English Composition 101-175
The understanding and adoption of gender beliefs and stereotypes are acquired at the very early stages of our lives. As we move from childhood to adolescence our visions are not only influenced by our home environment but also considerably reinforced by our society as a whole. Every single one of us has experienced the gender role identification. Buying a blue cap for a baby boy, painting a girl’s room pink, playing with toy cars, dressing up Barbie dolls, are some examples of how we have categorized and respectively separate certain preferences between women and men. Ever since the beginning of times women has been identified as the weaker gender. The expectations of seeing women succeed in the workplace years ago was a very remote idea, the standards placed on women were very low, the position of women was substantially seen as inferior compered to men. Nowadays this old-school idea has started to diffuse along time, however we can clearly see how gender roles still exist within our society. Along with having gender stereotypes, gender labels also play a significant role since these identify certain characteristics of both genders, usually degrading them.
What influences our perceptions of gender? As I mentioned, the two main influential factors come from within our homes and externally from our society. Growing up with parents whose beliefes are rigidly focused on having a housewife and a working father as their concept of life can potentially influence a child into thinking that men are superior to women. On the other hand, society also plays an important role in how we perceive gender. Out there in the real world, women tend to face more obstacles than men. The reason behind this is linked to the idea that women are weak. Because women are “weak” we cannot perform certain activities and this is why men think we are not equal and they take over us and our desires to succeed in some aspects of life, other than being a housewife.
Identifying and acquiring gender roles can eventually lead to a constant fight of trying to determine what men and women should do, each separately. As of now, gender roles are not a big issue but it is certain that there are cases in which this happens. Culture, ethnicity, and customs may sometimes be the reason why women and men are each seen differently, one above another. For example, it is very common in cultures such as the Hispanic culture to have separate roles in which the woman stays home, cooks, takes care of children while the men works and provides for their family.
Why can’t men and women share same rights and positions? Why have men and women always seen as different poles, one having more power than the other? In order to overcome and solve this issue, men and women must deeply understand their own values and respect each other. We need to understand that if we want to be equal, then we need to share the same responsibilities we have. According to the article Mars, Venus or Planet Earth? Women and Men in a New Millennium by Michael Kimmel, Kimmel refers to the best-selling book in the history of the world by John Gray, Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus. Here, Kimmel arguably refutes the idea that men and women are different, but rather more similar. He strongly emphasizes the invalidity of the statement that men and women are so different, that any amount of communication between them is an event of intergalactic proportions. Kimmel argues why men and women are said to be so different if the most successful educational reform of the entire 19th and 20th century has been Coeducation. He also states that women role have changer incredibly along time. As of today more women have been able to compete against men in many aspects, such as in the labor force. Women have accomplished more than men. This is due to the dramatic change women have experienced, going from a housewife to an independent