Aaron Devor in, “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender,” argues that gender is a performance. He supports his argument by recognizing how society rewards, tolerates or punishes conformity to or divergence from social norms (widely accepted behaviors set by society). If a male fails to fall into his expected characterization of dominance and aggression or a female fails to act out in passivity and submission, they are at high risk of societal punishment.
Michael Messner and Jeffrey Montez de Oca explain that contemporary beer ads represent a desirable male lifestyle to reaffirm masculinity in a time when men are insecure. Their essay, “The Male Consumer as a Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events,” goes on to list the reasons for their insecurities: historic and cultural shifts such as deindustrialization, declining real value of wages, feminists and sexual minorities. They support their main point by providing a window to the past as beer ads of the 1950s depicted a desirable lifestyle that was appropriate for post war style of living. By following the transitions of beer ads from the 1950s to now, we could follow the accepted lifestyles of the times during which the ad was made.
Devor’s essay informs Messner and Montez de Oca’s essay in the way that Devor describes the early stages of development while Messner and Montez de Oca describe the effect and development of earlier gender socialization. Devor simply states a well known fact that all males are first boys and then men, while all females are first girls and then women (141). Society has an expectation of appropriate behavior for each stage of life that Devor depicts. Children learn what these expectations are at an early age and will continue to learn deeper into the expectations as they grow old.
Children’s developing concepts of themselves as individuals are necessarily bound up in their need to understand the expectations of the society of which they are a part. As they develop concepts of themselves as individuals they do so while observing themselves as reflected in the eyes of others. (Devor 142)
Messner and Montez de Oca’s essay informs the reader of a four dominant gender themes. Two of the gender themes are losers and buddies. The “Loser” is a loner, a male who can’t or chooses to not follow the generally accepted ways of...