main idea: double standards created by “gender roles” and stereotypes.
This link (and a google search) and you’ll get the gender-neutral definition of the phrase: what is okay for one person to do, should be good for another. But the “goose” is the female and the “gander” is the male, so the real meaning here is that whatever benefits the woman, also benefits the man. Or, in southern terms, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.”
Thing is, gender roles are inherited via the patriarchy and many (if not all) have no basis in physical, mental, or emotional truisms. So we’re going to talk about that tonight, since it’s Women’s History Month and anyone thinking, “when is it men’s history month?” the answer is, “literally every other month. Even February.”
So, gender roles are the social expectations for how individuals are supposed to dress, act, speak, and conduct themselves based on their assigned sex. For example, females are expected to be accommodating and nurturing – motherly – simply because they are women.
This study organizes those characteristics into two categories:
1) agency: assertiveness, independence, instrumental competence, leadership competence, and
2) communality: concern for others, sociability and emotional sensitivity
The challenge with gender role stereotypes is that they are broad – general – and rarely apply in their entirety to any single individual. Because individuals are unique. As early as we recognize the social “norm” gender roles, we also experience negative consequences for refusing to conform to them. This article talks about the gender reinforcement, punishing, and modeling that perpetuates the roles.
- What are some traditional gender roles in place in your home?
- What are some non-traditional gender roles in your home?
- Are gender roles limiting (dangerous?)? If so, how?
- How do you talk to your children about gender roles?
- Does the recent social media rejection of gender as social concept play a part in your family conversations?
Gender role reinforcement is a patriarchal technique to maintain a male-dominated social structure. This article talks about the negative effects of strict patriarchal reinforcement on both girls and boys, in terms of identity, relationships, and even self worth and future mental health.
- Is there a sense of “the patriarchy” in your house? How is it treated? How is it discussed?
- What’s the answer? Should we reject patriarchy in all its iterations? Recognizing the poison of assigning superiority to one gender based solely on a characteristic they cannot take blame for? Or should we work within this dominant (default) system and just try to raise better humans regardless of gender/role?
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