Week 4 post response 3 | BEHS 220 Diversity Awareness | University of Maryland Baltimore



Ashley Pye posted Sep 1, 2023 7:08 AM




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What is the difference between biological sex and gender? Sex comprises of the various intricate biological and physiological characteristics of a person such as reproductive organs, chromosomal makeup, hormones, etc. (​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Haefele-Thomas & Combs 2019). The person’s genitalia, even before birth, mainly depicts their sex. Sex mainly consists of male and female and no in-between. On the other hand, gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – what is masculine goes to the male sex and what is feminine goes to the female sex (​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Haefele-Thomas & Combs 2019). 

What are some of the “single stories” (Adichie, 2009) that people in the US have about men and women? In other words, what are the stereotypical gender roles in the US? Adichie, 2009 clearly mentions that single stories create stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. One stereotype is that women should be the full caregivers of their children whereas men play the role of providing for the family. As a result, when women have children, it leads them to work for fewer hours, leading to reduced wages (Aragao, 2023). Aragao, 2023 also confirms the stereotype of men being providers by telling us that working dads feel more pressure to support their families financially compared to working moms. Another stereotype is that women are not as capable as men, especially in the workplace. This leads to unequal pay and women facing discrimination in hiring and promotion (Barroso, 2020). 

How did you learn how to be the gender that you are? Provide at least 3 examples. I identify as a woman (feminine) and various things helped me learn the gender that I am. First of all, the way I dressed growing up was a major learning point for me. I mostly dressed up in dresses and feminine trousers growing up. I still dress the same way up to now, and focus mainly on feminine outfit trends as well. Another thing is how I do my hair. I mostly do feminine hairstyles and I have never completely shaved my hair. Lastly, I enjoy doing feminine things such as doing regular manicure and pedicure and applying make up. These have really helped learn to be more and more feminine. 

How do people in the US treat people who don’t “fit in” to gender roles? How might this relate to the treatment of transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and other individuals? In most cases, people tend to assume their gender or get confused. The TedTalk by Audrey (Tedx, 2018) clearly tells us how this happens. Audrey went through various uncomfortable situations such as when using girl bathrooms because people would confuse her as being a boy because of how Audrey dresses. People who do not ‘fit in’ to gender roles are often discriminated and receive unequal or unfair treatment. Transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and other individuals fall under the category of those who do not ‘fit in’ and they often face these issues such as losing housing, losing jobs, and lack of access to medical care.


Aragao, C. (2023, March 1). Gender pay gap in U.S. hasn’t changed much in two decades. Pew Research Center. 

Barroso, A. (2020, August 13). Key takeaways on Americans’ views on gender equality a century after U.S. women gained the right to vote. Pew Research Center.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Haefele-Thomas, A. & Combs, T. (2019). Chapter 1: Sex and Gender: Stories and Definitions. 
Introduction to Transgender Studies. Harrington Park Press, LLC.

TEDx. (2018, January 19). Toilets, bowties, gender and me | Audrey Mason-Hyde | TEDxAdelaide [Video]. 


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