Gender Roles in Society

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Gender roles have a very dominant place in our society. Different families and cultures emphasize different roles for men and women. However, masculinity seems to dominate throughout the world. Women’s role in society is always changing but femininity never seems to rise above its masculine counterpart. Gender asymmetry has been a struggle for a long time because of the uncertainty of how we learn such roles. How to act like a boy or a girl is not something biological we are just born with. These roles are learned through our interactions with family and peers, starting as early as birth.

The first and one of the strongest influences on a person's gender role is their parents. Parents are our first teachers and role models . They don’t just teach us such basic skills like talking and walking, but also of attitudes and behavior. Most parents still hold traditional definitions of masculine and feminine and what kind of activities are appropriate for each. Parents tend to be more concerned with the safety of little girls. Where as, boys are expected to be rough and tough at an early age. Most of the time parents are not even aware that they are teaching their kids some of these roles. As discussed in the beginning of the text book, we are taught that our gender differences are due to our biology. We “tend to equate aggression with biological maleness and vulnerability with femaleness”. This tendency to assume that biology is the cause for gender differences is know as “the pink and blue syndrome” (Spade and Valentine p. 4). Starting at birth we are put into certain colors and given specific gendered toys to play with.

Sometimes these norms don’t fit with every little boy or girl. Some girls prefer to play rough and with more masculine toys, and some boys prefer pink and princesses. However, when boys engage in activities that are normally deemed girly they are called a sissys. On the other hand when girls do things that would normally be boy...
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