Gender Identity

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Social Norms: The Codes to Follow
Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American poet once wrote “the value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society.” Throughout time society has become a “parent” to the many people. Society is the most influential aspect of life in today’s world. Many factors influence a person’s life, such as the media, work and school. Going back to Emerson, people have taken the place of the dollar in his quote. An individual is no longer valued by what he thinks of himself, he is valued by what society thinks of him. What does this mean? In order to be accepted in society there are “social norms” that one has to follow. If one does not live by these norms, then you are be ridiculed and you become the outsider for this. Society influences how a person should live in this world. Everything one does, whether it is making a lifestyle or educational/career decision, society always influences these choices. Gender roles, for example, are greatly influenced by society. Authors, such and Michael Kimmel and Aaron H. Devor, argue that idealized gender norms are set by society. My personal experiences growing up demonstrate how true their arguments are and how much society influences gender roles. Men and women have to follow certain codes in order to fit in with what society has set for the “ideal” man and woman. In Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender, written by Aaron H. Devor, the author elaborates more on this concept of society and its influence on gender by creating a new concept in which there is a feud between something she describes as the personal “I” and the public “me.” What Devor explains in this selection about gender is that as children are born and grow they are taught their gender by society; this is where the “I” versus the “me” begins to show. Devor says that children “develop concepts of themselves as individuals, they do so while observing themselves as reflected in the eyes of others,” this is where...
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