Top-Rated Free Essay

The Importance of Gender Roles

Good Essays
The Importance of Gender Roles

Gender roles play a very important role in today’s society, including in the homes of many families. In the three stories, An Indian Story by Roger Jack, Looking for Work by Gary Soto, and Girl by Jamaica Kincaid gender roles and who play them are a lot different. Both stories challenge the image of a perfect household: a man, woman, children, a house, and a dog. In these stories, their traditional households would be considered broken. An Indian Story is about a young boy finding that when his manhood is finally achieved, he didn’t need a traditional family to do so. The boy in the story has no name, but he has an aunt named Greta who takes him in after his mother dies and his father gets remarried into another family. I later came to the conclusion that the young boy was Roger Jack. Gender roles were important in this story because the young boy had both his mother and father until it all slipped away. His mom died and he later moved out of his father’s home because he was uncomfortable in the same environment as his father’s new wife and children. His aunt was only his only family for many years until he grew up and made a mistake of getting drunk at an Indian pow-wow. He then turns to rekindle his relationship with his father after he couldn’t handle his Aunt Greta being so upset with him. The main importance of the story is that even if you have a mother figure, you will always need the insight of your mother and father to be successful and have a positive outcome in life. The relationship with parents and their child is significant to growth.
In Looking for Work, the scenario changes a bit. Gary Soto describes a short piece of his life when he was younger. He desired to have a perfect family just like a television show he watched. His family didn’t agree with his suggestion of trying to imitate the family he watched on television. Gary then decided if he couldn’t convince his family to be perfect, he wanted to become rich and have money. He figured that if he had money and his family was rich they would become perfect and act just like the family on TV. I believe the gender roles in this story were different as to the roles in Indian Story. In this story, Gary had a sister, brother, and a mother. What I noticed is that his father wasn’t around. This may have played a significant part in Gary going out to look for work. He didn’t have a father in his life so he began to take on the male role in the family. His mother was so busy trying to play mommy and daddy that she really didn’t have much time to even notice Gary was out looking for work. Sometimes when parents have to play both roles there are some things they lack or miss out on. I believe that if his Gary’s younger sister was older, she would have most likely went out to look for work as well. She may have felt the need to also help provide for her family just like her mom. From her perspective she was also probably lacking the full attention that a young girl needs from her mom. Girl by Jamaica Kincaid was a total different role-play. The daughter doesn’t say anything. The mother is being a strict caretaker. In the script the mother tells the daughter things about becoming a woman, the things she should do, the way she should do them, the things she shouldn’t do and how they would be classified if she didn’t. At one point the mother quotes “this is how to make good medicine for a cold; this is how you make good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child; this is how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you” The mother’s communication to her daughter was to let her know, she has the power of life and death. She wanted to let her know that women play the most important role in life. She wanted to give her daughter knowledge like no other.
Girl was truly significant and different from An Indian Story and Looking for Work. In the first two stories both families lacked a complete mother role. The young boy in An Indian Story was fortunate enough to have a mother figure that took him many places and taught him many things. I believe even though he had that figure, a mother’s love is very different from the love anyone else can give. I wonder if things would have turned out differently for him if his mother hadn’t past away. The children in Looking for Work were fortunate enough to have a mother, but their mother couldn’t play the complete mother role. Their mother had to act as both mother and father for their family. She brought home the money, food, she had to cook, clean, and even cater to the needs of her children as much as she could. Reality is that when you’re playing more then one role, one of them may not have your complete devotion.
Girl on the other hand was completely the opposite. The daughter in this story has her mother’s complete attention and devotion. Her mother gives her complete advice and knowledge on what the right things are and what the wrong things to do are in life. The mother appeared to come off harshly to her daughter but I believe that it was way better then having no mother at all. It was better than having your mother and not getting complete attention from her. Whether the influence, attention, guidance comes from your mother or your father, you need it. In all three stories we can see that gender roles play a very important part of life period. The stories identified the different ways these roles can be played and the result of each one of them. Whether the roles are a child without both parents, a child who lacks a father, or a young mother protecting her daughter; they are all significant.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    A gender role is a theoretical construct in the social sciences and humanities that refers to a set of social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific gender. Proponents of gender role theory assert that observed gender differences in behavior and personality characteristics are, at least in part, socially constructed, and therefore, the product of socialization experiences; this contrasts with other models…

    • 1672 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 2403 Words
    • 10 Pages

    The Effects of Gender Roles in Early Childhood Development Kamille Culpepper Kennesaw State University Abstract Childhood development is one of the most influential times in a person’s life. At an early age a person’s brain is at its peak of learning. So everything that is taught during this time will affect the person’s life and our society. One thing that is implicated is gender roles. Gender roles are the overt expression of attitudes that indicate to others the degree of one’s masculinity…

    • 2403 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 1838 Words
    • 8 Pages

    “Gender Roles” By Tracey Mariner University of Phoenix Online January 27, 2008 OUTLINE TITLE Introduction: I. Defining the undefined gender role. A. Male vs. Female 1. What is the male role? 2. What is the female role? 3. Are these roles concrete? B. Gender Roles 1. Who define gender roles? 2. How are they defined? 3. These definitions are not consists to what we see. II. Family A. Gender roles define by our families. 1. What is our mother’s perception of gender role? 2. What is…

    • 1838 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 760 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Gender Roles March 23, 2013 Lubna Amro 132227 “There is more difference within the sexes than between them.” (Compton-Burnett, 2005, p187). Recently a new light has been shed on gender roles; a gender role is the paradigm of emotions and actions considered normal or abnormal for a person based on his / her gender. Research has shown that biological effects, social effects, and gender identity each play a role in determining the gender roles; However, there is debate on which contributes…

    • 760 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Best Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 723 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Kim Vallade Gender Roles in our Society As I spend some time observing the aisles of the local department store I notice how society has targeted not only people in general in the roles of gender norms but also they have made it very aware in our stores where we purchase toys, clothing and other items for the entertainment of our children. Toys as well as fashion play a big part in socialization and influence among children of all ages, from the young all the way up to young adults. “Socialization…

    • 723 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Better Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 1596 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The role of gender is a fundamental issue due to the fact that important aspects of people’s lives, such as their capabilities, perceptions, social interactions, and occupational pursuits are based highly upon the guidelines established by societal gender-typing. Gender development is one of the primary basis’s upon which people establish different expectations for the effects on their daily lives. “Gender roles, need for achievement, and moral judgment are among the major arenas of social behavioral…

    • 1596 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Importance of Social & Cultural Factors in Gender Roles Social and cultural factors are critical in moulding gender roles because of societal expectations, family dynamics, and psychological differences. Most often, a child is nurtured into the gender role because of norms and stereotypes. These forces of socialization help us define our gender because together they create a concept on how a certain gender should act and or behave. School and the education curriculum significantly plays an…

    • 354 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 2048 Words
    • 9 Pages

    Gender Roles Children learn from their parents and society the conception of "feminine" and "masculine." Much about these conceptions is not biological at all but cultural. The way we tend to think about men and women and their gender roles in society constitute the prevailing paradigm that influences out thinking. Riane Eisler points out that the prevailing paradigm makes it difficult for us to analyze properly the roles of men and women in prehistory "we have a cultural bias that we bring…

    • 2048 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 1520 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Gender Roles in Literature In a society, there are set of accepted norms that expected to be met by everyone that is included within that society. As time passes, society begins to evolve and the standards change. What was once a normal standard of living in the early 1920’s may be seen as old fashioned and is no longer acceptable in the late 1980’s. These standards are the base of how one should live and are enforced through influences such as peers, media, and literature. Seeing women and male…

    • 1520 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Gender Roles

    • 2061 Words
    • 9 Pages

    considered appropriate for their gender. Imagine people being around their peers, friends, and family, but not being able to be themselves. The fact of the matter is, one does not have to try to imagine this because this is the society everyone lives in. Society should accept people for who they are, not subject them to the traditional gender roles society has set up. Men and women have been treated differently for centuries, based on how people believe both genders should behave. In society today…

    • 2061 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays