Pronounced "JEN-der es-SEN-CHUL-is-UM."
Related terms include cisnormativity, heteronormativity, gender binary, gender spectrum.
Mark is a gender essentialist. When his son got into a fist-fight with another neighborhood kid, he shrugged and said, 'They're just being boys.'"
Gender essentialism is the belief that gender roles and stereotypes are the natural result of biological or neurological differences between males and females. Gender essentialists assume that AMABs are by nature men, that AFABs are by nature women, and that the societal roles assigned to both are acceptable based on those differences. Gender essentialism generally denies the natural existence of transgender, intersex, and non-binary people, and tends to be closely linked to misogyny, heteronormativity and cisnormativity.
Examples of common gender essentialist assumptions are "All men like porn," and "Little girls love dolls." Like other forms of prejudice, gender essentialism exists on both a societal level and an individual level and can be deeply harmful and hurtful. It implies that gender-nonconforming and transgender people are unnatural and tends to reinforce stereotypes that subjugate women. Although it is most common in conservative circles, gender essentialism can also be seen in some branches of the feminist and LGBT+ community.
The term gender essentialism has been in common use since the 1960s. It refers to the broader sociological concept of essentialism, which is the view that every community has an "essential" set of traits key to its identity and function.