Gender Roles and Media

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105065258 Page 1
Tara Smith
WRT 102.86

Gender Roles
Over the years as I have grown up I have made many observations about the differences between men and women. Men differ from women in attitude, physical make up, and biologically. Women tend to be more nurturing than men. Men have a physical body that permits them to gain muscle more easily so that they can do physical labor with more ease. Women's body are designed for bearing and nurturing a child. There is also the biological differences between men and women. Men are born with male genitalia and produce sperm. Women are born with female genitalia and are able to bear a child.

Men and women have different specified gender roles. According to Anne Bolin, in her book "Perspectives on Human Sexuality": "Gender roles, sometimes referred to as a script or scripting is the internalization and acting out of culturally defined male or female behavior, affect, and attitudes" (144). In other words, gender roles are the different characteristics in a man and a woman. Along with Anne Bolin's description of gender roles, is the idea the gender behavior is more informed by biology than by culture.

There is much speculation about the origin of gender roles. Some people believe that they have been formed by society over time; and that people are coaxed into the certain roles of their gender. However, there is another argument that gender roles have, over time, become 105065258 Page 2

internalized in people. People are born with the natural instinct to be drawn to different things related to their gender. For example, boys will be drawn to play with toy trucks. Whereas girls will want to play with make-up and Barbie dolls. Males and females are just born with the internal knowledge that they should be either more masculine or more feminine. By examining the issue that gender roles are an internalized behavior, I can open a door that has been closed shut. Years ago, women were expected to be home makers and look after the children, while the men worked and were expected to provide for the family. We can start to look at why men and women are treated differently. Maybe now we can stop blaming society for the injustices against men and women and start to see that there may be more than one alternative as to why men and women act a certain way and why they take on certain responsibilities. For as long as I can remember women have always believed that they are being oppressed by men. I believed that women were treated differently than men and that this was a great injustice against women - especially after everything women have fought for. For example, equal voting rights as men, the choice to have an abortion or not, even making sure that they were paid the same as me. Maybe this is not the case; its just women's natural instinct to be more feminine and to take on these different roles and not an injustice against them.

Linda L. Lindsey wrote a book called "Gender Roles: A Sociological Perspective" where she discusses how gender roles are biologically linked within people. "More specifically, some sociobiologists believe that the principles of evolution will allow for a greater understanding of how our social behaviors develop" (Lindsey 30). In her book she discusses how ever since the pre-historic days men were the providers and women cooked food and cared for the children. She also discusses how gender roles have become internalized because of evolution. Lindsey 105065258 Page 3 quotes Symens who contends that it is biology which dictates that there are extraordinary differences between male and female human nature. Contemporary gender roles thus reflect this evolutionary heritage (Lindsey 31).

Gender and sex are easy to get confused. According to Webster's Dictionary gender is defined as "the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one's sex." The definition for sex is...
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