25 Feb, 2015
Levy and Poisson: Parents Keep Child’s Gender Secret
By birth we are assigned particular gender roles. It is common in American culture that if you are a boy, you are automatically assumed to like the color blue and play with trucks and such. If you are born a girl, you are also assumed to like the color pink and play with dolls. Those gender roles shape the behavior of children at a young age. Role learning starts at birth and continues as a child is introduced to socialization in society. The way a child is dressed, and the way you are expressing yourself, puts one in a category of gender/identity and expression and can all fit into or disregard what today’s society considers the ‘norm’. Norms are the rules that are enforced by a community or within your own government. Basically standards that are created by the society in which you live in. Your gender role is defined as ones behavior and attitudes that are expected of a male and females by society; by what society expects you to behave as a man or a woman. America especially receives tremendous confusion of traditional gender roles for many years. The main issue at heart is the concept of gender stereotyping. Many people overthink the behavior and traits of women and men and create a prejudgment of beliefs that value one sex over another. It’s the misconception of many individuals where we tend to “judge the book by its cover” sort of idea. A lot of what we do or how we behave puts us into categories of being normal or not. Many people get judged and placed in groups of difference and hatred because we are not accepted for who we are or what we choose to become, hence the term “gender stereotyping”. There are many rewards and costs of trying to work against or live outside of gender norms. Topics such as bullying, social pressure, isolation, lack of self-confidence and many other issues all give rise of living outside of these gender norms. Also even the benefits of equality and men or women achieving equal and higher positions of power can result as well from working against gender norms. Jayme Poisson gives a great example written in her article “Parents Keep Child’s Gender Secret” about parents allowing their children to be free and choose what they want in life even if it means stepping outside of the culture norms and costing them in the future. Even Ariel Levy in her article “Female Chauvinist Pigs”, gives examples of how women in a sense give up their identity in using raunch culture as a false model of sexuality and trying win approval from the opposite sex.
We live in a society in America where everyone has free will. Whether it’s the choice of changing your name or even the sex that one was born with. Gender identity and expression are two underlying differences that people tend to get mixed up. Gender identity is ones internal, personal sense of being a man or woman or a boy or girl. Gender expression is the outside appearance of your gender identity, which are mainly expressed through either masculine, feminine or gender alternate behavior such as body characteristics, voice and haircut and even the way we interact. However unfortunately it always comes with some kind of cost when we choose to exercise the power that is endowed among us. There becomes this tension in trying to escape gender norms, whether it’s by choice or force. Society has a culture in which we are consciously unaware of. For example when we hear of a close friend that is pregnant we automatically pop the question of ‘is it a boy or a girl’? Or when leaving a building and happen to have someone behind we hold the door and even greeting someone we hold out our hand and say ‘nice to meet you, I’m such and such’. With certain things it’s just in our nature to perform specific behaviors because it’s considered the norm and mostly taught at a young age. Our minds have been built on the issue of automatically naturally applying...
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