The cultural construction of gender and sexuality

This week, we’ve learned about anthropological and historical perspectives on the cultural construction of gender and sexuality, as well as changing frameworks for understanding the complexities of sex itself. As described in the lecture, anthropologists talk about gender as a performance, rather than simply identity. We do gender according to norms, roles, and ideologies that we learn – and unlearn.

This assignment asks you to draft guidelines for a Martian visitor who is trying to learn more about gender.  Drawing on your own experiences as a member of the human community:

  1. What does the Martian need to know about gender?
    • (Note: you do not need to share your own gender identity to answer this question; you can instruct them according to your understanding of any gender)
  2. How do people in your community get enculturated into gender roles?
    • Where can the Martian find helpful advice and examples on doing gender? What kinds of sources/spaces/materials might provide further insight and detail?
  3. Why might your instructions to the Martian differ from someone else’s guidelines about gender?