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The gender system is the basis of social patterns in many societies, which include the separation of sexes, and the primacy of masculine norms.Philosopher Michel Foucault said that as sexual subjects, humans are the object of power, which is not an institution or structure, rather it is a signifier or name attributed to "complex strategical situation".

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Social roles of men and women in relation to each other is based on the cultural norms of that society, which lead to the creation of gender systems.Sexologist John Money introduced the terminological distinction between biological sex and gender as a role in 1955.Before his work, it was uncommon to use the word gender to refer to anything but grammatical categories.The American Heritage Dictionary (2000) uses the following two sentences to illustrate the difference, noting that the distinction "is useful in principle, but it is by no means widely observed, and considerable variation in usage occurs at all levels." In the last two decades of the 20th century, the use of gender in academia has increased greatly, outnumbering uses of sex in the social sciences.While the spread of the word in science publications can be attributed to the influence of feminism, its use as a synonym for sex is attributed to the failure to grasp the distinction made in feminist theory, and the distinction has sometimes become blurred with the theory itself; David Haig stated, "Among the reasons that working scientists have given me for choosing gender rather than sex in biological contexts are desires to signal sympathy with feminist goals, to use a more academic term, or to avoid the connotation of copulation." In legal cases alleging discrimination, sex is usually preferred as the determining factor rather than gender as it refers to biology rather than socially constructed norms which are more open to interpretation and important component of the self-concept is derived from memberships in social groups and categories; this is demonstrated by group processes and how inter-group relationships impact significantly on individuals' self perception and behaviors.

The groups people belong to therefore provide members with the definition of who they are and how they should behave within their social sphere.

the state of being male, female or an intersex variation which may complicate sex assignment), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity.

Some cultures have specific gender roles that can be considered distinct from male and female, such as the hijra (chhaka) of India and Pakistan.

Because of this, "power" is what determines individual attributes, behaviors, etc.

and people are a part of an ontologically and epistemologically constructed set of names and labels.

Julie Greenberg writes that although gender and sex are separate concepts, they are interlinked in that gender discrimination often results from stereotypes based on what is expected of members of each sex.