Essay on Evolution of Gender Roles

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Essay on Evolution of Gender Roles

The current century has been dominated by discussion about gender equality, which has become an issue being discussed by everyone. A dramatic evolution of gender roles took place beginning in the 20th century. For instance, only a few women made up the labor force before 1900. In the 21st century, however, women are demanding equal pay. They are also asking for equality in all areas of life that concern them as well as men. Consequently, the issue of gender roles and inequality has become everybody’s issue.

In the 21st century, fathers were not expected to stay at home and take care of domestic chores. In any case, this was not viewed as a respectable gender responsibility. At that time, it was the responsibility of a mother to raise the children. Today, however, all this has changed. Devor defines gender roles as specific behavioral or social rules that are expected to be upheld in a given social relationship and that are viewed as appropriate (Devor, 528). The author points out that in the modern society that we live in, both genders share numerous similar characteristics. According to Devor, all human beings irrespective of their gender exhibit feminine as well as masculine tendencies. As an illustration, both girls and boys at a tender age play with a doll without considering if it is meant for girls or boys. As these children grow, however, they begin to realize that the society has certain expectations regarding each gender. Consequently, gender roles become entrenched in them.

In the past, girls were taught how to behave appropriately in the society by their mothers. Similarly, it was the responsibility of the fathers to educate his sons on their specific male roles. This was especially the case in the 19th century when gender roles were strictly defined. Most children at that time were raised by two parents. The mother was expected to stay at home and take care of the family and the father was the breadwinner. Most children saw their mothers doing all household chores such as cooking, washing, and cleaning. Over the years, they developed the notion that such responsibilities entailed female gender.Essay on Evolution of Gender Roles

On the other hand, these children developed the notion that the role of the father was to provide income for the family. This view is supported by Devor who points out that the ideas developed by children regarding gender roles are influenced by individuals that surround them (Devor 533). These concepts are absorbed unconsciously by children and in the long run, they define their personal concept regarding appropriate gender roles.

During the 20th century, parenting was governed by strict gender rules. In addition, appropriate behaviors were emphasized. According to Kincaid, Antiguan mothers had a responsibility to teach their daughters appropriate gender roles (Kincaid 527). In this community and many others, cultural myths influenced gender identities. Today, however, the dualistic genders have been blended resulting in feminine and masculine traits exhibited by individuals. For instance, before the 1900s, women were not allowed to wear pants, which were exclusively reserved for the male gender. Instead, they were expected to wear skirts and dresses. In the 21st century, however, the assimilation of gender roles has contributed to more women wearing shorts or pants on daily basis.Essay on Evolution of Gender Roles

A dramatic evolution of gender roles started in the mid-20th century. During this time, a professional’s workplace became increasingly influenced by gender traits. For instance, the role of women was initially restricted to secretarial work in a business environment. In the 21st century, women began to take up roles that were initially reserved for men. For instance, they were recruited as assistants while others ran businesses. To ascend the professional ladder, however, they had to exhibit traditional masculine traits. They had to be more aggressive, assertive, and apply more influential tactics than men. According to Devor, assertive persons portray masculine traits irrespective of their gender (Devor 531). However, feminine traits tend to be nurturing in nature. These masculinity and femininity aspects have resulted in status inequality.

In the 21st century, however, the society has observed a dramatic change in feminine and masculine aspects. High self-esteemed women who run business now portray dominance and egoism, traits that were initially associated with the masculine gender. On the other hand, the traits of collaboration and cooperation that were initially associated with female gender have been incorporated into the male gender role. In most relationships today, both parents serve as equal partners and men play the role of nurturing fathers. Consequently, life has become easier in modern families. Additionally, most children today note these role changes and accept them.Essay on Evolution of Gender Roles

To end gender inequality, efforts have to be directed towards ending negative stereotypes that impact gender roles. For instance, it is not appropriate for a society to expect and force women to act feminine. On the other hand, men should not be forced to act manly since this would affect them negatively. Additionally, every individual should contribute to efforts to achieve gender equality. For instance, employers should promote the full participation of women in building the economy of the world. This is because achieving equality in gender roles would benefit everybody in the society

Works Cited

Devor, Aaron. “Becoming Members of Society.” Rereading America; Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. By Colombo, Cullen, and Lisle. 8th ed. Boston/New York. Bedford/ Martin 2010. 527-535. Print.

Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl.” Rereading America; Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. By Colombo, Cullen, and Lisle. 8th ed. Boston/New York. Bedford/St. Martin 2010. 527-535. Print.