What is the Sociology of Sexuality and Gender?

The sociology of gender is the study of gender in society. It examines the effects of socialization and the construction of each.

According to social scientists, sex and gender are two different things. A person's sex defines what they are biologically. Are you a girl or a boy? Male or female? Sex answers these questions. 

Gender, however, is the different social behaviors between males and females and how groups of power have exploited people based on it. I am a man, therefore I will go out and hunt, and protect the family. You are a woman, therefore you will stay back, and gather fruits and take care of the children. Basically, it looks at the different gender roles that society has created.

As for the sexuality part of this subfield, it looks at how and why society has shunned certain people based on their sexual orientation. An example would be how a lot of conservatives and religious fundamentalists dislike the LGBTQ community and don't want them to have the same rights as heterosexual (straight) people.

Another thing that the study of sexuality looks at is why people, mostly North Americans, view sexual intercourse negatively. Many of them view having pre-marital sex as bad; view people who have a lot of sex as bad; view girls who wear scantily-clad clothes as bad; and view the sex industry as bad.

But the two most important aspects of this study are why people suppress their sexuality and why people are so ashamed of their bodies.

How the different schools of sociological thought view sexuality and gender

If you don't remember or don't know the 4 paradigms of sociology, read this article before continuing on.

Functionalists look at how social institutions regulate sexuality. These include the condemnation of pedophilia, incest, and rape, for example.

Conflict theorists look at the social inequality of women when they study sexuality and gender. They examine the exploitation of women in the porn industry, and in the sex trade, and they study crimes such as abuse and rape.

The many different schools of feminism all have different solutions for gender inequality. Liberals want to eliminate sexism, socialists want to eliminate capitalism, and radicals want to create a separate institution for women. Multicultural and global feminists look at why, in many countries, women are treated as second-class citizens and try to fix it with various tactics.

The sociology of gender is important to understand because gender is often used to oppress. And by understanding it (and how it's used), you can call out the BS and fight back.

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