Culture consists of shared understandings and standards held by a group: a body of mutually agreed-upon values, norms and beliefs that work as a nonverbal grammar and also as a source of identity, of ethnic pride and of group unity (Gilmore 222). According to Montashery (27), “gender identity starts with the knowledge and awareness, whether conscious or unconscious, that one belong s to one sex and not the other, though as one develops, gender identity becomes much more complicated.” There are several factors, which influence how an individual understands sexuality and gender. Structural factors like social norms shape individuals’ perceptions of appropriate sexual behaviors for men and women, setting up double standards that allow men more sexual freedom than women (Lefkowitz 4).
According to Johnston (21), “gender is both produced and shaped by institutions such as the media, religion, and educational, medical, and other political and social systems, creating a societal gender structure which is highly influential.” For example, in Hong Kong, foreign domestic workers like Christina have to contend with controlling employers from Hong Kong who are threatened by the sexuality of Filipinas. The women of Hong Kong deem the Filipina domestic workers as sexually threatening thus they try to impose control over them by putting in place stringent rules. Moreover, the foreign domestic workers are not only required to work for six days a week, but also shave their heads to portray a gender-neutral image. In my opinion, this is discrimination based on sexuality. There are several steps, which can be followed to counter this unfair treatment. Moreover, the shift of emphasis from study of individual behaviors to research on cultural meanings has drawn attention to the socially constructed identities and communities structuring sexual practice within collective life (Parker 7). Creating awareness and educating the general public about stereotypes and prejudice against domestic workers can go a long way in establishing an understanding on sexuality and gender.
My opinion on gender identity and sexuality has changed after reviewing the coursework. Like sex, gender is a multidimensional construct that refers to the different roles, responsibilities, limitations, and experiences provided to individuals based on their presenting sex/gender (Johnston 21). In Argentina, women were first permitted to join the army as soldiers in the year 1996. Women who choose to enter a military career in the Argentine Army are aware that they are entering into a typically male organization that will grant them marginal symbolic and moral status (Badaro 7). Before 1996, only men served as soldiers with women not being allowed in the field of battle as soldiers. Nowadays, the Army of Argentina displays gender homogeneity, which has given women a chance to join the military.
Muslims have a consistent view regarding gender relations and sexuality. This can be noted from how their women dress and behave. Moreover, when women refuse to conform by wearing other than what the Muslim religious rights groups prescribe, they are going against the norm which can lead to them not only being threatened but also attacked attacks instigated against them. Moreover, the sexuality of Muslim women is controlled by the Muslim religious rights groups which views sexuality as a source of immorality. In my opinion, the strict control and rules imposed by the Muslim religious groups has affected the sexuality of Muslim women more than it has affected that of males.
Lefkowitz, Eva S. et al. “How Gendered Attitudes Relate to Women’s and Men’s Sexual Behaviors and Beliefs.” Sexuality & culture 18.4 (2014): 833–846. PMC. Web. 8 May 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4244004/
Montashery, Iraj. “Figurative Construction of Gender through Metaphor and Metonymy.” Advances in English Linguistics 2.1 (2013): 105-109. Retreived from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.897.1402&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Gilmore, David L. “My Encounter with Machismo in Spain.” Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective. New Delhi: PHI Learning Private Limited (2011): 196-210. https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/1709
Parker, Richard, Regina Maria Barbosa, and Peter Aggleton, eds. Framing the sexual subject: the politics of gender, sexuality, and power. Univ of California Press, 2000. https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=4NliP22yCaUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=Parker,+Richard,+Regina+Maria+Barbosa,+and+Peter+Aggleton,+eds.+Framing+the+sexual+subject:+the+politics+of+gender,+sexuality,+and+power.+Univ+of+California+Press,+2000.&ots=zDvoExRcfk&sig=zJYOz0GWcopBuvAyoFwp8FLCSNQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Parker%2C%20Richard%2C%20Regina%20Maria%20Barbosa%2C%20and%20Peter%20Aggleton%2C%20eds.%20Framing%20the%20sexual%20subject%3A%20the%20politics%20of%20gender%2C%20sexuality%2C%20and%20power.%20Univ%20of%20California%20Press%2C%202000.&f=false
Johnson, Joy L., and Robin Repta. “Sex and gender.” Designing and conducting gender, sex, and health research (2012): 17-37. https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=1kF2AwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA17&dq=Johnson,+Joy+L.,+and+Robin+Repta.+%22Sex+and+gender.%22+Designing+and+conducting+gender,+sex,+and+health+research+(2012):+17-37.&ots=q6GtVD1dAL&sig=ybYGhYfKAUk0TMkQvG4h-U7jsIw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
Badaró, Máximo. ““One of the Guys”: Military women, paradoxical individuality, and the transformations of the Argentine Army.” American Anthropologist 117.1 (2015): 86-99. https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/aman.12163