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Television and Gender Construction

Franklin20's picture

With how busy and stressed I have been this past week, I have not had time to transform my influential technology musings into a paper that I was satisfied with (so I will be doing the last three).  However, here is a brief post of my initial thoughts:


As we have discussed in class, especially in Kim Surkan's talk on Wednesday, gender is a social construction.  Musing as to how gender norms are produced, Judith Lorber writes in her essay, "'Night to His Day": Social Constructions of Gender," gender is a performed identity.  That is to say, there is no innate male and female behavior, but rather we see behaviors and we ascribe them with a sexed significance and that influences the construction of our gender norms.  For instance she writes, "For human beings there is no essential femaleness or maleness, femininity or masculinity, womanhood or man hood, but once gender is ascribed, the social order constructs and holds individuals to strongly gendered norms and expectations" (Lorber5).  

Because of how influential performed behavior is in the construction of gendered norms, one of the most influential technologies on gender is probably the television because of its ability to broadcast images to vast audiences.  Going off of Clark and Harroway's definition of technology as anything that further extends our personal abilities into the physical world, the television seems to be an expansion on the way that humans can communicate.  If what we see, if an exact copy of what is performed can be viewed by a wider audience, than the production of gender norms are more likely to be more similar across a greater audience.



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