Document Type


Publication Date



Western society defines male and female sex from physiological attributes (e.g., genitals and chromosomes), this dichotomous view of gender is referred as gender binary.

Problems with Gender Binary

• Variations in sex and gender do not fit in the male/female, masculine/feminine dichotomy (Wiseman & Davidson, 2011).

• Diamond (2002) defined, “gender” is the social and cultural expectation of how females and males should identify themselves, how they think, behave (e.g., ‘typical’ female/male acts in a feminine/masculine ways) and feel (e.g., prefers heterosexual attraction). This gender binary socialization pressure restricts individuals’ potential.

• “Behavior does not have gender, but in today’s society, behavior is interpreted through the engendered notion of what is appropriate (for male and female) and what is not” (Aspy & Sandhu, 1999, p. 7). This binary discourse is deeply rooted within society and affects nearly all aspects of life, including professionals and the systems they learn, work, and socialize. This narrow view in gender contributes to gender stereotype, role expectation, and bias, all of which perpetuates the status quo: an oppressive system of power, patriarchy.

• Tendency to pathologize the absence of male figures in family (hooks, 2000) because society place blames on fatherless as a source of or the solution to social problems without critical examination of masculinity, cultural meanings attached to biological constructs of maleness, and the oppressive systems.

• Gender binary socialization contributes to the lack of legitimacy of diversities in family structures (e.g., single-mother, same-sex households).

• Femininity and women’s subordination is social constructed (Zinn, Hondagneu-Sotelo, & Messner, 2007).


Copyright © 2015 The Author. All rights reserved.