How does society influence the development of identity of different sexes?
“Lawler (2013, p.7) suggests that ‘what identity means depends on how it is thought about.’ This essay aims to argue that identity and gender are socially constructed and not properties of an individual. Firstly, it will explore Mead’s theory of the self and ‘generalized other’ to emphasize the idea of social interactions as a crucial part of one’s construction of identity. The essay will then examine the concept of hegemonic masculinity, Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and field as well as intersectionality to illustrate how social norms are embodied into one’s identity and as a consequence, create gender hierarchies and inequalities. From this, the essay will present the counter-arguments based on the work of Goffman () and Mackie () to suggest that the individuals are not passive and conform to all norms in the society. It will then conclude that identity is socially constructed, but the process is not one-way as individuals’ agency do play a significant part in shaping their own identities and cultural norms in the society.