Definition of gender studies
The academic discipline which analyses constructions of gender in society, often with reference to class, race, sexuality and other sociological characteristics.
Examples of gender studies in the following topics:
- Sociological research will study such things as social stratification between genders, the socialization of gender, influences of sexism on educational performance, gender and mass media, inequality in the workplace, gender roles and social norms , and other gender-related topics and social phenomena.
- Social theorists have sought to determine the specific nature of gender in relation to biological sex and sexuality.Theories that have contributed to gender research and the realm of gender studies include structural functionism (the theory that gender roles were originally functional; for example, women took care of the domestic responsibilities in or around the home because they were often limited by the physical restraints of pregnancy and nursing and unable to leave the home for long periods of time); conflict theory (seeing society as a struggle for dominance among social groups, such as women versus men, that compete for scarce resources); feminist theories (which use the conflict approach to examine the maintenance of gender roles and inequalities); and symbolic interactionism (which aims to understand human behavior by analyzing the critical role of symbols in human interaction).
- Other conceptions of gender influenced by queer theory see gender as multidimensional, fluid and shifting; something that cannot be plotted linearly at all.
- Sex and gender research, therefore, focus on different areas of study.
- Gender refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with being male or female (Diamond 2002).
- Gender, and how it is shaped by societal influences, is an important focus of much sociological research.