Gender Theory Term Paper

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Gender or Sex: Gender Theory

Gender Theory seems to be quite simple on an external level. When one thinks of

gender they think of being entirely, or encompassing the characteristics of, the male or

female species. Gender Theory calls for more than just thinking about gender in a very

dichotomous way, it entails the separation of sex and gender; essentially dismissing the

roles prescribed to a certain sex by which gender category they are associated, thus

explaining why women have been oppressed by men throughout the ages. Gender

Theory has become one of the most popular of all the feminist theories because it proves

to be more inclusive than all the other theories.

The all inclusive Gender Theory states that the oppression of women comes from

the gender biased society we live in. The term gender is part of the attempt by

contemporary feminists to stake claim to a certain definitional ground, to insist on the

inadequacy of existing bodies of theory for explaining persistent inequalities between

women and men (Scott, 41). Most societies throughout the ages have had a universal

need to establish classifications...on the basis of physical traits. (Delphy, 4). Namely,

prescribing roles to those belonging to a certain gender; male or female. Women are

prescribed to be mothers, wives, homemakers, and the subordinate; men are supposed to

be strong, the breadwinners, and the dominant. Gender is, described as the cause of

certain beliefs about the world; the force that molds a plastic humanity, produces

naturalized bodies, or imposes sexual dimorphism; the determinant of identity; the

process that structures labor, power, and cathexis; or the mental category that structures a

form of dichotomous perception (Hawkensworth, 680). According to Gender Theory

we need to separate sex and gender, and renounce the stereotypical attributes that are

associated with being of a certain sex. By doing so the oppression of women could be


Gender Theory has become one of the most popular of all feminist theories

because it includes why women have been oppressed on an all inclusive level. By

renouncing or redefining gender, a society could alleviate the oppression of women and it

leaves open numerous possibilities for thinking about women in history, current

situations, and the future.

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