Sex vs. Gender


What is the difference between sex and gender? Sex usually refers to the biological body meaning male or female.

Whereas, gender refers to the cultural interpretations of biological differences which produce differentiated social roles and attributes for the sexes.

As referred to in the article “Sex changes and changing rooms” by Elizabeth P. Challinor,  “… people feel that it is no longer safe or politically correct to say the word sex unless they are referring to the sexual act, which isn’t usually spoken much about in public anyway…” This is true for many cultures in the past and even today, it was and is unacceptable to even say the word sex in public. Then, when we think of gender we think of male or female. But, many consider their gender to be gay, or lesbian. If that is the case which category would they then fall under? There just seems to be no category for them.

When we think of sex characteristics, we tend to think of the biological characteristics such as the biological differences between men and women. For example, how our bodies differ. However, when we think of gender characteristics, we automatically categorize of women as delicate and feminine and when we think of men we automatically picture them as dominant and a tough and strong person.

This then brings the topic of gender inequality and of how women earn less than men for the same job. That is known as discrimination based on a person’s sex. In some countries such as women are still not allowed to work and they are always associated with being housewives. Where in other countries women are to be the head of the household and everything is controlled by them. This shows how every culture has a different image and concept for gender and that concept influences their lives and society.