1) What is “social construction” ?
The second condition to be fulfilled is the negation of this very first condition. A thing is said to be “socially constructed” if it seems inevitable whereas it is actually produced by a specific social context. In this case, it is not inevitable as it is not fixed for ever. If the social context had happened to be different, this thing would have been different or would merely not have existed at all.
In order to illustrate what I’ve just mentioned, one can use the well-known quotation by Simone de Beauvoir: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. This sentence is built on the opposition of two types of explanations: on the one hand “women are born women”; on the other hand, “women become women”. To Simone de Beauvoir, asserting that one could be born a woman meant to say that everything that was required from a woman in mid-twentieth-century France was the consequence of the so-called truly experienced female nature. It meant, among other things, that being set under the domination of a father, a husband, or being excluded from public life were not to be experienced as injustices because they were the consequence of a “natural order”. It was an obvious situation because it originated in the very essence of women.
On the contrary, if a woman was becoming a woman, it was all different. It meant that one was learning to be a woman. It also meant that one needed to internalize a whole set of values, representations and constraints, that one needed to learn how to produce correct behaviors, to interact and to think in the right manner. What was presented as the consequence of the very nature of things was in fact only the result of learning and training. Moreover, those ideas defining at that time the way a woman should think, get dressed, talk and act had not been set forever. They were not unavoidable. They were the result of a given social situation.
I am obviously not intending to capture the richness of the thought of Simone de Beauvoir only in a few sentences. However, through this example, we see right through the meaning of “social construction”. What we see more particularly is that presenting things in terms of “social construction” can be really liberating: if a thing is inevitable, there is no need to oppose it. On the contrary, if this thing is socially constructed, it can be fought against, it can be changed.
2) What can be said to be socially constructed ?
3) Is the expression “social construction” has been overused?
4) Are dollar bills socially constructed ?
5) If something is socially constructed, does that mean that there is no biological basis for it ?
6) Why is social construction relevant to discuss asexuality ?
-Everyone desires sex and has pleasure having it.
-Sex is an essential part of what makes us human.
-Love and friendship are the only two types of intimate relationships.
-Not wanting sex is the result of an illness.
-Everybody experiences romantic feelings.
-All “normal” and “healthy” couples have sex.
More on this subject: here.
Edit : It was not the right link. I’ve modified it with the one I wanted to link : The Social Construction of What by Ian Hacking…