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Deconstructing Gender Roles

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Deconstruction is a way of taking apart the fundamental reasons and traditions of cultural and dominant groups. Mindful reconstruction focuses on rebuilding realities that better suits a belief while being mindful of why other cultures and groups believe and feel the way they do on the belief or matter. According to O’Brien and Kollock, the purpose of deconstruction is “ to demonstrate that the ideas of the dominant group are in fact self-fulfilling realities and not instances of natural order that inevitable controls all of us” (2001: 560). This means that by using deconstruction you try to find out if the dominant groups ideas are only a prediction that they believe are bound to be correct and to prove that there is no “natural order” that makes beliefs and ideas set in stone.

2. O’ Brien and Kollock distinguish natural order as “impling that because cultural forms are human creations they are somehow less worthwhile than if they were the result of an extrahuman force”, and they define social constructionism by saying “ that humans are the sole authors of the shared cultural meaning that makes their existence worthwhole” (2001:561). This distinction between “natural order” and “socially constructed order” is important to understanding human sexuality because while learning about sexuality and who you want to be sexually as a person it is important to know what beliefs you can mindfully reconstruct the reality of and help to find who you want to be sexually by deconstructing the realities and bias. In “Becoming Sexual”, Kimmel and Plante talk about how we live in a “sexual culture that shrouds sexuality in secrecy and shame” (2004:73). We live in a world where “religion, secular moralities, general cultural disgust with the associated effluvia of our bodies…make sex shameful” (2004:73). Natural order causes sex to be looked at as shameful in religion because you are only suppose to have sex with your husband and if not you are a sinner. Hubbard suggests using social construction to “ acknowledging the separation of sexuality from procreation and encouraging children to express themselves sexually… and to further encourage to explore their own bodies” (Hubbard:66). This is important in social reconstruction to acknowledge and encourage and not to judge.

3. O-Brien and Kollock define “mindful reconstruction” by “learning to recognize and deconstruct social realities, but also to participate mindfully in the construction of reality” (2001: 560). They continue with “the full realization of human creative potential lies in learning to build realities and to take responsibility for the consequences of these constructions” (2001: 560). They go on to say, “Yet, if we want to escape existing social webs and at the same time avoid being left hanging by the single precarious thread of cynicism, we must be willing to spin alternative realities” (2001:561) This is saying



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