While reading “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” by Audrey Lorde, I recalled another article about feminist vision. Gender is hard to notice. It is taken for granted and a part of everyday life. Gender is noticed when gender norms are violated or when gender is not clear. In our society, gender and biological sex are seen as inseparable. Gender starts at birth- you are either male or female. Your sex determines your gender and it is reinforced by parents and others actions toward you. It seems that most people actively shape their behavior to meet socially accepted gender expectations. Gender plays a major role in social organization such as child rearing responsibilities, division of labor, symbolic productions, and much more. Gender is used to create distinguishable social categories that are unequal. It is an activity that generates differences between men and women. According to Judith Lorber, gender is so pervasive that in our society we assume it is bred into our genes. It seems natural because it is done everyday- it is constantly created and re-created during human interaction.

Unfortunately, gender ranks men above women of the same race and class. “Women and men could be different but equal. in practice, the process of creating difference depends to a great extent on differential evaluation. The dominant categories are the hegemonic ideals, taken so for granted as the way things should be that white is not ordinarily thought of as a race, middle class as a class, or men as a gender. The characteristics of these categories define the Other as that which lacks the valuable qualities the dominants exhibit (The Social Construction of Gender, Judith Lorber).” Society generally values what men do more highly than what women do. Since gender is a major component of structured inequality, the devalued genders have less power, prestige, and economic benefits than the valued genders. Of course this reinforces gendered differences, identity, and ways of thinking and behaving. Due to efforts of many strong women, men are not completely dominating the positions of authority and leadership in government, the military, and the law any more (The Social Construction of Gender, Judith Lorber). For humans, it seems that the social is the natural.

Audre Lorde’s article discussed many differences in class, race, age, and sex. She suggested that these differences must be recognized in order for problems facing women to be seen. The differences in race, age, and class are not the dividing factors we so readily recognize. Women must come together to transform the socially constructed identity of women to develop new definitions of power and new relations. The change will be difficult since so much of gender seems innate.

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