?Society’s Expectation on Gender Roles A man coming back from work, expecting dinner to be served when he reached home and it’s taken as the wife’s responsibility to fulfill her husband’s expectation. This scenario is the common stereotype of the roles of husband and wife but in today’s society, it is slowly changing. The definition of gender role is the overt expression of attitudes that indicate to others the degree of your maleness or femaleness. Society has assigned gender roles that the two sexes are expected to fulfill.
The picture at the top shows an exaggerated photo of the expectation on gender roles in today’s society. Let’s take a look at the man, it shows that he is big, strong, and tough. His posture shows that he is confident and self-importance. He has a big smile on his face which means that he is happy with himself. The most important thing about him in the picture is his attire which is a life guard; it implies that only big and strong men are able to save lives. On the other hand, the woman is gloomy and unattractive.
She is holding a math test with an F result which indicates that she is bad in math and there are several infant around the female and she is holding a pot with milk bottles inside which implies that it’s her job is to care of the babies. The female is unattractive due to her constant care for the babies and the house chores. The characteristics of gender roles today described previously are cultivated from the past. Women in the past had less privileges compared to men.
For example, in Virginia Woolf’s “Shakespeare’s Sister” (1929), she writes, “Here I am asking why women did not write poetry in the Elizabethan age, and I am not sure how they were educated; whether they were taught to write…” (844). What that statement meant is that only men were able to attend school during the Elizabethan age and they were the one who were able to climb the social ladder. It shows the superiority of men and the difference in expectation between men and women.
Here is another example from Woolf’s text, “Shakespeare himself went, very probably – his mother was an heiress – to the grammar school, where he may have learnt Latin – Ovid, Virgil, and Horace – and the elements of grammar and logic…. That escapade sent him to seek his fortune in London. ” (844). From that sentence it shows that as a man, Shakespeare has the opportunity to go to school and is allowed to leave his hometown to pursue his career while women would not have had such opportunities.
From these two statements, it is shown that in the past, male and female are expected to play contrasting roles which was man goes to school and earns money while female take cares of the house. That relates to the picture where the man is out saving lives while the woman take cares of the babies and the picture is from present times therefore, that particular role in the past might have shape today’s expectation on gender roles. There are certain jobs that are expected from different genders. According to US Census Bureau, the most male employed jobs in 2006 were Pipe layers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters with 98. % male while the most female employed jobs were Secretaries and Administrative Assistants with 97. 7% female. With these statistics, it is shown that there were jobs that would employ individual base on gender because those jobs are expected to done better if he or she was a man or woman. In Margaret Mead’s “Sex and Temperament” in (1935), she writes that in some societies, “defined roles are mainly expressed in dress or occupation”(860) which implies that certain jobs are expected either more male employees or female employees in some societies.
Well, those are just expectations from a male and female but it does not mean that all men and women go according to those expectations in today’s society. For example, women are expected to stay home and take care of the children and cook for the family but there are many modern families that both husband and wife work and would let the day care center take care of their children and there are even those families with the wife working whilst the husband stays home and cook and take care of the children.
Women these days are able to dress like a man and it is consider normal but in the past each gender have their own assigned attire and if one were to cross-dressed it would be inappropriate. According to Mead, “each tribe has certain definite attitudes towards temperament, a theory of what human beings, either men or women or both, are naturally like, a norm in terms of which to judge and condemn those individuals who deviate from it. ” (861). She implies that in society, men and women are raised according to present needs in society therefore she would agree to the change because it benefits ociety. Although things are starting to change, there are still certain characteristics expected from each gender like the picture shown. There are still people promoting gender roles with terms like “be a man” or “man up” which is suggesting that man are supposed to be tough. To really start moving away from these gender roles, individuals should stop promoting the traditional gender roles. Annotated Work Cited Mead, Margaret. “Sex and Temperamant. ” A Worlds of Ideas. 8th Ed. Jacobus, Lee A. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2010. 855-870. Print.
This text writes about three different culture and their gender roles in their society. It examined if gender roles are nature or nurture. United States. Census 2000 Special Equal Employment Opportunity. “Occupational Employment by Gender. ” US Census Bureau, 2006. Web. 13 May 2012. http://www. dlt. ri. gov/lmi/pdf/gender. pdf This web shows the statistics of occupations by gender. Woolf, Virginia. “Shakespeare’s Sister. ” A Worlds of Ideas. 8th Ed. Jacobus, Lee A. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2010. 837-852. Print. This text writes she examined the question if the current and historical patterns of oppression were to continue.