How the Gender Binary Affects You
Our society is based on a system of binaries; systems in which there are two parts or sides. For instance; the Senate and the House of Representatives, cops and robbers, sex and gender, male and female. The notion that there are only two genders is known as the gender binary. The ways this binary affects our lives are numerous, whether we fall inside or outside this binary. And this binary is not always visible, especially to those who have never experienced what it is like to lie outside of this binary.
The gender binary is created through a process of social construction. This means the categories that compose the binary, male and female, were created as a result of the interactions and language in our culture. That is, there is no institution that created the binary i.e. the government, but instead are beliefs held by virtually all of us and enforced by us, not an institution. The way we enforce the gender binary is through elements of social control, which rewards those who conform to gendered sexual scripts and sanctions those who do not.
The experiences of those who don’t fall within the gender binary can be incredibly emotional and at times difficult to understand. The gender binary affects those outside of it by creating feeling of disenfranchisement, unwelcome ness, and fear. It also affects those within by rewarding them for conforming to social norms. Through close reading of (say authors here etc) we can see examples of factors of social control at work ad begin to understand the experience of what it is like to fall outside of the gender binary.
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