As soon as a person is born, society has taken care of designating what gender that baby is born into. From the blanket in which the newborn is wrapped in, be it blue for boys or pink for girls, for the longest time has had this responsibility. In school the child is being taught by teachers that boys play with boys and girls with girls and the boys play with cars and get dirty while the girls play with dolls and need to act like little ladies.
From there it is the parents’ responsibility and they continue to instill in their children the duties or responsibilities that the gender that they were assigned ought to be. Girls are taught to cook and serve the males and the boys are taught to work and take care of the home, wife, and the family. While this is going on in the child’s life, the media like television, books, and other forms of information play a large part in continuing to emphasize the rules and duties of each gender.
So constant reminding is at hand for what society has labeled each gender to be and act and that which through generations and familial traditions has been. But what happens when a young boy decides to bend the gender role line and begins to dress up in girl dresses and loves to wear jewelry? Society begins to dictate that that child is wrong because traditionally that is not what boys do. But what happens when adult men begin to do things that normally society says those things are done by females only?
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Recently the term “metrosexual” has come into play in society. Men who love to shop, hang out with girlfriends, have facials, dress sharply, and yet still are considered heterosexual males. I have picked two articles from the internet that talk about these two different types of behavior that currently boys and men are expressing. Even though society dictates what is right and wrong for gender roles, society has accepted the change in heterosexual males but is not tolerant for a young boy to dress up in girl clothing. Why is this? Gender roles are cultural and personal. They determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, and interact within the context of society. While various socializing agents like parents, teachers, peers, movies, television, music, books, and religion-teach and reinforce gender roles throughout the lifep, parents probably exert the greatest influence, especially on their very young offspring. ” As stated by CliffNotes. com, parents are the ones that will shape how the child will be in society.
Twenty years ago when American society was very traditional parents were one-sighted even though they may have had offspring that they may have considered different, but because society stipulated a certain norm, those offspring were forced and raised according to tradition. Boys wore pants and t-shirts and tennis shoes and they played outside with other boys at cowboys and Indians. They got dirty because “they’re just being boys” was heard constantly growing up. That was twenty-some years ago, but now society has evolved and is changing.
Take for instance the case of five-year old boy who loves to dress up in girl dresses. Has society evolved to the point that this is acceptable? Dyson, a five-year old boy recently was showcased on national television because his mother has written a book about her son and his desire and gratification of wearing girl dresses and tutus. “My Princess Boy” is a book written by Cheryl Kilodavis about her 5-year old Dyson and the cruel reaction he faces when he wears sparkly frocks, twirly skirts and jewelry.
Ms. Kilodavis began noticing Dyson’s desire to wear girls clothing and accessories and she got worried because of the scrutiny her son would endure as he grew up. She wanted to make sure that he was psychologically stable so she had Dyson evaluated by a psychologist and a medical team because as she stated, “Everything out there is always about gender identity confusion, and I wanted to make sure my child was happy and with who he was. ” According to the evaluation, Dyson was normal with just a flare for the pretty and sparkly things even though he still like to play “boy” sports.
According to Ms. Kilodavis she even tried to redirect his affection to girl clothing by providing the school where he attended with masculine dress ups like a band member uniform and even a karate uniform, but to no avail, Dyson preferred dressing up in girl dresses. This is what made his feel happy so she decided to accept her son for the way he was and wrote the book to make it available so that society can understand and accept children like Dyson. Even though there are still traditional parents she has received comments from both sides of the spectrum.
Some say she shouldn’t exploit her son just to sell books others say she needs to protect him from how society will treat him as he grows up. Other have commented that they too have “princess boys” and they thank her for sharing her story because they felt they were alone in society with a child like hers. Even men have written to Ms. Kilodavis showing their support wishing they had a mother like Dyson’s when they were growing up because they too considered themselves “princess boys” but were not allowed to act on those desires and impulses.
As of 2003 a new term has evolved for straight, heterosexual males, “metrosexuals”. The term means that straight, heterosexual men like to so things that normally women love to do and men in general hate doing. How is this different that what Dyson is going through? “Metrosexuals, according to the New York Times, “are straight urban men who are willing, even eager, to embrace their feminine sides. ” They love to shop with their gal pals. They were designer jeans, fashionable tops and have long conversations about thread counts. Some even wear makeup and nail polish,” writes Tom Purcell. The Metrosexual Male. Tom Purcell. 26 June 2003. ” Again even though Mr. Purcell’s article is negating that it is correct for heterosexual male to behave in this manner, it shows us that it is common practice among this type of group of straight men. Why did these men begin to act on their desires to do the things that describe a metrosexual? Was it that they too had these impulses and desires since they were young but society did not allow them to act on them because of a stricter power over them, like their parents for instance, that didn’t allow them to be totally happy?
Now that them men are adults they feel they can do whatever feels right to them and what identifies them as the male they want to be. Yes they don’t wear dresses like Dyson does, but maybe deep down they wish they could but to a certain degree they feel that society may look down upon them and doing the things they do is probably what society can handle from them at this point in time. Perhaps in the future society will be more understanding and allow not only metrosexuals, but all men to be who they feel they are. Mr. Purcell continues to disagree with the metrosexuals saying that society has been the one who has allowed this to happen. He continues to say that if you go to a playground you can still see the difference between boy and girls. He states, “By nature, girls are softer and gentler. They like fashion and nail polish and playing with dolls.
By nature, boys are rough and tumble. They like trucks and tools and they couldn’t care less about their clothing or how their hair looks. Until they become feminized metrosexuals, that is. But again these boy and girls in the playground are doing what their parents are teaching them what they were taught when they were young, but Mr. Purcell doesn’t know what they young boy in the playground really wants to do or be. Mr. Purcell is following society and tradition in the concept of boys are boys and girls are girls. An internet article put out by www. toptenz. net/top-10-metrosexuals. php lists the top 10 public eye figures ranging from rocker Dave Navarro at number 10 who was once married to Carmen Electra to the number one spot which is David Bechkham, the famous English soccer player married to an ex-Spice Girl, Victoria Bechkham. These men are accepted by society for whatever role they play in the media. Even though they probably wear more makeup than their wives but it’s okay because we all like them and we look up to them. So in conclusion should society dictate what a young boy or an adult male should act or be? Since gender roles are created by society and society seems to be evolving, society needs to be more understanding and accepting to the different types of personalities and realize that what is wrong now may be correct in the future.
In Dyson’s case maybe a television or movie producer should turn his mother’s book into a television show or even a movie for the big screen. Since the media plays a very large and important part in society if Dyson’s story is told for the whole world to see could that change society’s view for his love of wearing girl clothing like the acceptance of metrosexuals because of the fact that we admire famous actors and sports figures that are considered metrosexuals and we want to be like them and dress like them.
That is the beauty of individualization, each person is a different world and unique and should not be judged by how they act or dress but accepted just the way they are because we might learn something from them that can benefit society we live in and make it a more tolerable place for difference and diversity.
- CliffsNotes. com. Gender Roles. 25 Mar 2011
- Italie, Leanna. (2010). Princess Boy’ at Center of Biting Debate [Electronic Version] abcNews. go. com 3.
- Purcell, Tom. The Metrosexual Male. 26 June 2003
- TopTenz. net. Top 10 Metrosexuals
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