Uploaded by Laura V

Gender Roles & Identity

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Laura Vera
Professor Jones
English 115-604
28 June 2023
Gender Roles & Identity
Have you ever experienced interest towards things that are typically seen on the opposite
gender? Do you struggle asking yourself why that is? Regardless of the growth in society in
terms of gender identity and gender roles these have been taught strictly and very rigidly to us,
leading to confusion, low self esteem and struggles finding ourselves. Girls tend to be softer,
wear pink and dresses. While boys tend to be tougher, only like sports and superheroes. These
roles have followed us since we were little kids to our adult life. As we grow up, these behaviors
go on into our families. Mom is the one in charge of cleaning, cooking and in charge of the kids
while dad is the one in charge of providing. Nowadays new generations are being better educated
and behaving with these roles. Positive and relatable representation of gender roles must be
implemented to see a change into this matter.
In terms of gender identity, society reconstructs our gender identity whether we are
male/female and we have all experienced some sort of pressure to comfort throughout our
gendered lives. Confusion arises and is typically not spoken up. “But I never got over it.
Although my understanding of exactly how much trouble I was in grew more specific over time,
as I child I surely understood enough about my condition to know it was something I'd better
keep private.” (A Life In Two Genders, Boylan, 325) Men and women in society are judged on
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their practices, skills, physical appearance and morals. The limits that society builds on us is
what is stopping, in this case, males and females on how to identify themselves.
One of the biggest issues that come with gender roles is the inequality that exists in
between them. These issues reflect on our jobs, wages, and roles inside our homes and family.
On the side of women, they tend to have lower wages and no higher positions despite
knowledge, skills and availability. According to Slaughter, “We may not have choices about
whether to do paid work, as dual incomes have become indispensable. But we have choices
about the type and tempo of the work we do.” (Why women still can’t have it all, 543) The lack
of leadership that still exists for women is outrageous, despite other difficulties that women go
through they still have to show up and do the work. Nowadays, there’s many women that make
fair money for themselves, they get paid the money that they deserve, yet their hard work and
effort can be seen as competitive or insulting to the opposite gender.
Men don’t have it any easier for them. Unfortunately they struggle with many stereotypes
such as being too cold, too rough or careless. Dorment describes “The validation of one's
feelings is the language of therapy, which is to say that it is how we all talk now. This is not to
denigrate the language or the feelings; it is only to say that to use one's feelings as evidence of an
injury is no way to advance a serious cause. And to imply that one has been made to feel any
way at all.” (Why men still can’t have it all, 564) Men struggle with a lot of indifference towards
their feelings. Making them more harsh and less empathic with women. They also don't have as
many opportunities like women do, as Dorment stated "Women who ask for family leave are
behaving in a more gender normative way, compared with men who request a family leave…
Because the concept of work-life balance is strongly gendered.” (569). This is coming from the
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stereotypes that society creates among men and leads to more absent parents, less family
interactions and therefore miscommunications.
People’s perspective towards gender identities and gender roles can only turn positive if
we implement active changes into our societies. Such as normalizing gender identity by giving
equal opportunities to feminine and masculine genders, which is a great way to start a change.
Starting in our homes with children by teaching them equality and ways to empathize with each
other as well, this not only will create a better understanding between genders, it will create a
greater future for them. Schools should put this into practice as well, since education is an
important factor in our lives and in this specific topic education is very important because it
helps build knowledge and helps us become better citizens. Boylan states “All we can do in the
face of this enormous, infinite anguish is to have compassion.” (A life in two genders, 328) By
practicing empathy, compassion and respect this will help us grow as a better society, people will
assimilate more and speak up about their situations.