Throughout history, humans have always been expected to act a certain way depending on their sex. These societal expectations are called gender roles. (Rathus, 2010, p.447). These roles begin to develop even before a child is even out of the womb. A mother may decorate their nursery pink if they are having a daughter because “girls like pink,” and “boys like blue.” Gender roles should not be confused with gender stereotypes. A gender stereotype is a narrow way of thinking about how men and woman are obligated to behave. For example, men have always been considered to be the breadwinners of the family. Females, on the other hand, are seen more as the gentle homemakers that stay home to clean and take care of the children. (Rathus, 2010, p.447). These types of stereotypes have caused certain out-of-the-home jobs to be mainly categorized for either women or men, causing an even more distinct line between the genders.
Does accepting one’s femininity mean having to put on a dress and wear makeup? Does expressing one’s femininity mean having to get married, have babies and looking after the children and their husbands at home? The women today can be so much more without losing their feminism. There was a time when men are to hunt and gather food while women stayed at home and cooked and give birth and look after the children. Nowadays, women are as educated as the men and are able to hold any position that had been reserved for men. Women today are politicians, leaders of countries, professionals and even combat soldiers. Thus, they have proven that they are equal to any tasks. The only reason why they are lacking is probably because of social stereotyping. This is the reason why it is particularly important to empower femininity.
Ever since the dawn of time, women and men have been associated with specific gender roles that can be seen controversial in the eyes of many. Traits and roles associated with a specific gender can be either innate or learned over time. Looking into the deeper concept of gender roles and stereotypes, it is clear that these fixed gender roles are not naturally born with, but rather taught, learned, or influenced by external forces.
We are taught from a young age that boys wear blue and girls wear pink, we learn that boys play with trucks and tools and girls play with baby dolls, throughout or lives, we are reminded of the many differences between males and females. Later, we learn that men are doctors, lawyers, and bosses, and women are mothers, secretaries, and nurses. Men are in positions of power and women are incapable of leading and making decisions and it’s a man’s place to decide when and how a family
‘Women produce children; women are mothers and wives; women do the cooking, cleaning, sewing and washing; they take care of men and are subordinate to male authority; they are largely excluded from high-status occupations and from positions of power.’ (Haralambous and Holborn 1995, Sociology Themes and Perspectives, HarperCollins Publishers) These stereotypes have come from our past and have now become quite frequently used in today’s society. Women have been seen as the maintainers of the household while the men go out to work and earn a living. “When our ancient ancestors switched to hunting as a way of life, the relationship between males and females was dramatically
In “Gender Role Behaviors and Attitudes”, Aaron Devor explains how different men and women are seen from the point of view of society. Masculinity is described by dominance and aggression; however, femininity is totally different by passivity and submission. Some people in the society think that women’s duties are childbirth and breastfeeding, so they are weak, and they need to be protected and supported. This is not completely true because everyone is equal, so women should have the right to do whatever they want. They have the freedom to talk and act as they wish, and they do not need to care about the attitudes of others. However, women need to act feminine to be attractive to men. I agree with Deborah Blum in the article “The Gender Blur:
A significant point in Bems’ (1993) chapter in Lens of Gender on gender identity was the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to the treatment and development of young boys and girls in society. The first point discussed is how the ‘maternal instinct’ is not so biological as much it is women being confined to the private sphere, in turn having the most interaction with children. This point stood out as I was reading because I have known from a young age I did not want children. Many told me that my opinion would change when I grew older, and when you have your own child being a mother comes naturally. As I reflected I was reminded of the point later made by Bem (1993) that “adults in the child’s community
What does it mean to express ourselves as women? Gender shapes our interpretation of what it is to be at home within ourselves. As James Baldwin eloquently reminded us, “The world’s definitions are one thing, and the lives one actually lives is quite another” (Baldwin, ). How can we be sure of the complex nature of our gender identities and gender expression, be genuine, when we have been socialized into looking at the world through the lens of a binary gender system since we were born? It seems to me that the definition and expression of womanhood are constantly evolving, and that is good news.
Not to mention, that a lot of these titles of what it mean to be a woman, are stupid. If I choose not to have a child in the future, does that make me less of a woman? No, because it's a choice. A woman complaining about childbirth and pregnancy as an argument against trans women is ridiculous. She chose to have a child, she chose to deliver without medication. Are sterile women also less of a woman? They can't have children at all, most of them don't experience menstrual periods either. Are THEY not women?
Since the beginning of recorded time, the basic human distinction in human social order has revolved around gender; our sex at birth determines the role we will play in our society, the status we will hold in our culture, and even the structure of our daily lives. The biological reality that women can give birth and men cannot has led to a habitual consciousness of two sex classes, and, in the past, these two classes coexisted with equality in co-operative communities; however, Marilyn French contends in The War on Women that as men began to build what would become patriarchy, or "male supremacy built by force," the female class became disempowered, marginalised, and subjugated to the will of
The "mother-woman" role is an image that summarizes this idea of decorum. It is a behavioral code which bases a woman's identity on her capacity to bear children, look after them and worship the patriarch; it is a role based on the effacement and the extrication of each female individuality for the sake of the "mother-woman" raiment.
Feminine characteristics are thought to be intrinsic to the female facility for childbirth and breast-feeding. Hence, it is popularly believed that the social position of females is biologically mandated to be intertwined with the care of children and a 'natural' dependency on men for the maintenance of mother-child units."
What does it mean to be a Feminist? Does it automatically mean you hate men or does it mean you're an activist for women's rights? Contrary to popular belief, feminism is not about establishing a superior gender. It is about fighting for equality and destroying the social, cultural and historical norms set upon women throughout the world. The Twenty-first century has brought change and growth to female empowerment. Although, in many parts of the world women are given the same rights as men, they are still treated and viewed inferior to men. G.I. Jane perfectly illustrates the struggle women have gone through, even when given “identical” opportunities as men.
Throughout many decades women have been struggling to be equal to men, both at home and in the work place. Women have come a long way and are certainly fighting to gain that equality, but gender roles are very important in our society. They have become important in life from birth, and society continues to push these gender roles. The treatment of the male gender is very different from that of the female, and this issue has become very important to me, as a woman. As children we learn and adapt to specific gender roles, and as we grow they become more evident and more important to our role in a society. There is a lot of discrimination against the female gender. Carol Gilligan argued that
Today when a human baby is born the first question that is asked is '' Is it a boy or a girl?'' In human culture the answer to this question is gigantically significant. This definition of ''femaleness'' or ''maleness'' is the hypothesis of the society which assumes that the child who is born a girl will remain female forever, while a boy will be a male. Gender roles are created by society and vary from society to society as it takes all sorts to make a world. It does not matter where ever you are in the world its just ''society'' which assigns the gender roles without even having enough knowledge about one's gender identity. We living in 21st century but when it comes to gender role orientation we are in total chaos.