Post 6: Social Construction

29 Nov

When we say that something is socially constructed, we are focusing on its dependence on contingent variables of our social selves rather than any inherent quality that it possesses in itself. The underlying assumptions on which social constructivism is typically seen to be based are reality, knowledge, and learning-Wikipedia

The public makes things acceptable or not acceptable. The majority are people that define if it is okay or if it is not appropriate to act a certain way or be a certain thing. In “Night to His Day” The social construction of Gender Lorber breaks down what is acceptable to a women to/ look like and why, but this can also go into sexual orientation. Is it acceptable to be “gay”? Is there something that is wrong with it?

The Westboro Baptist Church breaks down what they think is acceptable for a man, and they think that it is acceptable for a man to only date a women, marry have children with and be the head of the household. They socially construct what the view of what a man should be and also they socially construct that being anything but straight is wrong. They make the rules deeming what is acceptable. There is no rule out there that says that a man must like a women and there is nothing that says that a man must be the head of the household, but if this is not the way that your house is run the people of this church look down on you. Not only do they look down on people, but they will go out of there way to make your life miserable to verbally hurt you and make sure they think that your doing is wrong.

Now what is the effect on a person from this? If something is socially constructed it usually causes people to go with what is deemed acceptable. A women is to wear a dress and act modest or she is a slut or a lesbian. That is not always right that leads to miss assumptions, but that is how social construction works. Society paints a picture of what someone or something should be and then everyone thinks that is what everyone should follow as there guidelines. It can also cause people to fear to be different.

This goes into the Cycle of Socialization (Harro).  Things do not change because people fear of what everyone else will say so they continue to go with the way that things have happened from the past.

The Westboro Baptist Church has created an idea of what is acceptable as a male and female and also for what one sexual orientation should be.


Harro, B. (2000). The Cycle of Socialization. In M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfeld, R. Castaneda, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, and X. Zuniga (Eds.). Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (pp.15-21). New York: Routledge.


Lorber, J. (2000). ‘Night to his day’: The social construction of gender. In Adams et al. (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice. New York: Routledge Press.


2 Responses to “Post 6: Social Construction”

  1. elizabethjane7 November 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    I thought this was a thought provoking post on the Westboro Baptist Church and their perception of the social perceptions of man, woman and sexual orientation. You say that the Westboro Baptist Church has created an idea of what is socially acceptable for a man and a woman to act, however, do you think that they are drawing on very old social norms? Or norms that they are familiar with? In Harro’s cycle of socialization, he illustrates that most of our norms are re-enforced by our families, churches, the book we read, media, etc. Is this church just perpetuating an old cycle of socialization that has not yet died? Just some thoughts, good post!

  2. morayjam December 4, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    It seems like Westboro is clinging to classic social norms, promoting them as fiercely as they can as their religion. Remember social constructions do not stay the same through time and place. If your first paragraph is a quote, you’ll want to put quotation marks around it and cite it at the bottom.

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