Sociological theories help sociologists to develop questions and interpret data. For example, a sociologist studying why middle-school girls are more likely than their male counterparts to fall behind grade-level expectations in math and science might use a feminist perspective to frame her research. Another scholar might proceed from the conflict perspective to investigate why women are underrepresented in political office, and an interactionist might examine how the symbols of femininity interact with symbols of political authority to affect how women in Congress are treated by their male counterparts in meetings. Structural functionalism has provided one of the most important perspectives of sociological research in the twentieth century and has been a major influence on research in the social sciences, including gender studies. Viewing the family as the most integral component of society, assumptions about gender roles within marriage assume a prominent place in this perspective.
The Sociology of Gender
Reading: Theoretical Perspectives on Gender | Sociology
Sex came to signify the biological or bodily component of difference, that is, male and female. Gender, on the other hand, came to signify the social or cultural component of difference, that is, masculine and feminine. In this space, social change was possible; gender relations could be reconfigured. The ensuing debates were highly productive, ushering in a new era of social theory on the body that centered corporeality and embodiment and that sought to deconstruct binary thinking.
Sex and Gender, a Sociological Perspective
A gender role , also known as a sex role ,  is a social role encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their biological or perceived sex. The specifics regarding these gendered expectations may vary substantially among cultures, while other characteristics may be common throughout a range of cultures. There is ongoing debate as to what extent gender roles and their variations are biologically determined , and to what extent they are socially constructed. Various groups, most notably the feminist movements, have led efforts to change aspects of prevailing gender roles that they believe are oppressive or inaccurate. The term gender role was first used by John Money and colleagues in , during the course of his study of intersex individuals, to describe the manners in which these individuals expressed their status as a male or female in a situation where no clear biological assignment existed.
Sociologists within this subfield study a wide range of topics with a variety of research methods, including things like identity, social interaction, power and oppression, and the interaction of gender with other things like race, class, culture , religion, and sexuality, among others. To understand the sociology of gender one must first understand how sociologists define gender and sex. The former, sex, is understood by sociologists to be a biological categorization based on reproductive organs.