Essentialism: Gender Role

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Essentialism refers to the belief that people or culture have and underlying and unchanging state. The concept of essentialism in gender states that there are innate differences between a man and a woman and an unchanged idea of what it means to be a man or a woman. Thus men and women are subject to gender role that is their define occupation, behaviour and role in the society. Non essentialism is that difference in men and women behaviour and role is culturally and socially constructed. The article “Scrap that single woman stereotype” (Ellie Mae O’Hagan 2012), illustrate the essentialist view of women role. That is women have limited option about their path. In the article the author illustrate that to be seen as a successful woman, women should subscribe to the gender role laid down by the society. They are less considered if they are not married even if they have achieved an independent economic status. In China, they are considered as “societal lepers”, outsiders of the society. Society do not accept woman to be totally independent financially and emotionally toward men. It is illustrated by the case of that woman who had to fly away from China as it was not accepted that at over 27 years old she was not married. The social system follows the essentialist theory and it rewards women for performing their gender role correctly and punishes them if they choose not to follow conventional gender role. Gender essentialism has been used to advocate and explain the conventional and natural role of women. Buss and Schmitt (1993) stated that women are generally more interested in long term relationship than men. That is women have more tendency to seek for marriage than men. The reason given by Buss and Schmitt for women to want a “long term mate” is to provide them with resources like money or food. It is an essentialist view of woman not able to provide themselves with money and food. However, increasingly women are independent and challenging the conventional...
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