By Sally Raskoff
Issues of sex and gender are popular and common topics in sociology; we discuss the complexities of defining sex as physical (male, female) and gender as social (women, men).
We assume that males take on the gender identity of men and females that of women. Social roles are built on these identities and gender is structured into the fabric of society, including our workdays, occupational aspirations, and social obligations. Our society presumes that people are heterosexual, thus expecting men and women to prefer each other as sexual partners. These pathways and definitions are all supported by societal norms.
With more cross-cultural, biological, and social science research on the subtleties and issues in how sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual attraction (or orientation), we can see that these issues are all much more complex than we are taught. Other cultures have more than two genders yet our dominant social norms either do not recognize these categories at all or consider them to be viable or valid realities.