11 Things That Are Social Constructs

11 Things That Are Social Constructs

We have created a lot of the concepts we are so familiar with.
19806
views

What is a social construct?

Well, it is exactly as it sounds. It is something that is not inherently natural, but created by society. It is an extremely important concept in the social sciences because without them, society would not be the same. The constructs very much shape our lives. But we also shape them. If the existing society changed, new constructs would develop and old ones may weaken. Different societies have different constructs; what is the "norm" here may clash with what is the "norm" in another country.

1. Government

If government wasn't a social construct, there wouldn't be so many differing opinions on what is the "best type of government".

2. Race

"Race is not biological...There is no gene or cluster of genes common to all blacks or all whites. Were race “real” in the genetic sense, racial classifications for individuals would remain constant across boundaries."

3. Gender

Gender is not inherent. Genders are the socially constructed roles, behaviors, etc. that society considers appropriate for "men" and "women".

4. Femininity/Masculinity

Society tells us what is feminine/ masculine and how it can be displayed. The values tied to masculinity have been generally seen as superior to those associated with femininity.

5. Illness

Societies diagnosis differently, and treat the patients differently. Therefore, the concept of illness is constructed. If it wasn't there wouldn't be as much of a variety of treatments for the "same illness".

6. Marriage

The concept of marriage is not universal. Some versions are more inclusive than others.

7. Family

The stereotypical family dynamic varies from culture to culture; there is no inherent family structure.

8. Organized Religions

Among other things, organized religion was created by humans as a way of connecting to each other.

9. Technology

The importance and impact of technology isn't the same for every society. Some heavily rely on it, while some oppose it.

10. Deviance

Deviant behavior is extremely relative. One society may consider something to be wrong or different, while another may not.

11. Education

The process of learning is socially constructed. There is no universal outline for education. The values of a society play into the "education experience".


Cover Image Credit: hyperallergic.com

Popular Right Now

Let's Talk About The N-Word.

If you're still confused on why this is an issue, this should clear things up.
353
views

A few days ago, I watched a white male call a black female the N-word. He not only called her that, but he also used the word as the caption to his Snapchat. This boy, who attends my university, then continued to post the snap and share this moment of pure racism to all of his friends and followers. That’s a problem.

The N-word is not some slang or trendy language that can be tossed in and out of conversations like “bae” or “lit” or “fleek”. This is a word that has been used derogatorily for centuries to oppress and dehumanize people of African-American descent. People like me.

Q: So why do “people like me” use the word if it’s so derogatory and triggering?

A: Great question. It’s because, when we say it (with an -a ending), to each other, the context is completely different. The word is no longer oppressing. When “people like me” say the N-word, we’re reclaiming a title that was created to make us feel as “different” as we looked and using it in a way that connects us. African-Americans and our ancestors have endured years centuries of racism, bigotry, clutched purses, sideways glances, crossed streets, back of the bus, random drug-tests, stereotypes (the list goes on) to say that word. The word has a sense of camaraderie, not hate, when people like me use it.

Q: But can we use it in a song? “N*** in Paris” is a bop, and I swear I don't even really use the word.

A: It totally is a bop, and you can listen to that song as many times as your heart desires. But just don’t sing that part of the song. It’s not as hard as you think. It’s one word out of an entire song. If you think the beat doesn’t “flow as hard” without it then it might be time to find a new song and check yourself.

Q: But when I use it, I swear I’m not using it in a derogative manner. It’s like saying “What’s good, dude?”, it’s friendly.

A: That’s cool, but did you know that there’s are at least 20 other words that can be used to convey the word “friend”? I’ll even link it.

In today's society, tensions are high, not only with people of color, but with those of other ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexuality, gender orientation and so on. There are people who feel that those who are "triggered" by derogatory statements need to get a thicker skin. Words are just words, and words can't hurt you; but they can. Words, like the N-word, have been taken back by those who have used them to oppress others so that people, like the boy from my university, can't use them.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

There Is An Unspoken Link Between Gun Violence And Men, It's Time We Re-Evaluated Masculinity

Confronting the epidemic of school shootings needs to start with acknowledging toxic masculinity.
320
views

Eighteen. Eighteen is the number of school shootings that have occurred since January 1, 2018. Eighteen in 43 days.

Three. Three is the number of school shootings each week.

438. 438 is the number of innocent human beings, shot in school shootings subsequent to the death of twenty children and six adults in Sandy Hook, Newtown on December 14, 2012.

As these numbers grow larger, numbness saturates our skin, then insidiously seeps into our deep tissue and muscles, including our brains. We detach ourselves from a crisis that is currently quintessential to society as a whole.

Another headline appears on social media, begging for some form of a reaction. These reactions lead to the creation of further polarization and the questioning of the Second Amendment, forbidding us to unite in stopping future massacres executed on children.

“Kids shooting kids.” “Teens killing teens.” “Students murdering students.”

How about, “boys killing kids,” “men killing teens,” “male students murdering students?”

Of the 96 mass shootings committed since 1982, all but two were committed by MEN. In the United States, MEN own guns at triple the rate of women. MEN murdered 1,600 women in 2013 alone. The most commonly used weapon was a gun.

There is an unspoken yet unmistakable link between men and gun violence. It decomposes down to toxic masculinity. Masculinity is arguably the most important entities for a male. It is the concept that defines his self-worth, positions him in his social hierarchy, and controls the way in which he is “sized up" by other males.

Yet, masculinity is the concept that leads directly to the inability to feel, the incapacity to express any emotion at all. Men are taught through the social learning process systematically practiced in each and every institution, that emotions interfere with masculinity and therefore harms male ego and virility.

Emotions, however, are an inevitable and imperative component of human existence. Nevertheless, for men, they are often rejected, suppressed, and avoided. This rejection, suppression, and avoidance is the recipe for gruesome violence perpetrated by aggressive males, that violence that feeds the mouths of too many innocent people…with bullets.

We speak of mental illness and guns. We speak of terrorism and guns. We do not speak of men and guns. In order to eliminate gun violence, it is beyond crucial that we spark a change in the culture of toxic masculinity. This powerful construct is so deeply interwoven into our mainstream American culture of patriarchy and male dominance.

Yet, it is indeed possible to start to change at a local or even individual level. Allow men to begin to feel. Embrace the sentiment. Allow for men to communicate. Allow them to share how they are *hold your breath,* feeling. Because men, like all other living beings, have feelings too.

It is the time that men are capable of immersing themselves in their feelings, without risking their self-esteem.

Aggression and violence are the byproducts of emotional suppression. It is on us to trigger the change rather than perpetuating the current stigma whereby men are prohibited to feel.

Let us alleviate the numbness and detachment from these numbers…numbers that signify the lives deprived of their time on Earth due to gunshots, for these numbers are far too detrimental to accept as “normal.” Let us unite and fix this societal epidemic of gun violence through the celebration of humane feelings, male or female.

Confronting the epidemic of gun violence should not be a fight over the Constitution, but a fight to save humanity. Let us be the catalyst of the modification in masculinity, from aggressive violence to the acceptance of feelings and a manifestation of our humanness.

Cover Image Credit: @usatoday

Related Content

Facebook Comments