Social construction is when society creates a perception of an individual, group, or idea. For example, gender identity has stereotypical masculine and feminine traits. Feminine traits include being: sensitive, dependent, submissive, weak, and emotional. Masculine traits include being: dominant, strong, brave, independent, and insensitive.
This short Garfield cartoon portrays gender expectations of men not crying- or else they’ll lose their manliness.
These gender traits are socially constructed because it is society that defines what behaviour is either masculine or feminine. In reality, gender identity has no real distinguishing traits. This is where the concept of gender neutrality comes in place. Gender neutrality states that social institutions should stay away from labeling individuals according to their sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination from their gender not aligning with societies (gender neutrality protests to be neither or gender).
Gender neutrality aims to use gender-neutral language to discourage gender-specific job titles. For example, titles such as policeman/policewoman or fireman and stewardess all reinforce gender stereotypes. Additionally, this concept aims to stress marketing agents to target their products (like toys, clothes, television shows) to all genders. For example, by marketing toys to all genders, it allows children to choose toys without being scrutinized, judged, or bullied by others.
Here is an example of gender-neutral marketing in Sweden:
Additionally, a wonderful TEDx Talk featuring Gabriella Burton is presented to further explore the realms of gender neutrality. She dives into concepts involving gender stereotypes and fluidity. Gender fluidity is similar to gender neutrality by people not identifying with specific genders. Gender fluidity concept allows people’s genders to freely flow between masculine and feminine traits. There is no specific trait they chose to identify with.