Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gender Roles within Society

While in class and while learning about gender made me realize how important it is within our society. It was never brought to my attention that gender has its very own big role. I have always viewed gender as something that’s very complex, a boy is a boy, and a girl is a girl. Our society everyday teaches little girls to be girls and little boys to be boys almost everywhere. A great example of that is on cards, which you can find anywhere at your local stores. The cards enforce and strictly make girls into stereotypical “girls” and boys into stereotypical “boys. Even before their births, during baby shower events parents receive cards for boy and girls which differentiate in many ways.

Not only do cards emphasize girls as “girls” and boys as “boys”, television shows do too. As younger kids are growing up, our television shows prepare younger kids to attend school and be ready. However, in this case there are many shows and cartoons also differentiating the differences between males and females. Girls always wear pink or light colors with long hair or shoulder length hair with dolls, and boys are usually dressed in blue or dark solid colors. They are also shown to be bald with no hair. , Also, characters shows with short hair – who are seen as boys – are sometimes shown destroying materials. They make boys strong and tough, while they emphasize girls to be weak and sweet, always waiting to be rescued. Not only that, but girls make high screams when they are in fright and trying to escape danger. But for boys, they usually growl back and fight back. “Gender Socialization begins early as girls and boys are encouraged to act in different ways, play with different toys, and perform different chores around the house (like washing dishes rather than cutting the grass) and send a powerful early message about the gendered division of labor in the family.” (Marsiglia & Kulis, 2009, p. 67) Everywhere is being gender taught, whether you notice it or not, it’s everywhere.

Reference: Marsiglia, F. F. & Kulis, S. (2009). Diversity, oppression and change: Culturally grounded social work. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books, Inc.



  1. I recently did a project for my woman's studies class looking at toys and gender. This is a very interesting subject and I agree that we often don't think about how much society plays in our interpretations of gender.


  2. I think this is really interesting, and just like you, I haven't even thought about it earlier. No wonder it's hard to know what you identify as, and even worse, telling people you identify as something else than what's expected from you!

  3. I find the discussion of gender roles in our society very interesting. Growing up, its really easy to ignore how strict the roles are since they are so prevalent in our society. I was at a birthday party the other week for a two year old girl, and most of her presents were things like cooking utensils, vacuums and brooms, and an apron. It seems that we continue to perpetuate this stereotype that womens work is kitchen work.

  4. I remember reading an article back in my race, class and gender course and it pointed out the same information on gender roles and performance. It's interesting to see how our society is so prone to specifying male and female roles that even all of us are performing it whether we know that it is made up or not. In my perspective, I think this is such a social norm that even though we know that it is a made up process, we still conform to it because we are often afraid of getting stigmatized.


  5. This topic in class made me think about my childhood and I realized that my parents didn't socialize me in what seems to be the norm for girls. I didn't have many dolls, I would receive basketballs and footballs for Christmas, I was expected to cut the grass, etc... I think that the normal gender socialization limits children and could potentially squash athletic or artistic talent (maybe a boy loves to design/sew clothes?). I'm definitely going to think about this when I'm a parent.