ENG 201 – 526
Apr. 20, 2010
Prof. J. Wynter
Societies can be stratified in various ways, such as religion, social class, language, race, ethnicity, gender and sex. These distinctions are either socially constructed or born within the individual. Sex; for example, is based on the ascribed status since it is “imposed by nature” (Renzetti and Curran 137) and biologically determined. In contrast, gender is socially constructed since it “refers to the constellation of traits and behaviors that compose the categories masculine and feminine” (Renzetti and Curran 252). These gender distinctions are reinforced by stereotypes that contribute to social inequality and discrimination in the western societies. Throughout history, our society has always complied with gender roles, however today we are walking through a path to reverse them. Having been conformed to mother’s role for 40 years, Sarah Pen the main character in Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’ “The Revolt of the Mother” gains self-confidence to challenge traditional gender roles and reverses them in order to live in a better home. Our society has always characterized men and women in different ways and expected different behaviors from them. “[M]en have generally been the dominant sex and women have been subordinate to them” (Robertson 217). Men are also “strong”, “rational” and “aggressive” while women are “weak”, “emotional”, and “submissive” (Basow 1). These masculine and feminine traits show the “oversimplification description of the supposedly masculine- male and feminine - female [’s]” (Renzetti and Curran 252) behaviors expected to be followed by men and women in American society. In other words, such male and female related traits and behaviors create stereotypes that tend to be shared within societies. These stereotypes set “behaviors, obligations, and privileges that are considered appropriate for each sex” (Robertson 218). For example, “[I]n the United States,...
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