Free Gender Roles And Stereotypes Research Paper Sample
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Gender role and gender stereotyping is related to perceptions of society about behavior, action and role of men and women. These perceptions and expectations from men and women are not new and they have always existed. Gender role and stereotyping perpetuates from a generation to another and people come to know about it naturally. This paper is going to discuss gender role and gender stereotyping along with various other related aspects.
Gender stereotyping causes various complexities and people of various societies are aware about this fact but even then the trend continues. Children start differentiating genders at the age of three and their understanding as well as interpretations of gender is influenced by the society. If society is modern, they do not believe much in gender stereotyping but if the society is traditional, it affects their way of thinking in very negative manner.
Women have fought against stereotyping and their confined roles in the society. They have struggled to come out of their houses and they have acquired the liberty after a long history of their subjugation. It has been observed that women were considered weaker mainly because of their physical weaknesses. Men, on the other hand, took their physical strength as their authority and were not ready to give their position that they used to enjoy over women in the society.
Usually role of females is stereotyped as homemakers. They are supposed to marry at a particular age, have children and raise them. Looking after husband and his family members is also a part of their job. Females are supposed to be loving, caring, tendering, kind and also attractive to allure her husband. Females are supposed to look after their family before looking after themselves. Such qualities and roles are ascertained for females since time immemorial and this is absolutely based on their gender (Eagly and Steffen, 1984).
Role of males is traditionally stereotyped as protector as well as provider of resources for their family. A male is supposed to earn money and fulfill requirements of his family members. A male is supposed to be wise, independent, courageous who could lead his family and provide them security. A male is also stereotyped as initiator of sexual activities. All these gender roles and stereotypes are imposed on men and women since time immemorial and when anyone tries to do something that is different from their gender role and gender stereotype, society does not appreciate their act.
Gender role and stereotyping in different religions and communities
Gender role and stereotyping is usually found in every society and religion. People of different religious faiths and different races have been practicing such ideas. Role of women and men have been interpreted differently in different communities and religions. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Christianity says that women should always cover their heads while no such rule exists for men. Everyone is aware of the condition of women in Islam and how women are treated in Islam where men have right to marry four women (Basow, 1992).
Hinduism talks about women rights and they worship a number of goddess, but respecting women in real lives is remains yet in the society. Western societies claim to be advanced and gender sensitized, but women succeeded in getting electoral rights in twentieth century only after a long struggle for their rights. The condition of women in non-western communities is not much different. Women are given even bigger tasks and responsibilities in tribal communities and men are supposed to rest and passing orders (Basow, 1992).
However there are various examples that explain how women proved their merit in all the fields that were considered male dominated. There were some African communities wherein women used to participate as warriors. In the kingdom of Dahomey, women used to fight as warriors (Alpern, 2011). Women, in western societies, took care of various industrial operations during the Second World War while men were busy in fighting wars. Women worked in industries and produced weapons that was necessary for fighting wars.
Some societies also recognize other genders and stereotype their roles in the society. Third genders or eeunuchs have important roles to do in various non-western societies. Different genders have been assigned different roles as per their capabilities. A number of factors have been recognised as associated with gender role and stereotyping. Family, education, surroundings and media are some important aspects of gender role and stereotyping that play crucial role in persistence of this idea.
Theories on Gender role and stereotyping
There are various theories that explain gender role and stereotyping. Some theorists suggest that gender roles were designed in order to maintain an order in the society and it helped in making lives smoother. Functionalist theorists suggest that evolution of women and men is different and segregating different roles is necessary in order to the survival of the humanity. Socio-biologist theory proposes that various differences and ascertaining of gender roles of women and men ensure a mutual co-operation and successful relationship.
A majority of these theories suggest that gender role and stereotyping has affected the society in negative ways. It affects performance and relationship of women and men. Object- relation theory believes that role of women is devalued due to gender role and stereotyping. Women suffer more problems and they are their contribution is always underestimated. Nancy Chodorow suggests that gender stereotyping starts right from the time when women give birth to a child (Chodorow, 1999).
Gender stereotyping affects the psyche of people in a considerable manner. Sometimes good aspirants do not what they deserve and sometimes people with low qualities get benefitted merely because of their gender. It also encourages sexism among the society and especially men. Men are considered superior just because of their gender or for being men. Men are stereotyped as physically powerful and dominating while women are stereotyped as sexual objects. Portraying women as sexual objects cause crime against women. Stereotyping, based on the gender of women and men, deprives the society of some best hidden talents.
After analyzing the issue of gender role and stereotyping, it can be concluded that gender role and stereotyping affects our society in a negative way. It affects performance, relations and growth in an adverse manner. Some scholars may suggest it necessary, but they will have to accept that time has been changed and such ideas are not relevant anymore. Today, people believe in equality and this is also in the interest of the society to practice such things. Everyone should get what he deserves and no one should be judged by gender.
Alpern, S. B. (2011). Amazons of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors of Dahomey. New York: New York University Press.
Basow, S. A. (1992). Gender stereotypes stem from the distribution of women and men into social roles. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.
Chodorow, N. (1999). The Reproduction of Mothering. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Eagly, Alice H. and Steffen, Valerie J. (1984). Gender stereotypes stem from the distribution of women and men into social roles. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 46(4), 735-754.
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