In this paper, I will discuss Wasserstrom’s arguments relating to the unimportance of gender and how differentiating people based on their gender promotes the harmful ideology of sex roles. I will then present Schlafly’s arguments which regard the differences between men and women as justifiable due to the fact that these differences are not only natural, but also practical and obligatory, and show that they are inferior to Wasserstrom’s arguments. I will argue this by elaborating on Wassertrom’s argument of how there is no such thing as “natural” while providing reasons for why this is so.
Firstly, Wasserstrom argues that assigning social roles to individuals based on their sex in inherently unjust. According to him, assigning sex roles interferes in basic ways with autonomy. In my opinion, autonomy is an extremely important factor when determining the overall well-being a person. Most people don’t like it when people are constantly telling them what to do on a day-to-day basis. Based on a study that I read about in my sociology class, the most important factor in determining an individual’s happiness within their career or job was their level of autonomy. This similar on how social roles based on sex are. Sex roles generate unwanted social pressure to an individual and they severely deprive them from their independence which negatively affects the individual’s potential well-being.
Additionally, Wasserstrom even goes on to say that sex roles are analogous to human slavery. Wasserstrom expresses how sex roles are oppressive and how they serve no use and no legitimate place in a just society. He states this because, according to him, sex roles forces people to lives which restrict excessively the opportunities of these individuals...
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...n necessary would be for the survival of its species, such as, the hunting and gathering societies where the female, having the ability to reproduce and lack of physical strength, was the gatherer and the male, having the advantage of physical strength, was the hunter.
Ultimately, the gender roles so many people consider natural today are in fact socially constructed. As Wasserstrom suggests, the nature of women today is simply the result of forced repression and socialization. The fact that sex roles are not natural, but socially constructed can be proven as they vary across different time periods and geographical locations. For example, if you study history, you will find that some societies were ruled by women. In the end, it can safely be assumed that the nature of women is an artificial thing and using this principle to implement gender roles is unjustifiable.
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Gould explains that a life without the pressure of gender norms essentially frees a person to develop and mature with a lack of limitations. It is suggested that the idea that an individual’s sex should not matter until one might decide how they want to portray themselves. She recognizes that people may not understand or accept this life choice, but if one can live ignoring constant ridicule and criticism brought on by a society who value gender norms, they will ultimately be more well-rounded in all aspects of their life. (Gould, 1972) Richardson does not necessarily oppose Gould’s view, but rather focuses on how women specifically are negatively influenced by gender stereotyping. It is brought up that “Linguistic practice perpetuates in men their feelings of dominance over and responsibility for women.” (Richardson, 1981) While females are seen in society as dependent, incompetent, immature objects who are defined in terms of their relation to men, males are autonomous, independent beings who are defined primarily to the world of work. (Richardson, 1981) In Richardson’s view, gender stereotyping not only perpetuates hate and sexism towards women but also forces men to behave a certain way in order to uphold the patriarchy. This idea is so engrained in modern society that it would be difficult to raise a child in the idealistic way Gould
Gender roles are a staple construct of human civilization, designating the behaviors and lifestyles that society expects out of its participants, with gender as the defining characteristic. Historically, females have been at the forefront of the conversation, with feminism regarded as the principal solution to the well-established issue of gender inequality. However, this is foolish. To truly mend the gender inequalities forged by thousands of years of human interaction, both genders have to be acknowledged. Both males and females are equally constrained by gender roles, however the effects of this constraint are in differing fields. There are studies showing that females are at a disadvantage economically, in the workplace, while other studies
Gender roles are often used in our own society to tie people to a certain representation for what is socially acceptable. These roles perpetuate gender inequalities because they often make the female end of the spectrum worth less than the male. One example is equating masculinity with strength and femininity with weakness. Because of this sayings such as “You run like a girl” become negative. Gender roles create a system where people are set to a different standard based off gender alone. In trying to follow what is socially acceptable based on gender people are forced into roles. There is a lower percentage of women in science than men because girls are taught at a young age that being smart isn’t feminine. These roles harm boys too, teaching them that they have to be hyper-masculine to be considered
No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality (Eitzen, Zinn, and Smith 2012). Every society treats women and men differently. Research shows that sex and gender are entirely separate concepts, yet, society lumps them together and the terms oftentimes are used interchangeably. We can distinguish that sex indicates biological differences between males and females, and gender assigns cultural and social behavior based on sex. However, everything in society is needlessly gendered; advertising, occupations, institutions. Society makes gender a huge factor that determines what roles children and adults alike fulfill. This fosters a culture where roles are pre-fabricated for us, somewhat eliminating free choice, and limiting
“Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls”: few of our cultural mythologies seem as natural as this one. But in this exploration of the gender signals that traditionally tell what a “boy” or “girl” is supposed to look and act like, Aaron Devor shows how these signals are not “natural” at all but instead are cultural constructs. While the classic cues of masculinity—aggressive posture, self-confidence, a tough appearance—and the traditional signs of femininity—gentleness, passivity, strong nurturing instincts—are often considered “normal,” Devor explains that they are by no means biological or psychological necessities. Indeed, he suggests, they can be richly mixed and varied, or to paraphrase the old Kinks song “Lola,” “Boys can be girls and girls can be boys.” Devor is dean of social sciences at the University of Victoria and author of Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits of Duality (1989), from which this selection is excerpted, and FTM: Female-to-Male Transsexuals in Society (1997).
The principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes--the legal subordination of one sex to the other--is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other. (1156)
Society places ideas concerning proper behaviors regarding gender roles. Over the years, I noticed that society's rules and expectations for men and women are very different. Men have standards and specific career goals that we must live up to according to how others judge.
A prominent case of this constructionism is carried in the short story, The Friday Everything Changed, “Because the boys were stronger and sat near the back they usually got the National Geographics first, ... while us girls had to be satisfied with the Junior Red Cross News…” (Hart 1). This obviously emphasizes the domination of males among females. Due to men’s masculinity, this social construct is developed and the fight against men and women around the world consistently occurs. Certainly, men and women have different anatomy and structure, but this does not mean that they have unequal rights due to this dissimilarity. Moreover, this division between genders is apparent in the text, “The first thing, clearly evident by recess on Monday morning, was that the boys had decided not to let us girls field at softball anymore…” (Hart 3). This line classifies the boys as better than girls in softball or in any sports at all, that they had the right to ban them from playing as well. Noticeably, this is considered wrong and unjust since no one has the right to tell anyone what to do or not, despite the levels that the people have
Suggested roles of all types set the stage for how human beings perceive their life should be. Gender roles are one of the most dangerous roles that society faces today. With all of the controversy applied to male vs. female dominance in households, and in the workplace, there seems to be an argument either way. In the essay, “Men as Success Objects”, the author Warren Farrell explains this threat of society as a whole. Farrell explains the difference of men and women growing up and how they believe their role in society to be. He justifies that it doesn’t just appear in marriage, but in the earliest stages of life. Similarly, in the essay “Roles of Sexes”, real life applications are explored in two different novels. The synthesis between these two essays proves how prevalent roles are in even the smallest part of a concept and how it is relatively an inevitable subject.
The equality between men and women is an integral part of human rights, it is also a prerequisite for democracy and social justice. Any democratic state seeks to promote gender equality in all spheres of life. Despite the creation of a strong legal framework to ensure the principle of equality of both sexes, the gap between men and women about their capabilities remains significant (Pomeroy, 72).
Gender roles are unavoidable at any stage of your life. They are taught to you by parents, conveyed in the media, practiced and honored in organizations and supported by our government. No matter how many feminist groups attempt to bring the two sets of gender roles for males and females together, there will always be the unwritten expectations that males and females are taught. Boys will always play with guns and girls will always play with dolls. As long as this occurs, the ambitions for boys and girls will be directly related to the stereotypical form we are taught. It is up to the families, media and peers to use the gender roles appropriately.
For many years society has embraced the idea that the differences between men and women are biologically determined and certain roles, behaviors and attitudes constructed by society assign and control how men and women behave and are perceived. Sex is determined by genetics while our gender is programmed by social customs. Some theories interpret that a women is tender and a loving mother while on the other hand men are aggressive hunters and are the dominant one of the family. Gender roles prescribe norms, which instruct people to pursue specific careers and lifestyles.
Since the beginning of time, the perception of gender roles had always been a part of everyday life. In society today, gender role is viewed as a “set of societal norms [that dictate] what types of behavior are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable” [Wikipedia] based on somebody’s perceived or born gender. In the nineteenth century, a movement has abrupt that is the “advocacy of women 's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men” [Google] known as feminism.Within America and Vietnam in the nineteenth and twenty-first century, gender role is not viewed as universal, but each country has a different set of behavior, belief, norm, and value when it comes to the role of male or female. How does
Gender is such a ubiquitous notion that humans assume gender is biological. However, gender is a notion that is made up in order to organize human life. It is created and recreated giving power to the dominant gender, creating an inferior gender and producing gender roles. There are many questionable perspectives such as how two genders are learned, how humans learn their own gender and others genders, how they learn to appropriately perform their gender and how gender roles are produced. In order to understand these perspectives, we must view gender as a social institution. Society bases gender on sex and applies a sex category to people in daily life by recognizing gender markers. Sex is the foundation to which gender is created. We must understand the difference between anatomical sex and gender in order to grasp the development of gender. First, I will be assessing existing perspectives on the social construction of gender. Next, I will analyze three case studies and explain how gender construction is applied in order to provide a clearer understanding of gender construction. Lastly, I will develop my own case study by analyzing the movie Mrs. Doubtfire and apply gender construction.
The affective element of a gender role ideology is described as one’s attitude or feeling toward an individual based on their sex alone. This outlook is known as sexism. The cognitive component of our view toward gender roles is explained as “our beliefs about the features of the biological or psychological categories of male and female” (Helgeson, 2017, p.10). Finally, the behavioural piece of a gender role ideology is recognized as sex discrimination, which “involves the differential treatment of people based on their biological sex” (Helgeson, 2017, p.