Gender Socialization and Gender Roles

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Gender socialization and gender roles have always existed in society. When analyzing gender roles, they are not always equal or consistent when comparing cultures, however, the expectations of females and males are often times clearly defined with a little to no common area. The Japanese culture is an example of the defined gender roles that change over time. According to Schafer (2010), because “gender roles are society’s expectations of the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females”, they must be taught (p.357). These roles define how females and males are viewed in society, their household, and workplace. When examining gender socialization in the Japanese culture, it is important to analyze how gender roles are taught, and its history, before, during, and after WWII.
According to Friedman (1992), the position of women in Japanese society before WWII is a result of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Samurai based feudalism. The ideas of Confucianism and Buddhism merged with the military class of Japan to form the Samurai class in the 15th century A.D. The Samurai code became the law of the land drastically changing the roles of women in Japan. These combined influences limited their roles. Confucianism, Buddhism, and Samurai were cultures that discriminated heavily against women. Confucianism stated, “A woman is to obey her father as a daughter, her husband as a wife and her son as an aged mother.” Despite the age of the son, in the Confucianism culture, society holds him as above his mother. Buddhism denied women salvation and the samurai class stated that “A woman should look at her husband as if he were heaven itself.” All three philosophies held men at the top of society’s hierarchy and forced women to be sub...

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...t needed more assistance with rebuilding their country after all of the damage caused by the war. With an increasing number of women working, their social status began to change in Japan. This eventually led to increased gender equality for women allowing them to have a greater say in the household due to their financial contributions. For the Japanese culture, this was difficult for many to accept since they had once held gender empowerment as a high priority.
Gender socialization is society’s expectations and views of how to behave and carry one’s self. These expectations and views are not universal and change over time. These expectations are taught from early ages within the home, community, and workplace. In the Japanese culture, women had experienced severe limitations on self expression and up until WWII, women were inferior to all males regardless of age.
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