Women Gender Roles Essays

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Traditional Gender Roles - With A Free Essay Review

Most of us hear about traditional gender roles, but what are traditional gender roles? In addition, before that what does gender roles mean? "Gender roles refer to the set of social and behavioral norms that are considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex in the context of a specific culture, which differ widely between cultures and over time" [1]. There are traditional gender roles in almost all of the cultures in the world and have existed throughout history. The traditional gender roles might influence us positively and negatively as we live and have grown within our society.

The traditional gender roles may vary from culture to another and might vary in the same culture as time goes by. There are expectations and roles, which are expected to be met by the proper gender in certain cultures; for example, men in a traditional culture are expected to be able to find work and be the main source of income for the household. Women on other hand are expected to know about the housework. These expectations were normal in most cultures at certain time but not anymore; for example, in the USA both the husband and wife are expected to equally share financial and housekeeping responsibilities together to some extent. While other cultures are and still have the same expectations in a traditional culture; for example, here in Qatar most of us still have to meet the same expectations like the traditional culture mentioned earlier and we expect similar roles applied in the past by our ancestors. The traditional gender roles may have affected and influenced us in some way or another, like our way of thinking or what we expect from the other gender and vice-versa. The affect or influence might be positive or might be negative; for example, if both the husband and wife are raised in different environments and each are expecting different roles. The effect also depending on how we were influenced; for examples, if we have been raised in a very strict environment where women are meant to be in the home and not working outside like men as it might have a negative effect on our way of thinking to some extent. On the other hand, it might have positive effect on our way of thinking to some extent, too. Cultures may vary as well as what traditional gender roles stand for in each culture and what are the expectations that are expected to be met.

Most of the people have been influenced by their traditional gender roles in positive ways as well as in negative ways. Having traditional gender roles that are known to people and are expected to do can help in making the appropriate characteristics for that gender wither they were men or women. Men are expected to be able to have a source of income for themselves as well as for their families and providing their families with the entire household. Women are expected to know how to cook, look after children, and do housework. Those were the traditional gender roles known before; however, some cultures may still have them, while others do not any more. My culture still has these traditional gender roles to some extent, but some of them have changed over time; for example, women can help men in providing some of the households as well as men can help women in the housework and looking after children to some extent as well. Men and women can learn from their traditional gender roles what they should be like.

The negative effect is when men think that they should do only what men had done in the past and nothing else; in addition, women have no place in men's work and that the women's place is inside the house. Women on the other hand think that men should help women in the housework; in addition, women should be able to work outside of the house on equal footing with men. Some of the traditional gender roles are based on wrong ideas and thoughts; for example, men has the final say in almost anything that has to do with house whether it is economically or anything that concern children and that women has nothing to say in that matter, which is wrong. Men do have the final say in that matter the house, but women have things to say in that matter, too. Men and women by not understanding their limits and their gender roles correctly might make them misunderstanding each other because of it. One of the negative things from the traditional gender roles is underestimates the other gender role; for example, some men think that women cannot do their role without their help and vice-versa, which is not correct as each one completes the other.

The traditional gender roles are parts of the culture, they can effect who we are as well as how we think in both positive and negative ways. We must understand each other roles correctly in order to be a positive example for those who will come after us. I do not think it is right to think that our role is the most or more important than that of the other gender. We need to look at the correct gender roles wither it is a traditional one or a modern one.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_role


With the spelling mistake corrected, your last sentence would read: "We need to look at the correct gender roles whether it is a traditional one or a modern one." This is your conclusion. The sentence in which you synthesize for your reader the claims and arguments of your essay as a whole. The sentence raises a few questions for me: Who is the "we" that constitutes the subject of the sentence? What are "correct" gender roles? How do we decide the question of correctness? What exactly is entailed in "looking at" correct gender roles? Does not the idea that there might be such a thing as "correct gender roles" in both "traditional" cultures and "modern" cultures mean the concept of "correctness" is relative? What do the terms "traditional" and "modern" really mean here? If "modern," for instance, is a term you don't want to apply to Qatar today, then "modern" can't mean "of the present time," so what does it mean? Why do we need to look at correct gender roles? What would the goal of doing that be? What happens when we do that? What happens when you do that?

Your essay does not answer any of these questions and when I get to the end, I still have no strong idea of what you actually think about gender roles, traditional or not. For instance, I don't know whether you think that a woman's proper place is in the home and that allowing women to take up positions of importance in political, religious, or economic life will result eventually and ineluctably in the collapse of civilization, or whether you think instead that the division of labor in society along gendered lines is the result of unjustifiable discrimination barely veiled by condescending talk of the sensitivities and fragility of the fairer sex. Of course, you don't have to think either of those things exactly, but you ought to think something, or if you don't want to reveal your own opinion on the matter, you ought to at least investigate what others have thought and why.

I see that you have at least looked up the definition of “gender roles” provided by Wikipedia.org. [Note: if you include the work of others in your essay, it is standard ethical practice in Academia to document the source. I have taken the liberty of adding quotation marks to the sentence lifted from Wikipedia and parenthetically identifying Wikipedia as the source of the quotation.] But I suggest that you take your research a little further. Find out what experts (scholars or politicians, perhaps) have said about gender roles, preferably two experts who disagree with each other. Use this research to help you make a concrete argument about gender roles.

A concrete argument is one where your meaning is specific and clear, not general and vague. Consider this sentence from your essay [again, I have corrected one spelling error]:

“The effect or influence might be positive or might be negative; for example, if both the husband and wife are raised in different environments and each are expecting different roles.”

From the context it is clear that you are making a claim about the effect of traditional gender roles on us. What's not clear is what these positive or negative influences might be. So an example would be helpful. Formally, it looks like you are giving an example in the next sentence. After all, it begins with the words "for example." But it's not clear what the example is an example of. What different types of environments are you imagining? What different kinds of expectations are you imagining? Most importantly, what is it you think happens, what effects ensue, when husband and wife are raised in different environments with different expectations? You are asking your reader to answer these questions for himself or herself. In that case, you may as well ask your reader to write your essay for you. Best wishes, EJ.

Submitted by: Rashid

Tagged...essay writing help, essay on gender roles, essay on gender and society

Gender roles are separate patterns of personality traits, mannerisms, interests, attitudes, and behaviors that are regarded as either "male" or "female" by one's culture. Gender roles are largely a product of the way in which one was raised and may not be in conformance with one's gender identity. Research shows that both genetics and environment influence the development of gender roles. As society changes, its gender roles often also change to meet the needs of the society. To this end, it has been suggested that androgynous gender roles in which both females and males are expected to display either expressive (emotion-oriented) or instrumental (goal-oriented) behaviors as called for by the situation may be better for both the individual and the society in many ways. However, this is not to say that traditional roles, reversed roles, or anything in between are inherently bad. More research is needed to better understand the influences of genetics and environment on the acquisition of gender roles and the ways in which different types of gender roles support the stability and growth of society.

Keywords Androgyny; Culture; Dyad; Gender; Gender Identity; Gender Role; Gender Stereotype; Norms; Sex; Socialization; Society; Subject; Twin Study

Sex, Gender


Gender roles have changed in many ways throughout history as well as within recent memory. In the 1950s, for example, little girls were said to be made of "sugar and spice and everything nice" and wore pastel organdy dresses and gloves to church. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, this all changed for many women; bras were discarded, and patched jeans became de rigueur. In fact, each succeeding generation has brought with it differing expectations for how men and women should act within society. Despite these changes, however, the truth is that modern society still has expectations for how men and women are to act. Although we may be more open to exceptions than were past generations, there still are expected norms of behavior for women and men in society.

Gender vs. Sex

In biosocial terms, gender is not the same as sex. Gender refers to the psychological, social, cultural, and behavioral characteristics associated with being female or male. Gender is defined by one's gender identity and learned gender role. Sex, on the other hand, refers in this context to the biological aspects of being either female or male. Genetically, females are identified by having two X chromosomes and males by having an X and a Y chromosome. In addition, sex can typically be determined from either primary or secondary sexual characteristics. Primary sexual characteristics comprise the female or male reproductive organs (i.e., the vagina, ovaries, and uterus for females and the penis, testes, and scrotum for males). Secondary sexual characteristics comprise the superficial differences between the sexes that occur with puberty (e.g., breast development and hip broadening for women and facial hair and voice deepening for men).

Biology as Gender Role Determinant

It is relatively easy to see that biology has an impact on gender and the subsequent actions and behaviors that are thought to be more relevant to either females or males. For example, no matter how much a man might want to experience giving birth, the simple fact is that he cannot, except as an observer. From this fact it is easy (if not necessarily logical) to assume that biology is destiny and, therefore, women and men have certain unalterable roles in society—for example, that women are the keepers of home and hearth because of their reproductive role, while men are the protectors and providers because of their relatively greater size and strength. However, before concluding that biology is destiny in terms of gender roles, it is important to understand that not only do gender roles differ from culture to culture, they also change over time within the same culture. Early 20th-century American culture emphasized that a woman's role was in the home. As a result, many women did not have high school educations and never held jobs; instead, they quite happily raised families and supported their husbands by keeping their households running smoothly. Nearly a century later, this gender role is no longer the norm (or at least not the only acceptable norm) and sounds quite constricting to our more educated, career-oriented 21st-century ears. If biology were the sole determinant of gender roles, such changes would not be possible.

Culture as Gender Role Determinant

In 21st-century United States culture, gender roles continue to be in a state of flux to some extent, although traditional gender roles still apply in many quarters. For example, boys are often encouraged to become strong, fast, aggressive, dominant, and achieving, while traditional roles for girls are to be sensitive, intuitive, passive, emotional, and interested in the things of home and family. However, these gender roles are culturally bound. For example, in the Tchambuli culture of New Guinea, gender roles for women include doing the fishing and manufacturing as well as controlling the power and economic life of the community. Tchambuli women also take the lead in initiating sexual relations. Tchambuli men, on the other hand, are dependent, flirtatious, and concerned with their appearance, often adorning themselves with flowers and jewelry. In the Tchambuli culture, men's interests revolve around such activities as art, games, and theatrics (Coon, 2001). If gender roles were completely biologically determined, the wide disparity between American and Tchambuli gender roles would not be possible. Therefore, it must be assumed that culture and socialization also play a part in gender role acquisition.

Society as Gender Role Determinant

Socialization is the process by which individuals learn to differentiate between what society regards as acceptable and unacceptable behavior and act in a manner that is appropriate for the needs of the society. The socialization process for teaching gender roles begins almost immediately after birth, when infant girls are typically held more gently and treated more tenderly than are infant boys, and continues as the child grows, with both mothers and fathers usually playing more roughly with their male children than with their female children. As the child continues to grow and mature, little boys are typically allowed to roam a wider territory without permission than are little girls. Similarly, boys are typically expected to run errands earlier than are girls. Whereas sons are told that "real boys don't cry" and are encouraged to control their softer emotions, girls are taught not to fight and not to show anger or aggression. In general, girls are taught to engage in expressive, or emotion-oriented, behaviors, while boys are taught to engage in instrumental, or goal-oriented, behaviors. When the disparity between the way they teach and treat their daughters and sons is pointed out to many parents, they often respond that the sexes are naturally different not only biologically but behaviorally as well.

Gender-Specific Toys

The teaching of gender roles does not only come through obvious verbal teaching from parents and other elders in society; it also occurs in more subtle ways as well. Many people have observed that children's toys are strongly gender-typed. Girls are often given "girl" toys such as dolls, play kitchens, and similar toys that teach them traditional, socially approved gender roles for when they grow up. Boys, on the other hand, are often given sports equipment, tools, and toy trucks, all of which help prepare them to act within traditional male gender roles. Even if nothing is ever said to children about the gender-appropriateness of these toys, research has shown that by the time they reach school age, many children have already come to believe that professions such as physician, pilot, and athlete are the domain of men, while women are supposed to have careers as nurses, secretaries, or mothers (Coon, 2001).

To investigate the influence of gender-specific toys on the development of gender roles, Caldera and...

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