What Is Social Theory of Gender?


Martha Robinson

Social Theory of Gender is a concept that explains how gender roles and identities are influenced by societal norms and expectations. It looks at the ways in which society constructs gender and how these constructions impact individuals. In this article, we will delve deeper into the Social Theory of Gender and explore its different aspects.

What is the Social Theory of Gender?

The Social Theory of Gender argues that gender is not biologically determined but rather socially constructed. It posits that gender identity is shaped by cultural and societal norms, expectations, and practices.

In other words, gender roles are not inherent but rather are learned behaviors that are passed down through generations. These behaviors can vary across cultures and time periods.

Gender vs Sex

It’s important to differentiate between gender and sex as they are often used interchangeably but have different meanings. Sex refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as reproductive organs, chromosomes, hormones, etc., while gender refers to the social and cultural expectations associated with being male or female.

Gender Roles

Gender roles refer to the social expectations placed on individuals based on their perceived gender. For example, girls are often expected to be nurturing, emotional, and passive while boys are expected to be strong, aggressive, and independent. These roles can lead to discrimination when individuals don’t conform to these expectations.


Socialization plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s gender identity. Children learn about gender roles through their parents’ behavior, media representation of genders in TV shows or movies they watch, peer pressure from friends or classmates at school or college. This socialization process continues throughout life as individuals interact with their environment.


Intersectionality recognizes that people have multiple identities (such as race/ethnicity/sexuality) that intersect with their gender identity to create unique experiences of discrimination. For example, a black woman may face sexism and racism simultaneously, which can have a different impact than facing either one alone.


In conclusion, the Social Theory of Gender provides a framework for understanding how gender roles and identities are constructed by society. It emphasizes that gender is not an inherent or fixed trait but rather a socially constructed concept. This theory is important to analyze and challenge traditional gender norms that can lead to discrimination and inequality.