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Gender Roles and Identity in Society - Essay Example

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Gender Roles and Identity in Society

In this regard, this essay will discuss selected gender stereo type and its relation with gender roles. Similarly, it will provide insights on how gender roles have its long term effects in society.
Gender roles put emphasis on the distinctions between males and females. It is a cluster of behavioral norms related with males or females. Similarly, it appears to be that the differences in male and female's gender roles are often caused by society and other instinctive causes. In view of these circumstances, majority of the researchers acknowledged that the behavior of an individual is a result of socially imposed sets of rules and values as well as biological attributes which may be genetically or psychologically related.
More often than not, the rearing up of children and other stimulus, emphasize a sense of gender in order to keep up with its biological sex. Gender roles can be traced as early as infancy. A baby starts to behave in a gender stereotyped way before it is one. (Tomboy or Sissy. BBC News. Child of Our Time Programme Guide Series 2 Part 2). Babies are treated differently from one another. This can be easily noticed in baby clothes, because boys are hardly ever dressed in pink, because the color pink is associated and considered as "feminine." From this, it can be assumed that even at an age at which an individual's behavior is indistinguishable; it is pointed out that a child's sex must not be mistaken.
Stereotypical sex related behavior like men's contempt or a woman's sympathy (Plant, King and Smith: The influence of gender and social role on the interpretation of facial expressions) or a male's aggressiveness or a female's passivity can be drawn partly from roles which are instilled during childhood. In line with this, a study have found out that even at the tender age of a child, a child begins to make gendered choices of toys(Tomboy or Sissy. BBC News. Child of Our Time Programme Guide Series 2 Part 2). It can be observed that often times, males are told that "boys don't cry" and as such, boys tend to favor cars, trucks and guns for toys, which supports being adventurous. Girls on the other hand, prefer dolls, and playhouses which promotes their nurturing qualities and they were able to imitate female homemaking roles. Consequently, as children grow up, boys and girls, based on the foregoing discussions can be seen that the choices made by them as to what fields of study, employment or career were influenced by it.
By adolescence, an individual also learns and accept roles as well as to socialize with others. These are allowed by different institutions like the family, school, community, government and media among others. The aforementioned institutions make it clear what individual behavioral norms of the child are expected from him or her. During adolescent, sports activities are encouraged, and as such, it elicits various attitudes toward sports and its orientation. A study shows that there is a consistent and stable stereotype in society (Alley and Hicks: Peer attitudes towards adolescent participants in male- and female-oriented sports.) The study further asserts that "to be feminine is to be communal or expressive, while to be masculine is to be agentic, instrumental and competitive. Consequently, this leads to the common notion that ...Show more

Summary

The terms gender and sex are commonly used interchangeably. However, there is a need to distinguish the two terms so as to comprehend gender in a particular way. Gender is differentiated from sex, the latter refers to being a man or a woman based on a biological attributes which includes physical qualities and features like hormones and reproductive organs among others…
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Gender Roles and Identity in Society essay example
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