Gender Roles in Society
Gender role is a commonly discussed subject in society. Gender role simply defined is a person's inner sense of how a male or female should feel and behave. Society and culture are also very important in relation to this subject. This means different societies and cultures may produce children and later, grown men and women, who have quite different views of a man or a woman's place in the world around them, often determined by their culture's gender stereotypes. These topics will be explained and compared to each other later on. How to implement a gender free childcare environment will also be discussed.
Children begin to learn their gender roles at a very young age. Boys must learn what boys and men do, what they like, and even how they think and feel. Females do likewise as they learn the roles for girls and women. This is called gender stereotyping. When children seem already aware of differences between what men and women wear and do, then children are deeply involved in this search for these "rules," and later on can often apply gender-specific labels to toys, activities, types of work around the home, and even adult occupations. This how the children, since they were born, step-by-step came to learn their gender roles.
We see gender roles and the results of gender stereotyping around us every day in the society. In our homes, there are often certain tasks that are usually carried out by a man - cutting the lawn, for example, or fixing a broken washing machine - and others, like the bulk of the cooking and the washing up - that often are almost always done by the woman. The stories we watch on TV and in the movies often follow exactly the divisions of sexual roles that so many cultures have taught since ancient times. Evidently, there have been changes recently: female kung-fu stars have been around for a long time but now very "feminine" stars like Halle Berry also play action roles. However, our children and we still mainly see very traditional gender roles portrayed in the entertainment media that influence us so much. For example, the plot in very few television shows or movies would have the woman go out to fight the bad guys while the man stayed home to make sure the kids went to bed on time.
Now let's compare some differences between gender roles in traditional Chinese and Canadian culture.
During the important early developmental years, when children are "learning" their gender roles and how to be, think and act as a girl or a boy, a young Chinese girl will be taught, often cruelly, that her value to the family is less than a male's. She will do chores around the house, while her brother may not help at all, and she will see this sexual division of labor carried out by her parents and other siblings. Her father will often devote much greater attention to her brother, talking to him from a very young age about such "male" subjects as business and going out in the world. He will be...