This month, I wanted to open a window into the middle of the woman murders and the “right” of rape agenda, with which we are only marginally interested, and have a look at what we have in hand about social gender and gender diagrams. You will find the article on how the biological factors that determine the gender infect the society, and how this system affects the way we are brought up, below, and the awareness all this awakens in you, at the “States of Womanhood” psychodrama group.

Enjoy the reading…

If you were to choose 5 words to define the differences between woman and man, which would you choose? How many of those words would emphasize biological differences? What else, other than the biological differences, would be emphasized? What is the source of these other differences? The point we arrive at after this chain of questions indicates the concept of social gender, because social gender is defined as “the psychological, sociolagical and cultural aspects of womanhood and manhood”. From birth, the culture we live in hands us prescriptions on how a woman and a man must be. While female children are depicted as cute with soft and delicate colors and characters, boys are fed on hard, sharp and powerful symbols. Like all other roles in life, the roles of woman and man are those we learn and experience from what we see around us, and form us as pieces of personality that we usually never try to change.

The way we perceive the world is formed as a result of the rules and regulations we learn as we grow up. Thus, the way we look at our own gender and at the opposite gender becomes diagrammatized. That is, whatever it is that being a woman or a man means to us, we tend to evaluate and judge those around us, their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, within that framework. Bem, who has carried out important work on the concept of social gender, calls this “gender template”. What we put into the concepts of femininity and masculinity as a child “shows us how” a woman or a man must be when we grow up. The system continues thus.

Work on gender roles indicate that being feminine or masculine are not opposite shores, each individual can have masculine and feminine aspects. However, these same studies also indicate that femininity and masculinity are separators much more significant than biological gender in many fields from expressing oneself to the use of alcohol. That is, the role of the woman and the role of the man affect the way we live our lives in all areas that we are not aware of.

Most of the time, questioning all this is challenging. Being outside the system and order that we are used to is uncanny and frightening. Only if we are hurt, or we see someone get hurt, do we start asking questions. Even while asking these questions we need to act with caution, because even the question itself might be “shameful”. We find it hard to break this vicious circle.

When Lacan says, “Woman does not exist,” he is actually saying, “The definition of woman in the language man has created and has total control can only be from the standing point of the man.” This, naturally, closes the road for the woman to define herself. Similarly, Bülent Somay, in his book “The Book of Reading Songs,” summarizes that the only possible way for a woman to liberate herself is by becoming aware of herself and growing strong.

 We have started questioning social gender, our gender templates, both for the woman and the man, with the psychodrama group, “States of Womanhood.” We are continuing… We invite you to join us.

                                                                                                                                                             Aslı Soyer

                                                                                                                                                             Clinical Psychologist