Sorry, Not Everything Is a Social Construct. There Are Also Facts!
Beware of which are which.
“It’s the invention of clothes, not nature, that made “private parts” private.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
We live in a society that is influenced by social constructs. Social constructs are society’s ideas and beliefs about any particular subject. They can be either explicit or implicit, often affecting those in that culture.
It’s important to remember that not everything is a social construct. Certain things are factual and not influenced by societal beliefs.
For example, the law of gravity is a fact. It exists whether you believe in it or not. The same can be said for other scientific laws like the law of thermodynamics.
Just because something is a social construct doesn’t mean it isn’t valid or important. Social constructs can have a real impact on people’s lives.
For example, gender roles are a social construct. They are society’s ideas and beliefs about what men and women should do, be like, and look like. These ideas can influence how people behave and how others treat them.
While not everything is a social construct, knowing how it can influence our thoughts and actions is vital.
What are Social Constructs, and How Do They Influence Society?
A social construct is like its name says something that society has constructed. People have an idea about the world or a particular topic. We use these constructs to make sense of our lives and the world around us.
Social constructs can be helpful in that they allow us to communicate and understand complex concepts. They can also be harmful if they perpetuate negative stereotypes or ideas.
Some social constructs are race, gender roles, and socioeconomic status. These are all ideas we have created to categorize people and understand the world around us. While these constructs can be helpful, they can also lead to discrimination and prejudice.
Social constructs often have a significant influence on the way we see ourselves and the world around us.
For example, many people grow up internalizing that they need to be thin and beautiful to be happy and prosperous. This harmful social construct can lead to eating disorders and body image issues.
We should strive to challenge the harmful ones and work towards creating a more fair and just society.
“A caste system is an artificial construction, a fixed and embedded ranking of human value that sets the presumed supremacy of one group against the presumed inferiority of other groups.” — Isabel Wilkerson
What are some examples of social constructs?
Race, socioeconomic status, and morality are all examples of social constructs. Other examples of social constructs include beauty standards, gender roles, and the idea of marriage.
Social norms are the rules of conduct that dictate how people are expected to behave in a particular society.
Status symbols are objects or activities that signify wealth and power, such as expensive cars or designer clothes.
Cultural values such as family relationships and education reflect what society considers important and desirable.
Ideologies are systems of beliefs, such as capitalism or communism, that guide individuals’ actions and thoughts.
The problem with social constructs is that they often don’t reflect reality.
For example, the construct of race is based on the false idea that there are distinct and different biological groups of people. This is not based on science.
Similarly, the construct of opposite-sex marriage is based on the false idea that there is only one correct way to have a relationship. This is not true. There are many different types of relationships, all of which can be valid and meaningful.
“Marriage and dating are man-made ideologies; if having a lover was a prerequisite to living, we’d all be born in pairs; as couples.” — Mokokoma Mokhonoana
What is the difference between a social construct and a scientific fact?
A social construct is an idea that human beings have created. It is not based on any scientific evidence. A scientific fact is a hypothesis and can be proven using evidence and observation.
Humans created the idea of race to categorize people and understand the world around us. However, there is no scientific basis for the concept of race. The race is an arbitrary way that we have divided the human population.
While the idea of race may be helpful in some ways, it can also lead to discrimination and prejudice. This is because the concept of race perpetuates the false belief that there are distinct and different biological groups of people. This is not true. There is only one human race. We are all members of the same species; Homo Sapiens.
What are some examples of scientific facts?
The law of gravity, the law of thermodynamics, and the speed of light are all examples of scientific facts. These are things that exist whether people believe in them or not.
Other scientific facts include the earth being round and the universe constantly expanding. These are all things that have been proven by science and are not influenced by societal beliefs.
Some might say that many scientific facts are later proven wrong. The fact that we might later disprove a scientific theory does not make it any less true at the time. It is a part of the scientific process.
When we thought the atom was the smallest particle, that was a scientific fact. When we later learned about subatomic particles, that did not make the atom any less real or true. It simply meant that our understanding of the world was incomplete. It’ll always be!
“Typically in science, individual scientists make up their minds about scientific fact or theory one at a time. We don’t take votes. We just don’t vote on quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, why the sky is blue, or anything else.” — Alan Stern
Social Constructs aren’t good or bad.
Social constructs are not inherently good or bad. Believing in them or not has different effects on you and the world.
It becomes problematic when we forget that these constructs are not reality and start to believe they are.
In conclusion, social constructs are not reality.
We have created ideas to help us understand and organize the world around us. We should be aware of these constructs and work on challenging the harmful ones.
We should also be able to differentiate them between scientific facts! Do you agree? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!
This article was first published on Medium.com.