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The Issue of Gender

            As asserted by sociologists, "ones sex is biological, whilst gender is social". The distinction between sex and gender differentiates sex (anatomy of an individual's reproductive system) from gender (social roles based on the sex of the person, usually culturally learned). As the quote highlights, the term gender is a person's private sense of their own gender. This is generally described as one's private sense of being a man or a woman, however, some individuals do not identify with some of the aspects of gender that are assigned to their biological sex.
             There are a number of theories which exist relating to the construction of gender, however, there are two main conflicting perspectives which exist. The first is Functionalist theory, this theory emphasises each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole society. They argue that society is more than the sum of its parts; rather, each part of society is functional for the stability of the whole society. The second is Conflict theory, this theory argues and encourages change in society's distribution of resources, power and inequality. There has also been a long standing debate in relation to the construction of gender. Nature versus nurture is a discussion that debates a person's attributes, like and dislikes and whether these characteristics stem from nature, which refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are, from our physical appearance to our personality characteristics. Or nurture, which refers to all the environmental variables that impact who we are, including our early childhood experiences, how we were raised, our social relationships, and our surrounding culture. Gender construction is based on a number of factors including ones biological makeup, the cultural context and one's personal choice as to how they wish to portray gender. .
             The first theory to be investigated is the Functionalist theory.

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