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”people share a common nature but are trained in gender roles.” – Lillie Devereux Blake
By definition, gender is ”either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.”
During the 14th century, gender started to be seen as a social construct. Feminism was the main leader, along with social scientists who studied the social attitudes, norms, and representations of gender identities in society, for the development and improvement of the sociological creations of gender roles or norms, they argued that society and our cultural background is the primary source that sets out these differences and labels among men and women. However, other people argued that gender is not a social construct, but rather a representation of the biological factor of humans that guide us to our place in society, and which we must portray accordingly.
Gender roles are based on the ideas of being ”feminine” or ”masculine”, according to one’s biological anatomy. Gender roles created a ”box” that limited people’s ideas, dreams, rights, and freedom. With gender roles came many gender expectations that people had to follow for many centuries, and still do to this day. An example of some of the expectations would be, ”toxic masculinity” that men had to accommodate. Toxic masculinity is the stereotypical masculinity that restricts men from expressing any type of emotion or sensitivity, along with the expectation for them to be dominant and superior in society. On the other hand, women were expected to be the emotional and inferior gender, and express behaviour that is ”feminine.” These gender roles, or expectations, can affect relationships between people by limiting their capacity to fully express their emotions and feel safe or comfortable around their peers. For example, women can feel threatened to show their independence and strong-will, and men can be hesitant to open up and talk about their feelings; if those around them are firm followers/believers of the idea of gender roles in society.
Gender stereotypes still upon us. Nevertheless, compared to the 15th century, there has been an obvious improvement in reducing or vanishing the existence of these gender roles, or stereotypes, and allowing people to be whoever they want to without limiting their rights, in accordance to the sex they were born into. Some ways we have seen these changes being made is through social media, magazines, commercials, social movements, etc. However, some of these sources, such as magazines or social media, still advocate these gender expectations by using women as ”objects” to sell their products and portraying men as strong, aggressive creatures. This puts a pause or limits the growth or development of the removal of gender roles. With that being said, we can’t ignore the positive movements, such as MeToo movement, Times Up, Women’s march, Gillette’s Toxic masculinity ad, that helped in empowering both men and women and allowing them to be the people they want to be, without any gender roles restraining that.
Gender (n.). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.etymonline.com/word/genderParenthood, P. (n.d.).
Gender Identity & Roles | Feminine Traits & Stereotypes. Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sexual-orientation-gender/gender-gender-identity/what-are-gender-roles-and-stereotypes
Sociology of Gender. (2018, June 29). Retrieved from https://othersociologist.com/sociology-of-gender/
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