The social construction of life, or what the fluidity of gender can tell us about social categories and the risk of simplifying everyday life

This is a review and commentary on "A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints" at Japan Society in New York City. 

"How do we know that gender is socially constructed?" That is an interesting question in light of the fact that there is currently an intense social (and political) desire to simplify certain social categories, particularly those that make reference to gender. "Social categories" might not invoke much in everyday parlance, but they give us points of reference in almost all aspects of social life. Social categories such as those of gender (such as “man”, “woman” or “gay”) or morality (“good”, “bad”) show us that culture(s) changes over time and that what we now understand in one way depends on social, historical, political and cultural contexts.

Read More