Gender Roles And Societal Tolls

Decent Essays

Gender Roles and Societal Tolls As movements such as feminism have been advancing throughout the last century or so, people are led to question what exactly defines the sexes, and the result of that line of thinking is surprisingly detailed gender roles, and, all too often, oppression of both sexes in different ways. It is all too easy to see the impact of these defining roles on women (take into consideration the wage gap, endless marketing of products to increase the sex appeal of women, and sexist phrases such as “hits like a girl”), but it is not terribly difficult to see different expectations forced on men (less involvement in the home, the stereotypical male superhero physique, degrading remarks like “be a man”). Both men and women …show more content…

As Jessica Press, former Harvard Business School faculty member and president of Barnard College, noted, “[Women] are laboring . . . under a double whammy of impossible expectations- the old fashioned ones (to be good mothers and wives. . .) and those wrought more recently (to be athletic, strong, sexually versatile, and wholly independent.)” (Press). Stereotypes portrayed in the media, although seemingly harmless, eventually have evolved to become the expectation that women feel obligated to uphold, despite being an impossible standard to reach. Unfortunately, this leads to lowered self-esteem, resentment towards society (and, all too often, the men who also expect this standard), and further striving to become what cannot be. In the most extreme of circumstances, women become utterly consumed in these expectations of perfection. Activist and poet Marge Piercy portrayed a similar scenario in the poem “Barbie Doll”. Initially, the poem introduces a typical girl, who, after criticism of her looks, makes it her fatal ambition to become what she is not meant to be (Piercy 561). Obviously, this situation is not entirely realistic, but the message is a poignant as ever; in trying to be better, women are willing to sacrifice their own emotional -and sometimes even physical- well-being for the deceptive illusion of perfection.The gender roles placed on women lead them to internalize harmful stereotypes.
It should not be supposed that men are

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