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Social Construction

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Americans raise their children so that they follow certain guidelines as to who and what they should be. Most young boys are raised to be dominant not only amongst themselves but over the opposite sex. Young girls, in turn, are raised to be more passive and docile. A research study conducted by psychologist H.M. Leet-Pellegrini proved that Males are more likely to have a more dominant way of acting. To do this she set up pairs of men, pairs of women, and mixed pairs. They were asked to participate in a conversation about the effects of television violence on children. After analyzing the taped conversation she came to the conclusion that men, even though they might not have the most factual background on the conversation, will try and take the dominant role more often than women. Social construction of gender is the belief that people everywhere follow guidelines or rules implemented on them by their own society according to whether they are male or female. Sex refers to the biological attributes of being male or female. Gender refers to the socially constructed attributes of being male or female, such as femininity and masculinity. Women and men are treated unequally on the basis of the fact their sex.

Not only does a social construct set standards for how men and women should act but there are many beliefs as to what men and women should look like. The Beauty Myth, a book by Naomi Wolf, looks at an interesting tribe in Nigeria known as the Wodaabes. In this tribe male beauty is obsessed over. Men spend hours in make up sessions to compete in beauty contests judged by women. Also in this society the women hold economic and political power.

Closer to home things are much more different. In America women have to live up to the

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standards of beauty. Beauty is a demand as well as a judgment on women in our society.

Women are expected to be thin, have long legs, small feet, a large chest, perfect skin and somewhat of a pear bodied shape. Although a combination of all these things might look fake, that is what women in America strive to become. Diets and eating disorders can maintain an ideal image but may have negative effects on a woman's body. Many women will go as far as surgical procedures to obtain new, or retain old attributes. When women do not meet up to the standards they view themselves as imperfect and could do serious damage to their self-esteem. It is unfair that women are expected to work so hard on themselves and then, on top of that, have to compete in a male dominated world. Men, on the other hand, are expected to devote their lives to work and family relations often suffer. Men are brought up to believe



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