Gender Roles And Their Effects On Modern America

1805 words - 8 pages

It’s better for everyone if the man earns the money and the woman takes care of the children. This statement is agreed with by 42% of men and 39% of women in America and is an excellent example of a gender role. Gender roles are societal constructs that are harmful, have a negative effect on American society and should not exist.
The definition of a gender role is a set of social and societal norms that are thought of as appropriate. Gender roles can vary within different societies and cultures. Gender roles are a social construct and are based only on stereotypes about gender. Gender stereotypes are commonly held ideas about characteristics that are believed to be appropriate for men and ...view middle of the document...

Traditional gender roles came to America with the colonists. They were rarely present in Native American societies, which had completely different perceptions of gender and gender roles than western societies. Some native societies such as the Hopi were even matriarchies. Religion has had and still has a large influence on how gender is viewed in America. Regular church goers typically have more conservative ideas about gender than those who rarely go to church or go to a nontraditional church. This also has to do with many religions having a patriarchal basis.
Some examples of traditional American gender roles and stereotypes for women are that women are weaker and more sensitive than men, women stay at home, and women are the more submissive gender. Women are not the only people subjected to stereotypes, although they are more likely to be stereotyped than men are. A few examples of stereotypes against men are that they are the breadwinners of the house, that they are obsessed with sex, and that they are more aggressive than women. Gender stereotyping is also seen in sexist double standards. Almost always in sexist double standards the word associated with women has negative connotations while the word associated with men has positive ones. Some examples of sexist double standards are: if a woman is involved in a lot of sexual activity she's considered a slut but if a man does the same he's a stud; if a woman is in charge she’s "pushy" but if a man is the same he's outgoing; when a woman has children but still works she's selfish but when a man does the same he's dedicated.
Because of gender roles and biases that state that women are inferior to men, women often have lower self-esteem than men and they sometimes think of themselves as less important than men. American society's expectations for women cause them to underestimate their ability to perform many tasks, especially ones considered to be stereotypically masculine. Women make up more than 90% of people who have eating disorders, which is often attributed to gender roles such as that women need to be "perfect".
Most societies (including America) are patriarchal (male dominated). In patriarchal societies men benefit from gender roles as gender roles are put in place by men, for men. American society's expectations for the ways in which men should act based off of traditional masculine gender roles hinder man men's ability to see themselves as non-violent, caring and responsible people. Men who rigidly adhere to masculine gender roles have been linked to increased levels of negative attitudes towards women, increased aggression, and sexist views towards women. Risk taking and violent behavior in order to put forth a sense of authority are gender roles commonly placed upon men in America. This leads to an increased amount of violence perpetrated by men. Many perpetrators of domestic and relationship abuse believe and conform to traditional gender roles and stereotypes. One of the most...

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