The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sexuality as a) the quality and state of being sexual, b) the condition of having sex, c) sexual activity, and d) the expression of sexual receptivity or interest especially when excessive, and it cites the first use of the word around1800. Human beings experienced their own sexuality prior to 1800; however, it was not until the late nineteenth century when the ideas of heterosexuality and homosexuality were initially formulated. As the customs of our culture change with time, the social view towards heterosexuality and homosexuality changes with them. However, one important detail has not changed. Sexuality is a socially constructed idea that was created in order to maintain the standard of unjust oppression of minorities for the unjust gain of the majority.
Sexuality is the result of social interactions, so one's sex, class, and race all play large roles in defining it, whether it be to others or simply on a personal level. Venturing back to the Victorian era, the line between men and women was clear. As Jonathan Ned Katz describes in his piece "The Invention of Heterosexuality," the True Woman was characterized by her "distance from lust," whereas the True Man was understood to "live closer to carnality." Society regulated sex and male-female sexuality so that the "penis and vagina were [to be used as] instruments of reproduction, not pleasure" (Katz 152). This belief came from the Christian idea that sex is equal to sin, and so it must be redeemed by producing a child. Prostitutes or other "monsters," such as those who self-pleasured themselves through masturbation, were looked down upon as sacrilegious individuals who threatened the purity elicited by the True Man and True Woman. As the world began to industrialize, there was a change in how individuals viewed the use of their bodies. The late nineteenth century saw a shift of societal values so that men and women could engage in intercourse for pleasure, in addition to their attempts at procreation. Following this trend, society has advanced today so as to add several variations to the list of "human sexualities."
[...] By degrading others on the basis of gender, class, or race, the dominant group asserts itself over the remaining population in an attempt to maintain their dominance and to continue to oppress the subordinate groups. In doing so they are constructing the sexualities of their peers, as well as paving the path that the minorities will have to follow in order to become accepted by the society that shapes them. Sexuality is constructed by societies. It is how societies deal with conceived differences between people. [...]
[...] We are unable to accept differences for what they are. We always find some sort of threat in them that must be dealt with before it can get out of hand. Aside from simple gender roles, social class and race mark another division in how one is accepted based on their sexuality. Because Caucasians are the dominant group, they generally do not face as many repercussions as someone of a subordinate race, especially if they are of the upper class and affluent. [...]
[...] Sexuality is a socially constructed idea that was created in order to maintain the standard of unjust oppression of minorities for the unjust gain of the majority. Sexuality is the result of social interactions, so one's sex, class, and race all play large roles in defining it, whether it be to others or simply on a personal level. Venturing back to the Victorian era, the line between men and women was clear. As Jonathan Ned Katz describes in his piece Invention of Heterosexuality,” the True Woman was characterized by her “distance from whereas the True Man was understood to “live closer to carnality.” Society regulated sex and male-female sexuality so that the “penis and vagina were [to be used as] instruments of reproduction, not pleasure” (Katz 152). [...]
[...] It was a huge factor in the election this year. Yet there is much more support for gays and much more communication on the matter. Unfortunately, at the time of the film, society was not quite so understanding, and many of the men in this subculture had been abandoned by their parents and families. They clearly set themselves off from the dominant culture. They belong to houses, each with a mother who looks after them and sisters who provide a support network. [...]
[...] Thus, a male is one with a penis who, as Michael S. Kimmel relates in his article “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity,” is given power, wealth, and status in society, who must “never do anything that remotely suggests femininity,” who does not show emotions, and who “exudes an aura of manly daring and aggression” (62). In contrast, the female, or the individual with a vagina, is simply kind of currency that men use to improve their ranking on the masculine social scale” (Kimmel 63-4). [...]
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