UPSC SOCIOLOGY MAINS SYLLABUS
Paper 2 – Chapter 10 – Social Change in Modern Society :
(a) Sociological theories of social change.
(b) Development and dependency.
(c) Agents of social change.
(d) Education and social change.
(e) Science, technology and social change.
Androgyny is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Sexual ambiguity may be found in fashion, gender identity, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle. An androgyne is a person who cannot be classified into the typical gender roles of their society; androgyny is independent of orientation. Androgynes may identify as beyond gender, between genders, moving across genders, entirely genderless, or any or all of these, exhibiting a variety of male, female, and other characteristics. Androgyne identities include pangender, ambigender, non-gendered, agender, gender fluid or intergender. Androgyny can be either physical or psychological and is independent of birth sex.
ORIGIN OF THE CONCEPT
Andro- is a latin prefix referring to maleness or men, while -gyn is a root that can be used as either a suffix of prefix meaning woman. Androgyny has a long history, although not always by that name. The term, however, gained more prominence in the 1970s when Bem, a well known gender scholar, coined the concept of psychological androgyny.
GENDER SCHEMA THEORY
In 1981, the gender schema theory was introduced by psychologist Sandra Bem, wherein she talked about how the gender norms introduced by society influence the behaviour of individuals from a young age. She believed that this gender stereotyping has a negative impact and that the dichotomy between traits that are considered masculine or feminine is unnecessary.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND ANDROGYNY ?
The simplest way to define androgyny is perhaps to say that it is the breaking of the gender binary, as well as rejecting the idea that the biological sex of a person determines how they should express themselves. It is easier to understand this if gender is seen as a spectrum rather than a binary.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANDROGYNY AND HERMAPHRODITISM
Androgyny is the possession of both masculine and feminine characteristics. In comparison, hermaphroditism is the possession of both male and female reproductive organs. Androgyny may be expressed with regard to biological sex, gender identity, or gender expression.
Psychological androgyny referred to the idea that an individual could have both masculine and feminine qualities. More importantly, it reflected the idea that having this mixture of qualities could be a good thing, and was associated with flexibility and better adjustment.
As with gender non-conforming individuals, androgynous individuals are sometimes stigmatized because they are perceived to be more likely to be sexual or gender minorities. Androgyny may also make some people uncomfortable because it causes difficulty with their social scripts. Social scripts are the automatic ways in which individuals categorize and interact with others based on perceptions of their identity.
In recent years there has been a growing awareness that both gender and sex exist on a spectrum, or multiple spectra, rather than as binaries. This may change the understanding of androgyny as well.