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Posted on July 27th, 2012, by

Traditionally, gender relations were subject to a profound interest from the part of sociologists. At the same time, often views on gender relations were highly subjective and did not reveal the actual state of things in relations between genders. In this respect, western culture and sociology proved to be particularly vulnerable to influence of stereotypes and gender-related biases, which divided society into two distinct genders, while males played a traditionally dominant role. At this point, researchers, such as M. Mead and A. Fausto-Sterling debunk gender-related myths and stereotypes.

In fact, the researchers argue that conventional, western view on gender relations is erroneous. M. Mead researches different communities where men and women perform different roles. She actually reveals the fact that gender relations may be characterized as patriarchal, matriarchal as well as they can be relatively equal. In such a way, men and women are able to adopt gender roles, which are traditionally attributed either as purely male or female. In her research of non-western communities, she reveals that such a western view on gender relations and roles is wrong.

A. Fausto-Sterling, in her turn, argue that the concept of gender is also relative. She refers to numerous examples of intersexuals, whose sex cannot be clearly identified as either male or female. In other words, her research of hermaphrodites reveals the fact that humans cannot be divided into two genders only since their exceptions, which have characteristics of both genders or which are quite different from male and female or actually combine characteristics of both males and females.

Thus, it is possible to conclude that the authors have uncovered the complexity of the concept of gender and gender relations and proved that a two-gender division of society and strict gender roles are too narrow and do not reflect gender diversity of society.

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