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Gender Roles and Expectations

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Many people don’t know the difference between gender and sex. Sex is anatomical and biological. Gender roles are expectations of how a person should act, dress, and talk based on our sex. The majority of people conform to those roles very early on, but sometimes the line blurs between femininity and masculinity. Who’s to say that just because you are male you have to act manly and if you are female you must be girly? The media, for one.

It’s obvious that there is no clear, solid line between masculinity and femininity, but not for the media. It likes to show men who are strong, athletic, and independent. They have commercials for men that are rather neutral in emotion, or with fast-paced action. When have you ever seen a commercial in which the man is showing any sign of femininity, that wasn’t meant as a joke? There are, however, ads that show women being athletic and independent. Most of what the media says about women is that they are nice, pretty, delicate, and they wear their emotions on their sleeves.

As we grow older, both sexes endure an incredible amount of pressure from the media to fit into their gender roles. If men show any feminine traits they are considered weak and are often not taken seriously. Have you noticed that society is more lenient on girls if they don’t conform to gender roles than boys? Girls can be “tomboys”, but that’s not necessarily negative, while “sissy” and “pansy” are used as insults for boys. This just isn’t right.

Can we as a whole stop this? I don’t think so, not completely anyway. We can’t stop the media from pressuring our everyday lives. That’s why we need to demonstrate that there are other “alternate” ways of expressing ourselves. This should star at home and work its way to the media. We need to be open! We shouldn’t suppress other’s personalities from coming out. Diversity is what makes life great.



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