Gender Roles Essay

The world is rapidly changing, and at the same time, a transformation of social consciousness and social relations is taking place. The forms of behavior and attitudes that were relevant in the last century have now become obsolete. In your opinion, have the social roles of men and women changed in modern society?

The relevance of gender inequality is becoming more and more global. It can be noted that the media are increasingly talking about various movements for the equal rights of men and women, for the manifestation of the tolerance of humanity towards people with an unconventional orientation.

The boundaries between male and female disappear. People begin to do and wear what reveals their individuality, and not what makes them conform to the stereotypical notions of “real” women and men.

Example 1: Ancient Greek Marital and Gender Roles

Ancient Greek Marital and Gender Roles *Note: All claims are assumptions based off of textual clues and are not to be understood as fact but to be recognized as potential truths. The roles of men and women in Ancient Greek civilization can never be fully understood since no one alive today existed during their era. That being said, analysis of texts written by Ancient Greek authors provides us with insight into how their culture viewed both genders. It is through these texts that scholars can identify customary actions of single and married couples.

Questions such as: should women save themselves for marriage, Are men the providers, And were women expected to be subservient in a patriarchal society can all be answered through textual understanding. As we prepare to dive into ancient texts and learn about the Greek culture of old, one must understand the importance of utilizing multiple authors. Without calling upon a variety of texts, a credible and thorough theory on how Ancient Greek individuals acted cannot be erected.

For the purposes of this analysis the authors Euripides, Aeschylus, and Homer will be employed with the prospect of further understanding Ancient Greek gender and marital roles. Taking into account the differences among these texts in authorship and date, we will burden three main tasks: identify what makes a good husband and good wife, discern if and why one role receives more attention than the other, and conclude what ancient Greek social norms may have been from the way these texts depict marital relationships. Euripides’, Hippolytus, provides a sturdy backbone for understanding how Ancient Greek civilization viewed gender roles.

Before reading a text it is important not to have a narrow scope. This means that one should not only focus on the perceived main character, but rather consider how every character may depict an aspect of the then current culture. Despite being titled Hippolytus, it is crucial not to only concentrate on the character Hippolytus. In fact, there may be just as much if not more to be learned from Phaedra. Phaedra, being the stepmother of Hippolytus, supplies a situation where her actions toward Hippolytus can be used in understanding the expected actions of married females toward single males. After Phaedra earns that her nurse has disclosed the sensitive information about her romantic feelings for Hippolytus to him and that he has rejected her she takes her own life out of shame. However, she leaves a note for her husband – Hippolytus’ father – Theseus, claiming that his son has raped her. This action reveals that perhaps it was not uncommon for women to take their lives after being sexually violated. With that in mind, it may be inferred that sexual purity was expected of women, that once a woman has been tainted by a male who was not her partner she loses her respect, honor, and desirability.

In addition, Theseus’ reaction allows us to see even further into gender relationships and societal norms. Theseus takes the offensive against Hippolytus, cursing him and subsequently causing his death. Nevertheless, instead of coming to the hasty conclusion that Theseus is emotionally volatile and lacking the ability to understand, it is pertinent that one stops and asks: “Why may he have acted this way? ” For where most mistakes are made in textual analysis is through hasty generalizations based on current era norms.

Indeed, in todays world Theseus’ reaction would lead to his imprisonment and mandatory meetings with a psychiatrist but this was not always so. In Ancient Greece honor was critical and helped in determining social status. Euripides lived during the end of the Persian Wars and much like the notorious Spartans, the Athenians considered honor for themselves and their family to be of the utmost importance. With this in mind we will take another look at Theseus’ reaction and how it provides insight into Ancient Greek culture.

It is possible that Theseus reaction would have been of the norm during his time. It was most likely seen as dishonorable to commit suicide as well as to lie; therefore, Theseus would not dare question the claims made by his wife. Theseus was trying to protect his honor as well as that of his family by taking action against he who had supposedly raped his wife. Society may have expected him to avenge Phaedra’s death. This shows that a married couple was a strong unit, that each must have trust in each other; it was not their duty to question the word of their partner.

Bearing everything in mind it can be deduced that a good husband is one who protects his family and a good wife one who is loyal, even if it means taking their own life. Nevertheless, the male gender role stresses honor over family. Moreover, when honor and family conflict, family loses – hence the death of Hippolytus. Euripides portrayal of Hippolytus assists in depicting how men were expected to act in society. Hippolytus serves as a paradigm for a man who does not meet the standards of the societal norm. We are able to identify that Hippolytus is not a normal Athenian male because the goddess Aphrodite punishes him for his actions.

He is a boy who has not yet become a man; he shows that it was not acceptable for males in Ancient society to resist maturity. His wish to remain abstinent, or more so his lack of sexual desire is common among the youth but not a matured male. Aphrodite is used to receiving praise and worship from the male population and because Hippolytus does not worship her – but instead the virgin goddess Artemis – she chooses to punish him. His punishment allows us to infer that all men were required to seek out a woman when they reached the age of maturity.

Those who did not most likely brought shame to themselves and their family. Moreover, it can be seen through the emphasis on family, and sexual desire that procreation was not so much a choice as it is today but an obligation and duty of each and every able-bodied male. Ultimately, Euripides’ Hippolytus sheds a lot of light on social norms regarding gender roles. During the time period in Ancient Greece while Euripides was alive – estimated between 484 – 407 B. C. E. (Before Current Era) – the prevalence of honor was paramount, effecting the actions and choices made by both males and females.

It was the duty of the male to protect and maintain honor for his family by taking action against those who threaten or harm the fortitude of his family. But first it is his societal obligation to wed a woman and create a family. On the other hand women are important members of society, their word bears weight in discussion and decision, it is their duty to love and protect their family as well as to maintain honor for themselves by being loyal companions even if it means taking their own life. Although the assumptions made off of textual clues in Hippolytus appear valid, it is still important to consider other ancient texts.

The Odyssey by Homer is another text that provides clues toward how Ancient Greek civilization regarded gender and marital roles. There appears to be an undisputable amount of evidence supporting that there was a double standard between men and women on how they should act toward the opposite sex. Odysseus engages in sexual activities with a large amount of women on his journey home to Ithaca. Whereas despite not having not seen her husband for twenty years Penelope remains loyal even though she has a crowd of suitors desiring her bed.

Odysseus’ behavior leads to the belief that it was acceptable for Greek males to cheat on their wives. However, there is not enough evidence that supports that his behavior was acceptable. Additionally his circumstances were not of the norm so it is unfair to say that Odysseus’ behavior corresponded with that of the average Greek male. The important part of Odysseus and Penelope’s relationship that does speak to the social norms of society is the devotion held toward one another. Penelope’s decision to remain loyal to her husband even after twenty years of absence says a lot about Greek women.

It can be inferred that marriage was a huge deal and loyalty an even bigger one. If Penelope had chosen another suitor before knowing if Odysseus was dead or not then she could have potentially brought dishonor to herself and her family. The importance of loyalty and marriage is stressed by Penelope’s actions. Additionally, she shows that to be a good wife is to be a committed wife. In comparison, although Odysseus is not loyal like Penelope, he shows that it is the duty of a husband to make it home to his wife and to always put family first.

The fact that Odysseus wants more than anything to return home and see his wife – so badly that he even gives up his potential life with Calypso – supports that commitment to one’s family is the most important duty of a Greek male. When Odysseus does return home and finds that suitors have overrun his house he takes action and eliminates all of them. Although it may be argued that a couple of the suitors were genuine, decent people and should not have been killed, his decision to kill all of them attests to the duties of a good husband.

The suitors entering his home without verification of his death was a strike at his honor. It is from his decision to eliminate all of the suitors that we can learn about how Ancient Greek society viewed the male gender role. Men were expected to be strong and to protect the honor of their home, to enter discussion over who was the most in the wrong displayed weakness. In order for a man to reclaim his good name he must do away with any and all threats. This notion toward the expectations for Ancient Greek male gender roles is further supported by the actions of Odysseus’ son Telemachus.

Telemachus had never met his father but still decided to set out on an expedition to find him. The fact that Telemachus had never met Odysseus when he decided to risk his life to find him validates the importance of family. Clearly common ethics in Ancient Greek civilization endorsed family over everything. A son was expected to fight for his family no matter how close his relationship with the rest of his family may be. Normal male gender roles were to maintain honor and protect one’s family.

Homer’s The Odyssey and Euripides Hippolytus both share common characteristics in their insight into Ancient Greek marital and social gender roles. The overwhelming aspect of both texts that appears to be the focal point of Ancient Greek culture is family commitment. All clues point toward both marital roles to be to preserve and protect the honor of one’s family as well as the importance of having one. The assumption can be made that in order to be a good wife she must be loyal and honest, whereas to be a good husband he must also be devoted, putting his loved ones before himself and honor above all else.

There does not appear to be one gender that receives more attention, supporting that both genders played a vital role in ancient culture. In contrast with the previous two texts, Aeschylus’ Oresteia: Agamemnon offers a different approach in addressing Ancient Greek cultural norms relating to marital and gender roles. While Agamemnon is gone for ten years at the Trojan war his wife Clytemnestra conspires against him with her lover Aegisthus. To be fair, Agamemnon had sacrificed their daughter in order to have the wind be on his side.

Before we continue let us analyze how this depicts Ancient Greek marital roles. The relationship between Agamemnon and Clytemnestra is incredibly strained after he sacrifices their daughter Iphigenia. However, if emotions are withheld it can be seen that perhaps Agamemnon’s marital and gender role supported his decision. As was seen with the death of Hippolytus, stemming from Theseus’ duty to uphold his principles, it can be inferred that the requirement for a male to preserve his honor comes before family.

Although taking a different approach, Oresteia: Agamemnon, has the same main principles regarding marital roles. Except this text allows us to see what happens when roles compete. As the story progresses more insight is provided into how marital roles are affected when one takes precedence over another. When Agamemnon returns home he brings with him a new woman, Cassandra. After arguing with his wife about not wanting to display excess hubris by walking on the purple carpet their time together becomes very strained. Shortly after his return Clytemnestra murders Agamemnon and Cassandra.

Her catharsis is complete after committing these murders and uses the sacrifice of Iphigenia as justification for her actions. Both the love affair of Clytemnestra with Aegisthus and Agamemnon with Cassandra hint that perhaps there were a little bit more public scandalous acts that took place in Ancient Greece than the other two texts let on. We have learned that in order to be a good wife she must protect her family and be loyal to her husband. The text written by Aeschylus explicitly proves that when a wife must choose between loyalty to her husband and protection of her family she will choose her family.

Regardless of the obvious differences between this text and the two priors they all three present Ancient Greek gender and marital roles to be comprised of the same basic principles. That being said, all three illuminate a new characteristic. After analyzing all the texts it can be assumed that Greek culture revolved around family, loyalty, and honor. A good wife is a woman who puts her family first and remains loyal to her husband no matter what the circumstances. Likewise a good husband defends the honor of himself whilst remaining devoted to his family.

Nonetheless, after further analysis it can be argued that social norms for marital roles did not always go hand in hand with what a “good” husband or wife should do. This is because certain roles are emphasized more than others. When a wife chooses her children over her husband or a man defends his honor at the consequence of his family he or she can no long fit into the paradigm for a “good” husband or wife. In another text written by Euripides, Medea, the view into the past is much different than that of Hippolytus or any of the other texts.

That being said, it is crucial to analyze the new perspective in order to formulate an educated theory on what Ancient Greek marital roles used to be. Jason and Medea are married with children when Jason chooses to suddenly leave to marry the daughter of the king of Corinth. Euripides is insinuating that in some instances male gender roles overpower their marital roles. As a Greek man it is his duty to gain honor and status as well as to create a family. However, as a Greek husband it is his duty to be devoted to his family and to never leave them.

From this text we can infer that the desire of a man to achieve honor and status can lead some men to abandon their families. The prospect of one day being king is too much for Jason, he leaves and forgoes his marital roles. His choice to relieve himself of his duties as a husband infers that not all men in Ancient Greece were morally sound, taking a very loose interpretation of the word “honor. ” Additionally, Medea involves herself in some actions that go against what would be considered socially preferable. Medea is distraught and angry after Jason abandons her and the children.

She takes action by plotting to hurt Jason the way that he hurt her. Medea gives Jason’s new wife a poisoned robe that burns her flesh off and murders her own two children in hopes to harm Jason. By murdering both Jason’s wife and her children she is exhibiting revenge with the only intention of benefiting herself. This act infers that there were many citizens of Ancient Greece who did not regard the normal social roles. Unlike Agamemnon who sacrificed his daughter to fulfill one of his societal roles, Medea acts completely outside of the norm by murdering her children in cold blood.

Euripides may potentially be trying to express that there are always going to be individuals that act radically opposite to what is at the time considered normal. A distinction that must be recognized is that between gender roles and marital roles with the understanding that they sometimes overlap. It seems as if more attention is placed on gender roles than marital roles. For instance, Odysseus chooses to cheat on his wife, Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Clytemnestra murders her husband, and Jason deserts his family.

After analyzing all of the texts we can finally make an educated decision on what marital and gender roles were like in Ancient Greece. It appears that Ancient Greek society had determined roles for both men and women and they were meant to be adamantly revered. A good husband was considered to be a man who was devoted to his family and defended the honor of himself and his home. He recognized that there is no honor in hurting loved ones, no matter what the outcome. Additionally, a good wife was a woman who was completely loyal to her husband and her family, protecting them by whatever means necessary.

However, thorough analysis reveals that there were often times people who went against what would be deemed “good” because they made a choice when roles conflicted that ensued a consequence for a loved one to bear. And finally there were those who went against the grain completely. Overall, Ancient Greek social norms involved family at the center and devotion from every member to each other. The reason there is such a strong emphasis placed on understanding, documenting, and analyzing history is because it is through historical analysis that scholars can infer as to how modern-day culture came to be.

It is through investigation of historical texts and other mediums of recording history that allows us to track the progression of people and their roles in society. In the current era people are still learning more about how past societies operated and what led to their development. From Homer to Hemmingway there is always more that can be learned through textual analysis, whether it be a historical primary source or not. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Struck, Peter T. “ClSt 200 – Greek Tragedy. ” ClSt 200 – Greek Tragedy. N. p. , 2000. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. .

Example 2: Gender Roles

Gender Analysis Essay Gender Roles? What Gender Roles? Throughout the endless generations and societies of the world the idea of gender roles can be found in each and every single one. Every human being, in their own time and own way, has had an image drilled into their head as to how the roles of each gender should be played out. On the outermost surface there are two distinct and recognizable types of gender naturally being male and female. However, that truly is only the surface as there are many types of gender roles either a male or a female may choose to, or be forced into assuming throughout their lives.

Society uses whatever image it chooses in order to convey what it thinks the gender roles should be at the time and is very capable of controlling the way people think, act, and behave. However, our generation as well as the last few generations have had the interesting experience of living in a society in which long established gender roles are being challenged more and more everyday. We are deciding as a people that we are far more interested in being individuals then simply going along with the stereotypes set forth by society.

My family, in which my father is responsible for the majority of cooking and cleaning while my mother is the main breadwinner and financial overseer, seems to be a perfect example of the new trend along which society is moving and the new opportunities and ideas that are becoming a reality when it comes to gender roles in society. Everyone knows the long and stereotypical list of jobs that guys do and jobs that girls do as well as the different toys that each are supposed to play with when they’re little. We all also know how the boy that plays with dolls and the girl that plays with trucks gets treated when they’re little.

Seemingly, neither one of these things has really changed at all up until today, but why then does the idea of gender roles seem to be diminishing every single day? Personally, I believe it has almost everything to do with your family and the people that you are surrounded by at a young age. They’re the ones who dress you, decide what school you go to, what friends you hangout with, even what food you eat. They take the small clay ball that is you as a baby and begin to try and form it into what they (in many cases what society) want it to be.

For me, this was not so much the case. Every Sunday morning I would roll over in my bed to the sound of the vacuum cleaner humming up and down the hallway or the mop squeaking along the kitchen floor. Once I finally was able to pull myself out of bed and drag my way up to the kitchen table I was greeted by a plate stocked full of eggs bacon and pancakes all drowned in steaming maple syrup. If you were to ask almost anybody who it was making these noises and preparing this delicious meal they would undoubtedly say it was my mother. But they would be wrong.

While my dad was busy cleaning and making breakfast, my mom was in her office starting on her work for the day, or filing taxes or balancing the checkbook. See, in my house, the term gender role was a very confusing one seeing as how it had a different meaning there then almost everywhere else. I would go to all my friends houses and see their dads, coming home all dirty and sweaty from work, cracking open a cold one while their moms would be scurrying around in an apron tidying things up and pulling hot buttery rolls out of the oven right before dinner.

It never really dawned on me at such a young age though that the differences between my home and my friend’s home were so significant and that I truly have a different life because of these differences. To be completely honest, I have never really thought about the way in which experiencing gender roles in such a reversed way (thus perhaps not experiencing them at all) has actually affected me and the way in which I act. However, thinking about it now, there are definitely aspects of my life and personality that are different due to the circumstances under which I was raised.

Most importantly, I think that growing up in a household in which all the gender rules were broken has allowed me to be much more open to new people, places, and things. Gender is more likely than not the very first thing you notice about someone. You use it as a basis for almost all of the forthcoming judgments you will make about someone based on things such as what they’re wearing, how they talk, where they work, what they eat. A person’s gender decides so much about them in they eyes of an observer, the only problem being many of those things may not even be true. Growing up ith the idea that men and women can fulfill whatever role they choose both within the home and outside of it has caused me to be a much less judgmental person. This is because if you take gender out of the equation it eliminates such a large portion of what you would judge a person on that you don’t judge them at all. Realizing something as simple as the fact that men can stay at home and cook and clean and women can work hard and be in charge of money allows you to realize that you actually have to talk to a person and get to know them before you really known anything about them, you can’t just take things at face value.

Had I grown up with the stereotypical patriarchal family I have no doubt that I would be a different person. For every child that does grow up with one of these families, the roles assigned to each gender are becoming more and more solidified. Every parent that buys their little boys baseball gloves and a plastic tool box and their girls an easy-bake oven and doll house is simply placing another brick in the ever growing wall of gender roles and we are still, to this day, witnessing the negative effects these gender roles are having on our society.

Men still dominate most higher up positions while women still receive lower wages then men in many cases. It’s a little crazy to think that something as simple as what toys you give your children to play with are contributing to the development and growth of gender discrimination isn’t it? So many people may be asking, what toys should my kids play with? Well, growing up I sure didn’t play with dolls or easy bake ovens, I also played with trucks and superhero action figures and baseball gloves. The difference is in the context in which I was playing with these toys.

I was playing with my hot wheels while watching my dad scrub the bathroom floor and hitting baseballs through the window of my mom’s office while she was making major family decisions. It was being able to see the full spectrum of what both males and females could do that allowed me to never get sucked in to the idea of gender-designated roles. I hate to sound as if I’m bragging or over prideful when I say this but I feel as though it is family environments such as the one I was brought up in that are allowing for cracks to be formed in that brick wall of gender roles.

Trying to teach people about true gender equality and cooperation when they’re already grown up and have had 30 or so years of “teaching” from the rest of society is something that is very hard to do. In Amy Truong’s essay, “Gender Expectations and Familial Roles Within Asian American Culture” she talks about how her ideas of gender roles were also formed at a very young age, “ Within Asian culture, women are raised and taught to be silent and obedient…growing up I was told, ‘Do not comment or speak up,’ whenever I wanted to voice my opinion.

My opinion was considered unimportant. And for many years of my life I believed that this was true. ” It is clear that within our own culture, Asian culture, and more than likely every culture of the world, you are truly taught about gender roles within society as a small child when you don’t have the ability to teach yourself and thus you simply take what is given to you. Thus, I strongly believe that gender roles are specifically established within the first years of each new generation.

They are then solidified throughout your childhood and teenage years and by the time you are an adult your beliefs about gender and society are already more than decided. This generation, now grown up, will pass down the exact same beliefs and ideals about gender to their children and the perpetual circle of assigned gender roles and discrimination against the non-conformists continues. Growing up with an alternate view of gender roles has allowed me to understand that we can change the old and out dated idea that because you’re a woman you stay at home with the kids and because you’re a man you bring home the paycheck.

In almost all cases, excluding some jobs involving physical labor, women are more than capable of doing the exact same jobs men do, and in many cases a better job. Similarly, men are capable of doing all the same jobs commonly held by women. All it is, is a state of mind that has been so instilled in the heads of society that we have all but lost the will to change it. We are all created equal, it is a statement on which America was founded, but perhaps it should instead become a statement by which America actually lives.

Example 3: Gender Roles in Children’s Literature

Everything we read constructs us, makes us who we are, by presenting our image of ourselves as girls and women, as boys and men” – M. Fox It is a well known fact that children’s literature holds an important role in the development of young children. It has the power to teach, offer meaning and serve purpose all while being entertaining.

Children’s literature is a widely available resource that offers children a plentitude of insightful information. Within the pages children’s books lies an immense resource of tools that aid in the development of character for children, and conveys.Gender is an important aspect of development and is a commonly explored theme in children’s literature. Children gain information from many sources such as teachers, family and friends, but they also gain it from literature. Like in every culture the roles of gender in America are an important part of its culture. Gender Identity is a crucial part of a child’s development because it helps children to see themselves in relation to others. A child develops their sense of gender at a very early age, for most children gender identity begins to develop between 18 and 30 months.

After a child has developed their sense of gender they begin to realize that gender is stabile; girls grow up to become woman and boys grow up to become men. By the time a child is the age of four or five they have come to prefer participating and playing in activities that are defined by society as gender appropriate. It is during childhood that children begin to fall victim of stereotypical behaviors. For example girls refusing to play with trucks or wear pant because it is not considered feminine by society. Lawrence Kohlberg an American Psychologist outlines the stages of gender development.Kohlberg outlines gender development in three stages. The first being Gender labeling, in this stage children identify others as male or female based on physical appearance.

The second stage is when children begin to recognize that gender is stable over time; gender stability. And the third stage is gender consistency; children understand that gender is permanent. But what influences children to know what’s appropriate for their gender? The answer may be found in a theory known as Gender Schema. The Gender Schema is a psychological theory that explains how children develop their gender roles.This theory suggests that children learn about male and females roles from the society in which they live in. This theory also suggests that children adjust their gender behaviors to conform to the gender expectations of their culture. Children acquire cultural information about their gender roles from a variety of sources; parents, teachers, family, media and literature.

Through literature children are exposed to characters that outline the expected behaviors for each gender. Children take the information given to them and then try to conform themselves to what is expected of them.Because of this children are unable to know their full potential, forcing them to abide within their given roles. Since the beginning of time gender has defined ones role in society. “Like class, race and ethnicity, gender shapes just about every part of our lives. ” (Macions pg 90). Society places roles and expectations for each gender that are played in out in every aspect of life; home, school, work, playgrounds and literature.

As children develop they are subjected to messages from society, which helps them to gain understanding of the world around them and molds them into their given roles.The way, in which gender roles are portrayed in children’s literature, significantly contributes to the development of children’s gender roles and how they are perceived by society. It is important to teach children about gender roles since it is something that society holds in regards, but most of the time in literature it is done unequally. The portrayal of gender in literature is based off of the expectations of society and places bias on gender. Boys are portrayed as strong, adventurous, independent and capable and often play the roles of fighters, adventurers and rescuers.Girls are portrayed as sweet, naive, dependent, sensitive and emotional and play roles such as caretakers, princesses and mothers. The roles of gender portrayed in literature are often a reflection of the views of society and do not offer objective insight.

Even though it is important to teach children about gender roles, the fashion in which it is done in does not allow children to see beyond those expectations. If a young girl is constantly read stories about a woman’s role as a housewife, homemaker and mother, she will assume that’s what is expected of her and will not know society will allow her to be anything she wants to be.Gender roles in children’s literature are linked to gender stereotypes. Gender stereotypes have always been a part of society and are seen in almost every aspect of life. Stereotypes are defined as “exaggerated descriptions applied to every person in the same category. ” (Macions p. 72).

For every ethnic, racial and gender category society places stereotypes to describe certain groups of people. Gender stereotypes in children’s literature are portrayed in the traits, role behaviors, physical characteristics, and occupations of characters in children’s literature.The common messages in children’s literature about gender put emphasis on the traditional roles of men and woman. Unfortunately traditional roles are often unequal and place males as dominant over woman. Traditional gender encompasses the concept of masculinity and femininity. In many countries around the world, the traditional roles of gender are greatly valued. The traditional role of gender places woman as the homemakers and men as the provider.

“Girls are always shown as passive and girls are always shown as being active. ” (BookStove. com).With such emphasis on tradition, children’s literature does not allow children to see past the stereotypical expectations of society. It is no wonder why gender inequality in children’s literature is so prevalent when society places unequal views upon gender. Unfortunately much of the children’s literature today contains gender stereotypes as previously discussed. One would most likely assume that this is something of the past but it is as present today as it was in past decades.

A reason for this could be that “Gender-role development is one of the most important areas of human development” (Noppe).Since gender roles are an important aspect of development for children, it is a significant topic in literature. However in the majority of children’s books the main characters are predominantly male, thus limiting opportunities for girls to identify with and validate their own gender. The male gender has been the dominant of the two sexes since the beginning of time, which explains why male characters are dominant in children’s books. The majority of children’s books have a male as the main character, leaving females with the minority of literary experiences aimed for them. In an analysis of children’s book titles by S.Ernst it was “found that male names represented nearly twice as often as female names” (Tsao).

Ernst also found that books that had gender neutral and girls names were actually about boys. Gender roles and stereotypes force young children to conform to traditional stereotypes regarding gender. Because of this, boys feel pressured to live up to the standards of masculinity while girls feel pressured to be feminine. Gender based beliefs are incorporated into a majority of literature written for children. Even though the stereotypical divide between males and females is not a large as it was 40 years ago, it is still present today. When they are repeatedly given stereotypical messages, their choices of what they want to become or accomplish is limited by these gender stereotypes” (Bookstove. com).

Today both males and females are doctors, soldiers, teachers, athletes, government leaders, stay at home parents and much more, however this is not fully represented in children’s literature. Females in children’s literature are all too often “portrayed in a narrow and biased way” (Bookstove. com). Over the past few decades societal changes in gender roles have lead the stereotypical beliefs of gender to represent something different than what it used to.With so many changes in the views of society you would think that children’s literature would reflect these changes but all too often they do not. And most often the books that do challenge the beliefs of society draw great controversy causing them to be put on the back burner in favor of more traditional children’s books. The stereotypical roles of gender that are portrayed in children’s literature have been the cause of much controversy in recent years.

However a solution to remedy the abundance of gender stereotypes in literature has not yet been reached.It is believed that the ideas of masculinity and femininity are too deeply embedded in society making it especially difficult to change. Every aspect of society is shadowed with stereotypical beliefs that are perceived through media, advertising, literature and socialization. These models are a constant reassure that exploits gender stereotypes. According to Bookstove. com, guidelines were implemented in an attempt to eliminate sexist roles in children’s literature. These guidelines were expected to encourage a healthier development of gender for young children but unfortunately did not persist to combat the situation.

Thus making it evident, that stereotypes are too deeply rooted in society. It will be interesting to see how the issue pans out over the coming decades. Gender identity is a crucial part of a child’s development and will most likely remain a common theme amongst children’s literature. The views of gender depicted in literature may prevent children from participating in activities that would best suit their capabilities and personalities. It is important to understand and learn the expectations of society but children’s literature does not fully allow children to develop concepts of individuality.Today society places value on individuality and does not limit life chances to certain genders, but this is all too often not shown in children’s literature. In order to help children in the process of gender identity one must realize that children need chances to interpret the world around them without the insight and beliefs of society.

Hopefully in time children’s literature will steer away from the stereotypical beliefs of gender and focus on non-traditional gender roles, allowing children to see themselves in many different aspects.Works Cited Macions, John J. Social Problems. New York: Pearson, 2008. Noppe, Illene C. social. jrank.

org. 1 December 2010 . Tsao, Ya-Lun. “Gender Issues in Young Children’s Literature. ” Reading Improvement (2008). “Unknown. ” 12 3 2007.

Bookstove. com. 5 December 2010 . “Gender Development: Gender Schema Theory. ” Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender. Oxford: Elsevier Science ; Technology, 2001. Credo Reference.

Web. 06 December 2010. Fox, M. (1993). Men who weep, boys who dance: The gender agenda between the lines in children’s literature. Language Arts, 70 (2), 84-88. [EJ457107].

Example 4: The Impacts of Gender Roles for Society in Advertising

The impacts of gender roles for society in advertising There are lots of social roles that a person has to perform during his or her life time. The most clear and basic role is gender role. A gender role is a set of social and behavioral norms that are generally considered appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship. Gender roles are widely between cultures and even in the same cultural tradition have differed over time and context.

Most societies regulate different behavior pattern and social value regarding to gender, therefore consumer’s behavior cater for their gender role image. Men and women roles and how the roles are defined and described in the advertisement can affect individual acceptors, public’s consciousness, behavior pattern and the social system. There are three impacts of gender roles for society in advertising. First of all, the gender role can make the fixed idea and change. In most societies, the members of societies have similar thought about a series of characteristics that the gender has.

We call that fixed idea of gender roles. the fixed idea is socially shared belief and excessively simplified belief in matters of the specific target. Every society has the simplified idea about men and women and the fixed idea which regulate personality and role regarding to the gender. For example, the fixed idea about women is that women are passive, sensible, dependent, lacking in patience and internally sensitive. Vice versa, the fixed idea about men is that men are active, ideal, independent and possible for mind control. This fixed idea about men and women provided background that divide men and women role.

Through the characteristic role, men work outside and women work inside for their life, and the polarization of the gender role is accepted as the best way for their work and family. This fixed idea is accepted as a natural result for a long time. People could not realize that they have the fixed idea because this idea exists everywhere of society. However, now, realization of the gender roles in advertisement is changed according to the passing of time. Before women’s liberation, the fixed idea about the gender role was believed as natural phenomenon and what is bred in the bone.

The pioneer of women’s liberation claim that women’s potential power and ability had been restricted because they be bred true to the fixed idea about the gender role. Also, we delude ourselves that physical, psychological and social characteristic according to the gender is real, and we define what men are and what women are. Also, we delude ourselves that physical, psychological and social characteristic according to the gender is real, and we define what men are and what women are. The fixed idea is always exaggeratedly simplified, and sometimes could be totally wrong.

Also, the fixed idea exaggerates or minimizes difference between groups. The fixed idea about the gender role makes men look as if they are similar even if actually they are very different each other, so do women. Finally, the fixed idea can be usually used to justify prejudice and discrimination to member of some groups. This distorted fixed idea about the gender role cannot reflect the image of the gender role properly in modern time. Secondary, the concept of androgyny comes to the fore. According to the radical change of society, the concept of the gender role becomes changed. Androgyny is at the head of the change.

Bem(1974) rendered the concept of androgyny for the first time. It means that the two character coexistent in one person. In other words, androgyny has manhood and femininity. Through the study about people who have the fixed idea about the gender role, androgyny people are more ethical, self-respected, and stable than them who have the fixed idea about the gender role(Block, 1973; Bem;amp; Lenny, 1976; Kyoungsuk Park, 1988; Jeongeun Lee, 1991;Sujung Seo), and androgyny people are more flexible and practical and have more information-processing capacity. These studies confirm the value of androgyny.

As a result, the concept of androgyny develops our society and diversifies industry. Third is socialization of gender role image. Women’s role image in an advertisement affects learning of women’s social role, namely women are affected their socialization by an advertisement. It shows how much mass media and advertisement is an important information source to women. We can guess that mass media and advertisement affects consumer to form mold about other world if the mass media or the advertisement is considered as the optimum conditions for effective learning, cultural environment.

Social scientists point out that the gender role description in an advertisement applies leverage on thought about society. An advertisement had a tremendous impact on a consumer when the role or image of the character is a role model. Today, day by day, we are living in numerous advertisements. Gender roles that appear in the advertisement can change our traditional stereotypes. The advertisement appeared to reflect social change traditional stereotypes Image and appearance are mixed gender role images appear in the advertisements today.

People realized that the concept of androgyny is better than a fixed idea of gender roles. Moreover, socialization of gender roles has become an important issue in our society. Image to adhere to traditional gender roles, women’s social activity and a surge in traditional gender roles than in the past, the position is improved according to the hypothetical social change gradually, and social roles that appear in the structure, major changes are reflected in a market economy, the advertising is the side effects that are not suitable.

Fixed according to gender in advertisements, when you think that advertising is having a big impact on the value formation of children as well as the function of promoting the sale of goods and as a medium of socialization with the public over an image or a negative image of women reassurance that the portrayal is not a desirable thing. Exercise and develop human potential is an important factor which is responsible for its leading role, the mass media and advertising, and the stereotypes tied to the gender roles of society be reshaped.

Advertising like a mirror reflects a social phenomenon and as a pathway for changing gender roles in this society, the society and culture of that era and the social interaction that leads to the development direction because they share two features to create a new culture will be able to. Reference Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162. Yijeongeun (1991). Study of Learned Helplessness in ministering to college studentof identity and attribution according to the type of Sookmyung Women’s University Graduate School Master’s thesis.

Example 5: Gender Roles in a Streetcar Named Desire

Gender Roles in A Streetcar Named Desire Throughout history empowerment and marginalization has primarily been based on gender. In the play A Streetcar Named Desire, this idea of empowerment is strongly flaunted. Tennessee Williams’ characters, primarily Stanley, Blanche, Mitch, and Stella, conform the expected roles of men and women at the time. Although World War Two temporarily allowed women a place in the work force, they were dismissed from such empowerment when the war came to a close. Characters in A Streetcar Named Desire are accurate representations of the social historical context of that time.

The power struggle between Stanley and Blanche conveys dominant ideas about gender such as the primitive nature, aggression, and brutality of men and the vulnerability and physicality of women. The establishment of traditional gender stereotypes is almost instantly provided when Stanley is highlighted as the ‘provider’. His physical masculinity and power is conveyed through a package of raw meat he ‘heaves’ carelessly at Stella and his abusive nature is shown at once through the use of blood imagery involving the ‘red stained package’.

This immediately associates Stanley with brutality, foreshadowing his violence and cruelty in the play. Although Stanley is empowered by his gender, he feels threatened when approached by Blanche, who is of higher class than him. Due to Blanche’s social standing, Stanley is unsure of controlling her. As the play progresses the struggle for power between the two becomes increasingly obvious. At first, Blanche appears victorious in the struggle.

The physical proof of the tragedies in her past stop Stanley from arguing. Here all of them are, all papers! I herby endow you with them! ” His failure to exert power threatens his pride and he is inspired to reject Blanche. Segregation between men and women is clearly defined during the poker night in scene three. “Poker shouldn’t be played in a house with women. ” This reflects the social norms and the dominant belief that women should be disassociated from masculine activities. Stella and Blanche are excluded from this form of masculine boding, and their early return causes chaos in the house.

In addition to segregation, dominance is seen once again when Stanley is unable to prevent Mitch’s desertion of the game. His violent outbursts are desperate attempts to exert his dominance. “Stanley gives a loud whack of his hand on her thigh. ” it becomes apparent that his threatening words are not enough, and he begins using violence as a physical means of controlling Stella and frightening Blanche. Although Stanley’s power works mainly to downgrade Blanche, his violent and aggressive nature also disempowers Stella. She is abused during poker night, a moment of masculine bonding.

Following the poker night she is made powerful when she retreats to Eunice’s Flat. However, she returns to disempowerment when she leaves Eunice’s flat and Stanley ‘bears her into the dark flat’. Stella’s decision to stay with Stanley is not based on choice, but rather on the fact that she must. This enforces the dominant belief that women are unable to support themselves, emotionally and financially. Similar to Stanley, Blanche also faces a power struggle. Her ultimate downfall is a result of Stanley’s cruelty and lack of understanding for human fragility.

Comments about Stanley’s ‘animal habits’ and ‘sub-human’ nature act as the agent of Blanche’s downfall. Stanley cannot deal with her mocking him in his own home and is fed up with her lies. During the final scenes his behavior conveys the male dominant ideas of cruelty and brutality. Blanche’s refusal to deal with Stanley’s rough nature causes her to retreat further into her fantasy world where she becomes increasingly vulnerable. Stanley violates Blanche in the most personal way and initiates the ultimate act of cruelty and abuse of power.

His final act of brutality acts as the climax of power struggle between Stanley and Blanche as well as all males and females. This leaves the male empowered and the female lowered and completely destroyed. Blanch Dubois’ empowerment comes purely from her class. Her southern tradition and wealth made her a woman of importance and propriety. However, in Elysian Fields her traditions and former wealth hold significance. Although her wealth was lost with the death of Belle Reve, she desperately attempts to hold on to remains of her previous life and creates a fantasy world.

Her ‘incongruous appearance’ and ‘southern tradition causes Stanley to reject her, as he cannot relate to her in anyway. The lack of impact on Stanley reflects the context of time, when tradition was being overpowered by industrialization. As Blanche begins to understand that her class has no impact on Stanley she assumes the role of a temptress. “I was flirting with your husband Stella! ” In order to gain some form of authority, Blanche uses her sexuality and physicality in effort to control Stanley.

Blanche uses her sexuality frequently to overpower others. She ‘depended on the kindness of strangers’ regularly in Laurel and her use of physicality landed her in trouble on various occasions. Following her encounter with the paperboy she states, “I’ve got to be good and keep my hands off children”. This foreshadows her frequent use of physicality as means of empowerment. Although Blanche is notorious for her use of physicality, she has no authority over Stanley and is constantly reminded of this through emotional and physical abuse.

As a representation of all females, Blanche is completely disempowered after Stanley rapes her. She creates a fantasy world to escape the harsh realties of Elysian Fields Her marginalization and downfall reflects vulnerability and reliance of females on males for stability. The dominant ideas and beliefs about gender, such as the reliance of women on men and the primitive nature and brutality of the masculine are conveyed by Tennessee Williams’ in A Streetcar Named Desire through the empowerment and marginalization of Stanley, Blanche, Mitch and Stella.

Stanley’s role as the ‘alpha male’ empowers him in almost all situations. Blanches’ tradition and social status empowered her past but her physicality empowers her present. Williams’ characters accurately portray the gender stereotypes in the time they were created, and function today to convey the dominant ideas about gender and how they work to empower and disregard people in our society today.

More examples:

  1. Human Rights Essay
  2. Education Essay
  3. Hamlet Essay
  4. Pollution Essay
  5. Feminism Essay