Social construction distinguishes between what is normal and what is not normal. I agree that race and class can be considered social constructs but disagree with the common notion that gender is a social construct. It is not up to society to determine who is male and who is female. This is just how we are born. There is clear distinction between males and females that society does not have the authority to determine. However, society has developed social constructs based on gender.
Agreeing with Laura Flores in the article “What is Social Construction?” it is normal for society to dress baby boys in blue and baby girls in pink. This social construct almost just makes it easier for others to recognize the baby as a boy or girl and be able to make a safe assumption on the gender. It is unfortunate that society frowns upon baby boys dressed in pink or even a neutral yellow color. Society has created social construction and relied too heavily on it. There is no turning back either, unfortunately.
Society would be lost without social construction governing nearly every aspect about individual humans. By asking three questions, Gender? Race? and Social class?, society makes assumptions and inferences about this particular person solely based on their classification. Social construction can nearly ruin a reputation without even knowing the person, especially when applying for jobs. It is unfortunate that a white, upper-class male gives a completely different notion from a black, lower-class female. Aren’t both of these people human and supposedly treated equally? It is a pity that society has come to this. I am even guilty of it.
Flores comments, “people are characterized and identified by only their appearance more specifically, skin pigmentation. These are standards, stereotypes and expectations that follow these physical characteristics.” It is a shame that society judges a passerby on the sidewalk based on the color of their skin due to preconceived notions ascertained from this social construction.
People don’t know any other way though. We have always grown up with social construction and lack the ability to see society without social construction. We have grown up and have been taught what it means to be normal and agree with stereotypes and have been accepting of all of it. The white man mentioned above may have been born into wealth not working a day in his life while the black woman could work tirelessly supporting an entire family proudly. And you would never know this based on social construction. It can be debated that social construction has deteriorated and corrupted society. This will never be proved however because society never knew a life without stereotypes and classification based on gender, race, and class.
Yes, efforts have been made to not listen or follow the stereotypes but these stereotypes are almost inevitable. Teachers may teach to not judge a book by its cover but an hour later the kids are sitting in the lunchroom making fun of the kid that is sitting alone.
Here is the link to the article: http://oakes.ucsc.edu/academics/Core%20Course/oakes-core-awards-2012/laura-flores.html