Gender Roles: Dictating Social Norms
Does the way people think, express, and dress previously been established by the time they are born? Gender roles, a set of social norms, dictate the types of behaviors considered appropriate for the gender of each person. As an example, “Pink Think” accentuates the traditional stereotype about women and the impact of gender roles in society, but whether something is proper or not may differ substantially among cultures. Mallam Sile, an affable Muslim, demonstrated through his story different aspects of the Middle East culture in his personality and constituted a relationship where religion and society played an important role to determine predominance. Another crucial factor for gender roles is the point of view of an individual “Men we carry in our minds” and “The wife of Bath” present different perspectives of gender roles during various times in history, reflecting how these roles could vary due to a person’s sex and background. As it is made clear through the struggles and stories of the main characters in this collection, the way people should behave varies depending on factors as culture, time, society, and particular experiences.
Gender roles are associated with ideas about femininity and masculinity, although there are deviations and differences. During the World War II, men served in the combat which caused women to enter the workforce, something never seen before. Consequently, ladies worked to support the war effort and learned how to sustain themselves. Afterwards, World War II ended which caused men to operate as householders again. On the other hand, it was considered “patriotic” to be an “exemplary housewife” (Peril CR35) because people during that period believed women were always “gentle,” “soft,” and “delicate,” (Peril CR33) as Lynn Peril explains in “Pink Think.” This movement Pink Think denoted a “set of ideas and attitudes about what constitutes proper female behavior” (Peril CR33), which influenced the way society perceived women.
Time is not an isolated factor that alters how society determines its gender roles; culture portrays a variable too, regarding established duties. Mallam Sile, a humble Muslim who lives in the middle east, illustrates how men and women are supposed to behave depending on what the place and culture they live. In many cases, it is acceptable for men to oppress women and females might not receive any complementary authority. “Mallam Sile” implies how a woman, Abeeba, stepped out of women’s expectations and decided to fight a man called Samadu. As a result, as soon as all observed the fight initiated ladies “tried to turn Abeeba away”(Ali 101) because they worried the man, Samadu, would “humiliate her in some way.”(Ali 101) The event illustrates how women behave and feared men. Also, women around the fight yelled “oh! Men, come out, oh!”(Ali 102), because they lacked the audacity to stop the fight by themselves, it would be against their philosophies as men are the most predominant. Society produces a set of ideas about how men and woman should interact with each other, sometimes they are only imaginary barriers, an example could be as Abeeba made Samadu pay her the money on debt after fighting him.
For many years, men and women have tried to understand each other, and some people might presume they comprehend about the opposite sex. Personal allegations vary from person to person, and it might be biased or inclined depending on particular experiences. “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” a story written by a man impersonating a woman, provides the idea of how the author believes women would behave, talk, react and desire during certain situations. According to Geoffrey Chaucer, “A man can win us best with flattery” (Chaucer 80) which indicates that some men believe all women would fall for flattery and that is what they desire. In addition, Chaucer denotes that women “can’t keep secrets”(Chaucer 81) which is a general allegation made by men stereotyping women. Gender roles are filled with stereotypes that look for an accurate description to describe men or women as those examples shown above about what men comprehended about women.
In the same manner, personal experiences might affect the way people perceive circumstances. “The Men We Carry in Our Minds” illustrates how people might differ in a discussion according to their own experiences. The story discusses different viewpoints of how challenging it is to be male or female. Also, presents the point of view of an individual who states “It’s a lot harder for men” (Sanders 131) because of his experience with exploited and hardworking men. Besides, the author implies the only two “destinies” for men were “Warriors and toilers”(Sanders 135). In the other hand, women from a satisfying background had opposed options, and their professions for males were “astronauts”, ” savvy lawyers”, and “generals”(Sanders 136) which is an outstanding contrast. This story clearly demonstrates the variation developed about gender roles, even though both people referred to the same issue during the conversation.
Gender roles are a set of social standards that manage the models of behaviors considered proper for the gender of an individual. In other words, they determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, and interact with the content of the society. These functions are regularly correlated with concepts about feminism and masculinity, although there are several variations. Many factors such as the period, culture or religion, background and personal experiences might produce significant changes. Gender roles differ because everyone has unique characteristics and occurrences, which creates gender role expectations. These divergent beliefs make it an extended debatable issue to analyze due to the fact that they might differ between group and group.