My inquiry question is: ‘Is being masculine or feminine biological or a social construction?’
To answer this question, I will first research the two theories of gender development. **I know that there are many theories that try to explain gender but I will only research the two main ones.
- What is biological determinism? What is the scientific evidence of it?
- What are different theories of gender socialization?
The first round of my research will be on biological determinism (or essentialism). This theory claims that being feminine or masculine is due to the biological distinctions between the sexes. I will look into the two main parts of this theory; how the evolutionary process and biological differences between the sexes determine gender. For example, I will look into studies that show how gender might be caused by sex hormones, genes and female vs male brains.
The next round will be about gender as a social construct (socialization). This theory claims that femininity and masculinity are not inherent, but are learned through socialization in all aspects of life, such as in the family, school, friends and all the overall culture. There are many different theories and views that try to explain how socialization works and why it happens. I will look into different theoric takes on gender socialization; such as Simone De Beauvoir, Judith Butler, Catharine MacKinnon and Nancy Chodorow.
3. Is gender learned or inherent? Both?
What is the impact of gender in our lives?
In my last round of research, I will finish answering my inquiry question: ‘Is being masculine or feminine biological or a social construction?’. To do so, I will be contrasting these two gender theories that I learned about in the last two rounds of research and try to find a common ground between them. I will also research how gender affects us, both positively and negatively.
I hope that by answering my inquiry question, others will be able to understand and gain more knowledge about some of the different theories of gender development. Most people only have a basic understanding of this topic and this research will go into deeper details on it. Knowing about gender is important because it affects, positively and negatively, many aspects of our lives.
Five sources for my research: