The emergence of the term “social construction” was conditional upon the necessity to understand the way people’s perceptions are formed. This idea is applied to specific areas of life, and it is used for the purpose of clarifying the meaning behind different events. Therefore, the examination of this notion and its application to gender while referring to the situation in Australia is needed for demonstrating the patterns of societal progress.
Social Construction: Definition and Example
Social construction is a concept, which contributes to gaining a better understanding of the world by people, and this provision confirms its critical role for modern scholars. It means that citizens develop awareness about different societal phenomena and processes collectively rather than individually, and this assumption implies that the acquisition of knowledge happens through communication (Leeds-Hurwitz, 2009). In other words, the experience of community members is shaped under the influence of shared perspectives, and their interaction determines the patterns of principal affairs. Therefore, the consideration of various events through the lens of this notion allows revealing the way present-day reality is created and, consequently, thoroughly examine its shifts for making predictions about the future.
One of the most apparent examples of real-life situations in which social constructions are used is the patterns of communication in the workplace. They are frequently determined by technological advances, and their introduction to the employees results in the change in their interactions (Fulk, 2017). Thus, the scholars claim that the adoption of electronic mail by scientists and engineers led to the formation of varying perceptions among them (Fulk, 2017). According to Fulk (2017), individuals with high levels of attraction to their groups were reported to be more willing to use the new methods of exchanging information compared to their indifferent peers. In this case, the social construct was the implemented innovation, and its effects on people’s actions allowed demonstrating the ways they are likely to communicate in the future.
Gender: A Sociological Perspective
Another issue, which can be examined with regard to the described theoretical approach, is gender, and it serves as evidence to the standpoint that group life is shaped under the influence of such concepts. From the sociological perspective, this component allows bringing order and structure to people’s interactions (Lindsey, 2020). According to researchers, it leads to the emergence of paradigms, such as feminism, which are intended to balance the critical situations, which are the consequences of gender awareness (Lindsey, 2020). It means that sociologists can use this information in order to predict the reactions of different population groups and their possible responses to external circumstances or the changing conditions of their environment. In this way, it helps prevent conflicts in different settings while emphasizing the benefits of all parties and eliminating the perceived superiority of one group over the others. Therefore, gender is one of the main parameters, which correlate with behavior and life choices.
This perspective allows revealing the dependency of individuals’ reactions on stereotypes related to gender. For instance, in the study conducted by De Boise and Hearn (2017), it was stated that the tendency of men to be less emotionally expressive in comparison with women can be explained by patriarchal privilege. In other words, they prefer to follow the established notion of gender-related appropriateness in terms of communicating their feelings. This condition was also confirmed to be connected to male citizens’ higher risks of mental issues (De Boise and Hearn, 2017). On these grounds, the scholars came to the conclusion that gender equality is impossible to achieve without initiating a change in this respect.
Gender in Australia
In present-day Australia, gender can be also understood as social construction because it is referred to when examining people’s attitudes towards injustice. For its elimination, activists work within organizations, such as the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, which was established in 2017 (Evans, 2018). According to them, the main problem is an unequal representation of men and women in political and other entities, and these findings are supported by the attitudes of various population groups (Evans, 2018). What is more important, the generational differences in this experiment were evident as young people tend to be more concerned about the presented issues than their parents or grandparents (Evans, 2018). Consequently, such initiatives show how gender can be understood as social construction by referring to its impact on citizen activity.
In addition, the importance of this factor for sociological research in the country is highlighted by the need for showing shifts in individuals’ mindsets over time. Currently, they are connected to the existing norms, identities, and relations (“Gender,” 2020). The first aspect is intended to present the role of social institutions, whereas the second element relates to the self-expression of people in terms of gender (“Gender,” 2020). In turn, the third component is focused on the interaction of organizations and individuals (“Gender,” 2020). As can be seen from Australia’s cases above, all of these conditions are included.
To summarize, gender can be viewed as a social construction in contemporary Australia as it affects all spheres of life. It efficiently helps address inequality and improve everyone’s living conditions. Thus, it is essential for sociologists, who aim to solve problems.
De Boise, S. and Hearn, J. (2017) ‘Are men getting more emotional? Critical sociological perspectives on men, masculinities and emotions’. The Sociological Review, 65(4), pp.779-796. Web.
Evans, M. (2018) From girls to men: Social attitudes to gender equality in Australia. Web.
Fulk, J. (2017) ‘Social construction of communication technology’, Academy of Management Journal, 36(5), pp. 921-950. Web.
Gender (2020) Web.
Leeds-Hurwitz, W. (2009) ‘Social construction of reality’, in Littlejohn, S. and Foss, K. A. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Communication Theory. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, pp. 891-894.
Lindsey, L. L. (2020) Gender: Sociological perspectives. 10th edn. New York, NY: Routledge.