Politics has been given many different definitions, ranging from something as solid as “the activities associated with the governance of a country,” to a more abstract designation such as “the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity.” For the sake of this essay the study of politics will be related to the study of the latter definition. This essay will deconstruct the idea of political and societal study in order to assess the reason why gender relations are an important aspect of it.
Politics covers a vast range of notions, however this essay will first focus on the study of ideology and define the distinction between the public and private spheres as these aspects are used to construct the foundation of political and societal study. The essay will then turn to a discussion of religion, poverty, and then finally war in order to demonstrate the importance of gender relations in the study of politics and society. These three notions will be considered primarily as they represent aspects of politics that affect all nations and therefore every political populace.
must first be explained what is meant by the term ‘gender’ and how it differs from ‘sex’. Although often viewed as synonymous, the World Health Organization defines sex as the biological and physical differences between males and females; females menstruate and males have testicles for example. However “gender” is defined through the terms male and female. These socially constructed labels prescribed with particular characteristics, which although assumed to be universal, require more nuance.
Alternatively, gender refers to the manner in which individuals define themselves, based on a scale of feminine to masculine. The title ‘man’ has been socially constructed to describe the masculine end of the spectrum, just as the term ‘woman’ has been to describe the feminine. Throughout history, the two titles have been seen as tantamount to sex. From birth what is called a male is then dubbed a man (or boy) and what is called female is called a woman (or girl). Not only is the notion of gender enforced from birth, but the true gender of the child, which most likely is not at the extreme end of the spectrum, is also suppressed.