Defying Stereotypes : A Look At Gender Relations

1689 Words May 24th, 2016 7 Pages
Defying Stereotypes: A Look at Gender Relations in the Classroom Cecilia Ridgway, in “Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World,” holds that gender exists as an organizing social force. We value certain stereotypes of how people of a certain gender should act and incorporate these expectations into our social relations. Men, Ridgeway explains, are typically viewed as having more “competence, assertiveness, confidence, independence, forcefulness, and dominance” (Ridgeway, 2011) in social relations. Women, on the other hand, are viewed as valuing “emotional expressiveness, nurturance, interpersonal sensitivity, kindness, and responsiveness” (Ridgeway, 2011). According to Ridgeway, these gender stereotypes are basic knowledge in the contemporary United States and, therefore, are present in most social interactions. Their presence is explained by Erving Goffman’s On Face-Work. Here, Goffman asserts that during human contact and exchange, people tend to adopt “faces”: images of “self-delineated in terms of approved social attributes” (Goffman, 1955:1). Since it is approved and encouraged that males adopt masculine attributes—like toughness, “assertiveness,” and so forth—men tend to adopt this face. Likewise, because it is approved for women to show sensitivity, kindness, perhaps even complacency, women often act out this face. Ridgeway uses this concept of face-work to explain why women so often fulfill nurturing social roles, like mothering,…
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