociology essay on Cultural social construction of men and women is perfect for Sociology students to use as an example.
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Hence we need to continue work to ensure that women are represented in the Physical sciences: in higher study, in careers, and in educational and media vehicles and materials. Many Physics and STEM associations and Societies are increasingly paying conscious attention to equity in visual representations of the subject. However, it would appear from our findings that these are not yet having sufficient traction or disruptive impact on continued wider representations. Educators and activists continue to have an important role in encouraging media, employers, and educational institutions to recruit and present women in Physics. We need to encourage organisations to take a determined approach to ensuring the appointment and representation of women in key positions and to campaign to persuade the media to adopt a more socially responsible attitude to representation. Findings from Seymour and Hewitt () and others also remind us that recruitment alone is not sufficient: Women and other “non-traditional” STEM students and employees need also to be retained. Campaigns encouraging employers to ensure a supportive environment for women in STEM are productive in this regard, and those of us working in universities may be well-placed to encourage some of the less individualistic pedagogies which Seymour and Hewitt () advocate to retain women and minority ethnic students. (These latter might also help to deconstruct associations between Physical sciences and masculinity.)

Taken in their totality, these essays demonstrate that cultural notions sexuality and gender are seldom straightforward extrapolations of ..
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I don’t see any reason why women should be put off Physics and you know there is no reason, but in a way … like in the same way that people view intelligence as an interest in Science, people view you know Science as all the men at NASA working at their computers with the men landing on the moon and you know people forget that you know there are several prominent women [..]. (Buddy, White English/Italian, M, social class 1)

 Chapter. 12 Outline "The Cultural Construction Of Gender and Sexuality" "Differentiating Sexuality And Gender" The biological term, Gender refers to the fact that humans are overwhelmingly either male or female.
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Moreover, as feminist researchers such as Harding (, ) and Walkerdine (, ) have asserted, STEM disciplines are constructed upon, and perpetuate, longstanding epistemological, enlightenment constructions of reason, intellect, and competition that are, in turn, historically associated with masculinity. Several studies have explored how such associations between STEM and masculinity impede girls/women’s identification with STEM (Walkerdine ) and/or necessitate those engaged with STEM to adopt particular strategies to bridge this identification challenge. For example, Pronin et al. () found that women invested in maths adopted “bifurcation”—disassociating themselves from feminine stereotypes in relation to math. Similarly, Archer et al. () found that young women who identified with Physics tended to describe themselves as unfeminine. Critiquing the masculinist discourses that maintain such associations between STEM and masculinity, and which therefore exclude femininity, Walkerdine () and others have adopted poststructuralist theoretical lenses to deconstruct the gendered discourses that perpetuate these productions of STEM. It is these conceptual understandings of the social production of gender difference and of science as a masculine domain that we build upon in our approach to our research and data analysis.


What 'cunt' has in common with most other contemporary swear words is its connection to bodily functions. Genital, scatological, and sexual terms (such as, respectively, 'cunt', 'shit', and 'fuck') are our most powerful taboos, though this was not always the case. Social taboos originally related to religion and ritual, and Philip Thody contrasts our contemporary bodily taboos with the ritual taboos of tribal cultures: "In our society, that of the industrialised West, the word 'taboo' has lost almost all its magical and religious associations" (1997). In , Sigmund Freud's classic two-fold definition of 'taboo' encompasses both the sacred and the profane, both religion and defilement: "The meaning of 'taboo', as we see it, diverges in two contrary directions. To us it means, on the one hand, 'sacred', 'consecrated', and on the other 'uncanny', 'dangerous', 'forbidden', 'unclean'" (1912).

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In summary then, the existing literature highlights that understanding the factors which deter young people from pursuing routes into the physical sciences and engineering remains a key priority, both for Governments focused on economic productivity and in terms of equity, civic participation, equality of opportunity, and social justice. Especially, questions remain concerning the ongoing lack of access to Physics for women (and for men from working class and some minority ethnic backgrounds), as well as what might help to reverse this pattern. Research has established that STEM subjects, and Physics in particular, continue to be constructed as masculine, precipitating various practices that deter girls from pursuing these subjects for higher study. However, there has been less attention to how individuals explain these trends or the discourses underpinning such explanations.