Friday, October 10, 2008

Reconciling Masculine and Feminine World Views

Interesting article. I have to disagree with the notion that gender identity is only a social construct -- we know more all the time about how this is simply not true. Are distinct biology gives us obvious differences at ever step of the way. [That said, differences within sex are greater than differences between sexes, so figure that one out.]
Reconciling masculine and feminine world views

The masculine and feminine traits are not something we have due to our biological sex but abilities, attitudes and behaviour which we acquire from social interaction and unanalysed learning. We can say that gender is a socially constructed notion.

CJ: Dr. Lalit kishore

GENDER IS viewed as a socially constructed notion. Thus, the masculine and feminine traits are not something we have due to our biological sex but the abilities, attitudes and behaviours which we acquire from social interactions and unanalysed learning. Gender in a social conception of what it means to be a man or a woman in a social context and it can change. In fact, most educators and social scientists think that there is nothing that is masculine and feminine in it, but nonetheless, there are abilities and attitudes acquired as mental conceptions which can be looked upon as feminine or masculine.

Another notion about human beings which has brought a lot of harm to gender equity in that we have started treating them as ’resources’ or ’ means and instruments’ hence ’commodities to be used by and sold in the market’. For gender equity, human beings need to be taken as goals in themselves instead of their objectification as ’resources’ (Svennbeck).

According to Huston, family is the most significant socialising agency, which influences the notion of gender roles. Besides parents, the cultural milieu, peers educational institutions, media and also market forces play important roles in sex — stereotyping the roles of males and females in the society. Nonetheless, parents are most important influence or gender role influence of their children in the early years of development.

Accordingly, two world views and life systems get formed which need to be respected and balanced. There is a need for equity by valuing equally the women’s world.

Over the years, due to their lived experiences, both men and women have imbibed different influences and ethics. Many educators, feminists and social scientists now believe that the feminine view of the self is quite different.

It is generally built upon relatedness or connection to others and has the abundance of empathy, receptivity and intuition.

The dominant views of women on the process of knowledge have the following elements: (1) Knowledge in seen as constructed and the knower an intimate part of what is being known and that gets known, ie, a communion with what is being tried to be understood, (2) An attentive caring is important to the knower and the object of knowing or subject matter, i.e, a feeling for the self and other people, objects, words or knowledge system; and (3) Process of knowing is effective when there is an emotionally charged mutual relationships among the knower and teachers.

There are two kinds of ethics which have got developed over the years in male and female ethics. Male ethics is based upon the ethics of competition and subjugation with a knowledge system that is formal and abstract with everything being treated as a resource or a commodity. On the other hand, female ethics is based upon the elements of receptivity, relatedness and responsiveness.

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