Why do we still follow them? Why Do We For centuries, gender roles have dictated the lives of men and women; from lives outside of the home and within the home, relationships with family and other close friends. In the beginning gender roles played a very strict purposes based on human anatomy. In the hunting and gathering society, men would go out to hunt and for war while the women would stay back and provide for the children.
This was for a umber of reasons; most importantly, because the women were the only ones capable of feeding the infants and toddlers (Macaroni, 2012). Centuries later, as the world became more civilized, the American family began to adapt to a stricter set of gender roles. In the rural communities, the men would work the farmland with the young boys and the young girls would help the mother around the house. Overall, the families main goal was survival so the husband and wife would work together as a team to accomplish their day-to-day activities (Hawked, 2007).
Later on down the line, industrialization began to pull men further and further from the farm work and place more importance for women to tend to the house work. Men were then seen as the “breadwinners,” the providers for the family, whereas the women were seen as the caregivers. The home and family became emotional support for the members within the family (Hawked, 2007). As the civil rights movement began to become more evident, women’s thoughts on their roles in society began to change as well.
Women began pushing for equal rights in terms of voting. The birth of this movement was led by Elizabeth Caddy Stanton and Lucrative Motto in Seneca Falls, NY. They took the name of women’s “suffrage” because of the feeling that women were suffering from the men’s dominance in society. It was the Nineteenth Amendment that eventually started the first of many women’s rights movements (Hawked, 2007). In history, there is plenty of evidence supporting the existence of gender roles hindering women’s progression in society.
Also, in history, it has been proven that having gender roles in society provides valuable structure in the family when technology and opportunities lacked to provided other alternatives (Macaroni, 2012). In today’s times, however, husband’s roles have expanded to being more involved in his children’s lives and childhood development, especially in the critical early years (Hawked, 2007). So if these opportunities are available, as well as more socially acceptable, then why is it still so uncommon to see a “stay-at-home dad? The answer to that question can be answered through how men and women socialize in romantic interests. In the Journal of Sex Research, researchers found some interesting correlation between what men and women believe are desirable for the other sex. “When romantic legislations are at stake,” states findings in the Journal of Sex Research, “men and women alike may fear that failure to conform may result in an especially painful form to rejection. Thus, tears about relationship loss and loneliness may work to keep men and women acting in line with their gender roles… In other words, even when it is a woman’s personal goal to achieve a successful career, if there is an attractive, potential partner in the mix who believes in more traditional ideals, she is more likely to tailor the expression of her goals. Findings support the generalization that when nuance is involved, both men and women will be more inclined to follow gender roles when, in doing so, they make themselves appear more desirable (Fetter, Roadman & Sanchez, 2012).
In addition, when studying both men and women’s reaction to being exposed to media, such as commercials, that objectified society “acceptable” roles for each sex, both sexes subsequently fell into the gender roles of the submissive female and the aggressive male. Men began to be more sexually progressive when interacting with women in a lower professional level than them and women began to be more submissive and more patient when interacting with en of high standing than them (Fetter, Roadman & Sanchez, 2012). Women, however, are viewed more harshly when breaking the double standard held above them.
Women who strive to be professionally successful are often seen as undesirable to men of equal standing because it can cause relationship discomfort concerning decision-making, and, possibly, the bedroom (Fetter, Roadman & Sanchez, 2012). The gender stratification is more generally associated with the Feminist Movement, but rarely do people hear of the negative effects of gender stratification from the men’s perspective. Researchers Tamari Bookings, Nichols Cruz, Sarah Hickman, Julie Lafayette, Mummy She, and Y.
Joel Wong have developed a new model of subjective masculinity experiences. They call their process the ISMS, Inventory of Subjective Masculinity Experiences. The model is rooted in social constructionist perspectives on gender (Fetter, Roadman & Sanchez, 2012). In the process, researchers discovered that in today’s societies, more and more men are placing higher desire to be a part of family and become a nurturer but they fail to act on their desires because it is not as socially acceptable. In a simple prompt, (What does it mean to you to “be a man? ” or “As a man I must… ) American men at the college level identified several expected responses such as, “as a man, I must be strong,” but also, researchers got responses pertaining to being good fathers (Fetter, Roadman & Sanchez, 2012) It was also found that men who considered family and household responsibilities as important factors in their masculinity where psychologically healthier (Fetter, Roadman & Sanchez, 2012). In a separate study led by researcher Larry Lance, Lance discovered that personality characteristics are coming more and more important to finding potential partners.
Although men still look for women who are generally more “slim and trim,” it is becoming less important in comparison too potential partner being charismatic (Lance, 1998). If people are expressing more and more desire to break gender roles, why don’t they act on it? Research from both the men’s studies and the women’s studies show that people follow gender patterns when it comes to social interaction with one another because the potential disapproval is more personal and more hurtful when it comes to expressing our emotions and desires (Fetter, Roadman & Sanchez, 2012).
All relevant research has led up to the conclusion that gender roles and gender stratification are on the progressive side of society. In the past, gender roles have proved to be setup and valuable, but as technology and society advances and improves, women and men alike should be given the equal opportunities to explore their own personal interests. This can lead to both men and women to living personally fulfilling lives and making a positive difference in the lives of others (Hawked, 2007).
Today, the lines are continuously being blurred and reburied as people begin to slowly test the waters on what will become socially acceptable in tomorrow’s world. If society decides to accept these new boundaries, who knows what the limits for tomorrow will be. But if all society does is sit back and hold on to the traditionalistic idea that have been held so dear for this long, all the world will ever have is a dream of a dream for something better. References Bookings, T. Et al. (2011). The inventory of subjective masculinity experiences: development and psychometric properties.
The Journal of Men’s Studies, up. 236. Fetter, J. Et al. (2012). Redirection inequality in the United States: the consequences and determinants of traditional gender role adherence in intimate relationships.