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Sociology of Gender and Sexuality

Sociology of gender and sexuality is a wide field that enables modern society to understand gender desires, sex, and how the topic relates to the diverse cultures across the world. This entails investigating how the issue of gender and sexuality is brought forth by issues such as race, ethnicity, national belonging, and transnational movement. This field helps us understand our bodies and minds through our gender and sex, legal definitions, societal expectations about men and women, and how the concept of masculinity and feminity are expressed across various fields. To have a full understanding of the sociology of gender and sexuality, it is important to understand how it developed as a topic, how its ideas are changing over time, the role played by feminists and queer theorists in shaping the field, how gender and sexuality are learned as well as its impact on other social institutions.

The sociology of gender and sexuality was developed in the 1960s and advanced in the 1970s (Epstein, 1994). This is because they believed that the sexual identities and meanings were affected mainly by the social norms, interactions of people, and being influenced by history. The field proponents believed that sexuality was influenced by the social environment and thus could not be treated as something extraordinary, separated from human behavior. The laws and identities of the society depend on the issue of gender roles, and thus the proponents believed that separating gender and sexuality from social institutions was ineffective. Gould (1977) argues that this led to an important question on how the social environment creates the notion of gender and sexuality and thus the development of the field.

Additionally, the sociology of gender and sexuality has changed with the changing times. Epstein (1994) asserts that it started as a field to understand how the social environment contributes to our understanding of sexuality. But with time, it advanced to compare the male and female roles. The field developed into a tool that women used to fight against the patriarchal society and deconstruct the gender roles that society has assigned to them. The field progressed and incorporated the issue of sexual orientation as one of the major aspects in understanding gender and sexuality. The field aimed at understanding how society viewed the aspects of gays and lesbianism and how sexual orientation could be made a comfortable topic for everyone, thus fighting off discrimination based on sexual orientation. The modern field has been characterized by how issues such as politics and economics play a role in defining gender and sexuality.

Furthermore, feminists and queer theorists have also played an important role in shaping the field. Feminists have voiced their concerns on the inequality ad lack of gender balance (Pedersen, 2001). They have expressed their concerns on how women are constantly abused and controlled by men. Feminists aimed to bring such plight to society’s attention and make them understand how such inequality can be eradicated. The queer theorists picked on this notion and have been championing fairness and equality in terms of gender and sexuality. This has helped the field make it known how the existing academic approach to social construct an unfair and proposes new approaches to the topic of gender and sexuality.

Therefore, it is evident that gender and sexuality are learned basically through interactions and the dictations of the social norms (Simons et al., 1979). Individuals pick the habits passed to them through symbolic interactionism and hold on to the practices. Even though the concept is being introduced in the curriculum, society plays an influential role in the behaviors that an individual will pick. However, the expressions will show the true desire of each one of the members. The expressions are made through relationships, desires, fantasies, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs. Such expressions, in turn, influence social institutions individuals govern the institution due to the constructs they pick. The discriminatory construct on gender has resulted in social institutions that have created gaps in opportunities available for both men and women. Men have better chances than women, who have to struggle and prove their worth. Müller (2016) argues that the same segregation is evident in institutions like sports where men compete in more games, unlike women, who are limited.

In conclusion, the sociology of gender and sexuality is a comprehensive field that deals with how society understands and expresses its views on gender roles and relations. The field was developed in the 1960s due to the concern that gender and sexuality could not be differentiated from the social environment. The field has progressed to addressing the inequalities between men and women and trending issues in the sexual orientation of individuals. Therefore, the concept of gender has become a central issue in fields such as politics and economics. The major concern has been shaped by feminists who fight for equality by bringing down the misleading construct that men are superior to women. The social construct on gender and sexuality influences social institutions because the notion picked by individuals will be evident in the governance of such institutions. Therefore, the sociology of gender and sexuality has played a role in reducing gaps between the genders and helping individuals understand how they play a role in shaping outstanding perceptions.


Epstein, S. (1994). A queer encounter: Sociology and the study of sexuality. Sociological Theory, 188-202.

Gould, M. (1977). Toward a sociological theory of gender and sex. The American Sociologist, 182-189.

Müller, M. (2016). Constructing gender incommensurability in competitive sport: Sex/Gender testing and the new regulations on female hyperandrogenism. Human studies39(3), 405-431.

Pedersen, J. E. (2001). Sexual politics in Comte and Durkheim: Feminism, history, and the French sociological tradition. Signs: journal of women in culture and society27(1), 229-263.

Simons, M. A., Benjamin, J., & de Beauvoir, S. (1979). Simone de Beauvoir: an interview. Feminist Studies5(2), 330-345.


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