Free Gender Sexuality and Family Dissertation Example
Gender, Sexuality and Family
Gender, Sexuality and Family
The society often defines a person’s identity, roles and privileges depending on their sexuality. The conventional genders are male and female. However, there are other minority sexes have led to the existence of diverse gender ideologies. For instance in South Asia, the various gender ideologies comprise of male, female and transgender. A person’s roles and identity are drawn from these ideologies. Women, men and transgender are viewed differently by society. The different gender ideologies in South Asia has mostly resulted in inequality. Women and the minority genders are highly discriminated. For instance, the role of women is mostly seen as taking care of the home and children. Housewives, therefore, receive a higher pension than women who are unemployed and work away from home. Although there are certain mainstream gender ideologies in South Asia, the definition of gender is often unique to a particular situation or context.
The Joint Family
The joint family is one where relatives of different ages who come from different generations live together. The joint family is valued in South Asia and other parts of the world because it promotes unity. Members of a family live together, and they have more time to bond with each other. Children in these families play together, go to school together and they grow up together which promotes oneness in the family. The joint family system is also valued because it allows older members of the family to pass their skills and values to the younger generation. The joint family promotes a fair economy where each member contributes finances to a common fund and property is owned jointly. Members of the family who are more economically privileged take care of the needs of other family members.
The joint family system is also valued because it takes care of the vulnerable members of the family such as the widowed, elderly and the sick. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the needs of these people are met. The joint family also ensures that the principles and traditions of that particular household are maintained. The eldest member of the family is the custodian of these traditions. He or she is also the leader of the family. Their decisions are considered to be final. They are also extremely influential on the decisions that members of the family make including choosing marriage partners. Additionally, they help to resolve disputes that arise within the family.
Arranged marriages are popular in the South Asia culture. Parents decide who their children are going to marry. The parental control in marriage was meant to prevent intermarriage between ethnic communities. There was a possibility of the girl being familiar with the man she was going to marry especially if the man was a relative but there were cases when the girl meets her future husband on the wedding day. Various practices guide the conduct of arranged marriages in South Asia. Gender roles significantly influence the way arranged marriages are perceived. South Asia places a high value on marriage. Women are trained to play a central role in the arranged marriage by being homemakers. The woman is also expected to conduct daily rituals on behalf of members of her household (Yeung, Desai, & Jones, 2018). Additionally, a woman is also honoured at social functions and is highly respected because of her marital status. Arranged marriages form family units where gender roles are first assigned.
South Asia has many diverse gender ideologies which have unfortunately contributed to some people being discriminated against because of their gender. The South Asia society defines roles and identity based on a person’s sexual orientation. Although the majority of the population are either male or female, there are other minority sexes such as transgender which exist. Women and minority sexes are most affected by gender inequalities. They are discriminated against socially, economically and politically. For instance, women are often paid lower wages than their male counterparts for a particular job. Transgenders are also abandoned by their families, and some of them are forced to commercial sex work to earn a living.
Transgenders in South Asia are often sexually abused. However, most of the cases of sexual assault against them go unreported and unprosecuted because the judicial system discriminates them. For instance, when a transgender reports a case of sexual abuse to the police, they are often blamed for what has befallen them. The ambiguous physical features of transgenders and particularly the hijras make them a subject or ridicule, stigma and discrimination (Ferguson, 2016). The hijras who are male to female transgenders, also lack access to quality education because most of them flee from their homes before they complete their education due to stigma at home and in school.
The structures of inequality created by gender ideologies are a vicious circle. For instance, when the hijras are uneducated, they also become limited in access to job opportunities. For the few who secure employment, maintaining the job becomes a challenge. They are ridiculed and discriminated at work, and they are forced to leave their jobs. Lack of employment among transgender aggravates their poverty level. Some of them opt for sex work which puts them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. It is evident that most of the challenges that face minority sexes in south Asia emanate from the discrimination that they face. Addressing the issue of discrimination against sexual minorities can significantly help minimize the challenges that they face.
Challenging Gender Inequality
Women, LGBTIQ+ people, and advocacy groups have suffered injustices due to gender discrimination. As a result, they have been at the forefront of challenging gender inequalities. They have established various interventions of challenging the gender inequalities that exist in South Asia. For instance, they have advocated for the recognition of a third gender of people who do not consider themselves to be either male or female. As a result, this third gender was incorporated in the registration of voters and also in the identification of citizens during the census in India. LGBTIQ+ people, women, and advocacy groups have also challenged inequality in South Asia by advocating for their fundamental right such as the right to vote. They have also provided training to sexual minorities on their rights and how to protect them. These groups have also done capacity building for organizations that handle issues of sexual minorities. They help in resource mobilization for these organizations so that they have adequate funds to continue championing for gender equality.
In conclusion, gender is a construction of society. People’s roles are determined by their sexuality. However, the definition of what a person can or cannot do has led to injustice and inequality. Women and minority sexes are most vulnerable. There should, therefore, be interventions to ensure that all people are treated equally irrespective of their gender. The joint family is perhaps one mechanism that can ensure that people in the family and the society consider each other as equals.
Ferguson, S. J. (2016). Race, gender, sexuality, and social class: Dimensions of inequality and identity. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Yeung, W. J., Desai, S., & Jones, G. W. (2018). Families in Southeast and South Asia. Annual Review of Sociology, 44(1). doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-073117-041124
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