Active-Passive Gender Roles versus an Ethics of Mutuality

  • Shaji George Kochuthara Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK)


Biological difference between man and woman is used as a justification to force them into different social roles which shape and limit their attitudes and behaviour. No society has been an exception to this, That is, the society is not satisfied with the natural difference of sex, but adds cultural differences of gender. This makes the physical differences associated with a wide range of psychological and social qualities and characteristics, Consequently, a man is supposed to be masculine, not only male; a woman is supposed to be feminine, not only a female, In other words, to be a man or woman means to behave in a certain way that is shaped and determined by the culture, though the expectations of these behavioural patterns may vary from culture to culture, The modem studies on sexuality and gender have shown that while sex is a biologically given factor, gender is a socially and culturally constructed reality.' Often we can find that a circular, often vicious, reasoning is at work in the case of sex and gender. Once the gender difference between men and women is established, it is taken as a further manifestation of the biological differences which confirm the need for different social roles. In other words, "sex differences are used to create gender differences which are then explained as sex differences which, in tum, require gender differences, and so on.,,2 Thus, though 'gender' has been connected to the body and biological sexuality, it is the socio-cultural interpretations and misinterpretations that determine the gender difference. In most societies, this cultural construction of gender has been unfavourable to women.

Author Biography

Shaji George Kochuthara, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK)

Dr. Shaji George Kochuthara holds a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University, Rome, and teaches Moral Theology at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore. He is also the Chief Editor of Asian Horizons: Dharmaram Journal (}f Theology. His publications include The Concept of Sexual Pleasure in the Catholic Moral Tradition, Roma: Editrice Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, 2007.

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How to Cite
Kochuthara, S. G. (2020). PATRIARCHY AND SEXUAL ROLES. Journal of Dharma, 36(4), 435-452. Retrieved from