Gender Roles Critical Essay

The “long held stereotype of the typical family” has become a thing in the past. More and more do we see both men and women seeking work outside of the home in order to provide a stable household? In today’s society, a woman who stays home is often considered as lazy or useless, which is far from true according to the long held stereotype. Although men and women have had a history of pushing boundaries and breaking free of their specific gender roles in the past, our people as a whole haven’t learned from these courageous examples.
Instead, there are traditional ways in which our children are molded from long held ideals which have survived throughout many years and continue to segregate men and women apart. Certain occupations and many careers continue to devalue women and glue them as far away from greater opportunities. The media has also become the biggest influence in pushing men and women to conform to their gender appropriate roles. As a child, we are raised by the ideals and beliefs that our family and for many generations have considered to be important.
Such ideals include children identifying their sex and determining what is considered to be appropriate for their gender. For example, toy stores are typically segregated, often seeing the boy toys separated from the girl toys. The color trend is also apparent in which blue is identified with boys and pink will quickly be assumed for a girl. Boys are also burdened by a secret code, which is commonly titled as the “Boy Code”.

The Boy Code is a somewhat strict set of rules in which they are expected to be rough, independent and rather emotionless. On the other hand, parents tend to be cautious around young girls because they don’t expect them to be any of those manners. Typically girls are given the approval to be vulnerable, gentle and clumsy. Women are definitely taught that they live in a male dominated society. Education provides very little detail of how women have contributed to history and employers continue see less value in a woman than in a man.
Women are constantly cheated from what they deserve; especially women who earn less for the same job as her male counterpart. Not only do jobs lack equal promotional opportunities for women as well, institutions make it hard for a woman to keep her job or get one. For example, a mother is typically the first person a school or a daycare center will contact in regards to her child. Also, it is frequently the mother who stays home from work to care for a sick child or an ill relative.
These expectations and obligations pushes women to conform to society’s gender roles. The media is all around us from billboards, magazines, commercials and the internet, the media is wherever we go. The media continues to enforce specific gender roles and it is by far the strongest enforcement. For example, in commercials that pertain to cooking and cleaning products, women are often employed to model the product’s use. Secondly, young girls are rarely seen playing with action figures or toy cars on television as well.
Not only are women being taught on what is considered to be gender appropriate, but men are too. Men are often portrayed to be masculine in most types of media. Commercials frequently show a dozen women swooning over a man with body spray or handing a man a beer when he is doing something inappropriate for his gender. The “long held stereotype of the typical family” seems to be a practice that no longer exists. Although many families have strayed from this idea, it continues to be desired.
Times have progressed and our people have changed as well. Our people seem to have seen it all, from the end of women’s suffrage to the United States’ first black president. Unfortunately, our progress as a union hasn’t guaranteed equality to men and women. Children are continued to be raised by the ideals that have survived through the male dominated eras, work institutions devalue their women colleagues and the media subconsciously steers us towards gender appropriate roles.

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