Gender roles in society: A look at masculinity and femininity Essay Sample

“The Dangers of Femininity” by Lucy Gilbert and Paula Webster discusses gender functions in society. and Messages Men Hear: Constructing Malenesss by Ian Harris discusses specifically the gender functions of work forces. Harmonizing to Gilbert and Webster. “the two-gender system mandates masculine and feminine existences who are unequal. giving one set societal power and the other none. ” ( 41 ) These masculine and feminine qualities are non merely determined by sex. They are defined by the certain features that a individual exhibits. These features are shaped by the civilization of a society. Males and females are encouraged to act by these codifications.

Harris has a similar statement. Harris proposes. “gender function messages set criterions for appropriate male behaviour. ” ( 12 ) These messages are a set of codifications that are given by household members at a immature age. These messages possesses. ” ways of thought. feeling. and responding that form the footing for his universe view” ( Harris. 17 ) . Gilbert and Webster argue that society force per unit areas both genders to act a certain manner and that this established system is in favour of males. but Harris argues that this system can besides hold a negative impact on males.

Although both “The Dangers of Femininity” and Messages Men Hear: Constructing Malenesss discuss the cultural influence of gender functions. they have some conflicting statements on how society specifically forms male behaviours. Gilbert and Webster generalise male gender function as “The Real Man” . The existent adult male “exhibits all the traits of a strong and ego assured individual by being rational. competitory. proud. self-protecting. physically powerful. and sexually attractive” ( 42 ) . Harris. nevertheless. is more specific about male gender function. He classifies gender function in 24 messages and references that there are many other messages work forces receive as good. Some of these messages are considered authoritative because they have been established by society for many coevalss. but there are emerging messages that have appeared in society more late. Harris references that these new messages are non popular with civilization ( 17 ) .

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These emerging messages do non conform to Gilbert and Webster’s definition of “The Real Man” . Some illustrations of these gender functions are labeled as Good Samaritan who does good workss and Acts of the Apostless. nature lover who respects workss. and nurturer who is soft and sensitive. They do non hold with being proud. self-protecting. and physically powerful as is “The Real Man” . The authoritative gender functions. nevertheless. can hold with the definition of “The Real Man” . These authoritative messages are defined as the Playboy who is sexually aggressive. the President who seeks power. and the Sportsman who is physically strong ( 13 ) . Gilbert and Webster generalize the gender function for males. but Harris claims that there are many signifiers of this gender function that is accepted by society and some gender functions that are less favorite. and these gender functions are immensely different.

Although Harris. Gilbert. and Webster disagree on the manner society can organize males. they all agree that it can be harmful to males. Harmonizing to Gilbert and Webster. the gender function for maleness unnaturally creates a sense of good being for males. They claim that society believes. “If a immature male child manages to accomplish maleness. as defined and determined by the civilization. he will happen that the result of being a adult male is to experience good about himself and his work. to experience like a winner” ( 44 ) . Harris acknowledges that society deceives males into believing maleness messages will bring forth this consequence. However. he extends the statement by claiming that these gender functions can be harmful to work forces. He defines this as gender-role emphasis. He gives an illustration by discoursing a Vietnam veteran’s transmutation from a “tough guy” figure to a household adult male after the war. Initially. this individual had a hard clip associating to his household until eventually he had to do some necessary alterations in his behaviour. He realized his “tough guy” features would be uneffective in raising his household. Harris claims that gender function sets criterions which frequently do non suite the true behaviour of an person and a passage in behaviour must be made ( 15 ) . Gilbert. Webster. and Harris agree that the societal concepts cause injury to both genders. However. Harris statement emphasizes the injury done to work forces. and Gilbert and Webster statement emphasizes the injury done to adult females.

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While Harris. Gilbert and Webster argue that both genders are pressured socially to act a certain manner. Deborah Tannin strongly emphasizes that societal force per unit areas purely exist for females. As a linguistics professor at Georgetown University. she defines “marked” in “There is No Unmarked Woman” as an entity that will specify or tie in something that otherwise could non hold significance by itself. The manner a adult females Acts of the Apostless and frocks sends a message to others of the type of individual she is. Minimal differences in the frocks. hair manner. and make-up strongly act upon a person’s judgement of a female. Tannin focuses on the gender functions consequence of physical visual aspect on adult female ( 492 ) .

While Harris does non specifically discuss gender functions in females. Tannin. Gilbert. and Webster discuss these gender functions and both province that it favors work forces. Tannin discusses the day-to-day issues adult female have of taking between what manner of hair. apparels. and places they should have on which could impact the manner people view them. She asserts. “There are 1000s of decorative merchandises from which adult female can take and myriad ways of using them. Yet no make-up at all is anything but unmarked. ” ( 493 ) The besides claims that work forces are unmarked. Merely in the most utmost instances are they considered grade such as have oning a cowpuncher chapeau. hippie denims. or a three piece suite. These day-to-day effects adult female have in their gender functions are of less strength than what Gilbert and Webster claim.

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They discuss assorted categorizations adult females have in society which are defined by behavior non merely visual aspect. They have three categorizations for adult females which are The Princess. The Good Girl. and The Bad Girl. The Princess depends on work forces for her demands. She is considered weak and insecure. The Good Girl is at that place for anyone’s aid. The Bad Girl does non obey the gender function of society. Gilbert and Webster every bit good as Harris agree that adult female are disfavored in society. but Tannen statement focuses on milder facets such as visual aspect and Gilbert and Webster’s focuses on behavioural facets.

Work Cited

Gilbert. Lucy. and Paula Webster. “The Dangers of Femininity. ” The Gender Reader. Ed.

Evelyn Ashton-Jones and Gary A. Olson. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 1991. 39-55.

Harris. Ian M. Messages Men Hear: Constructing Malenesss. London: Taylor & A ; Francis. 1995. 12-19.

Tannen. Deborah. “There Is No Unmarked Woman. ” Signs of Life in the U. S. A. 3rd erectile dysfunction.

Ed. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford. 2000. 490-5.