Gender Roles or Gender Rules?
What are gender roles? According to (Boundless Psychology, 16 Feb. 2016)
“Gender roles are based on norms, or standards, created by society. In the U.S., masculine roles are usually associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles are associated with passivity, nurturing, and subordination.”
You may not realize it but your own gender roles have been influenced since the day you were born, and for some of us as early as when we were in our mother’s womb. Now I would ask who remembers their first outfit but I’m almost positive most of you don’t remember unless you seen a picture. But that is not my point what I’m trying to say is that if you were a girl you were most likely dressed with the color pink or the color blue if you were a boy.
The way we communicate has a big impact on Gender roles and simply by using words that are more inclusive we are making sure no one is being left behind. Therefore, by doing this and many other things to put an end to gender roles we will open endless doors for individuals to do whatever they desired without having to worry about what roles they should be following.
To start of we need to understand that gender roles are influenced by many things around us from society, media to even the music you listen to.
However according to Susan D. Witt, Ph.D’University of Akron (1997)
“The strongest influence on gender role development seems to occur within the family setting, with parents passing on, both overtly and covertly, to their children their own beliefs about gender.”
Parents have the responsibility to teach their children how to walk, talk, eat etc. But they also teach their children what it means to be a boy or a girl based on how they themselves were raised.
In my opinion most parents believe that if their son plays with Barbie’s that their son will most likely come out gay. If a boy likes to play with Barbie's the parents should them because that’s what makes their son happy. Any individual has the right to their own pursuit of happiness as stated in The Declaration of Independence.
“From that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty and the spirit of happiness.” The Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson (July 4, 1776)
Now I understand that it is hard to break from these habits as parents mostly because you want to make sure your kids don't get taunted from societies thoughts. Children learn by seeing their parents participate in particular gender roles which will later affect them in the long run which will in result lead their kids to have close mindsets and will limit their possibilities of living a successful life.
Toys also have a big influence on Gender Roles, that's why we should have gender free toys.
Gender free toys
Toys are a big influence on society because we grow up being segregated, think about it… if you were a girl you most likely had a little cooking set with Barbie's and if you were a boy you most likely played with cars and a dinosaur. The toys each gender uses affects the way they will see the world in the future. Being a girl we automatically want to look a certain way. In most cases girls look at Barbie’s and believe that they need to have blue eyes, blonde hair, and a small waist in order to be considered an “attractive women” boys on the other hand have to have muscles and have to have the best car to be the “attractive man” But obviously that’s not true but that’s what these toys make us believe. This mindset starts developing when you’re just a kid. Just visit your local toy store and you’ll see how different girl and boy toys are from one another. In the boy section you can find Legos, action figures, wheel cars and toolkits. Notice how most of these toys are not teaching boys how to do housework or to be nurturing. Some great skills boys lack due to not getting out of their comfort zone.
Thankfully today things are finally changing and according to an article in The New York Times, Jan Hoffman (January 10, 2011) There are children’s picture books like “My Princess Boy” and “10,000 Dresses,” and books for parents like “Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children.” These are great gender free books that can help kids realize that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to play with the opposite sex toys. In addition, the brands like Lego, Barbie, and other countless companies are making gender free toys and target has now stopped categorizing toys for boys and girls.
Magazine ads have been portraying what men and women should look and act like since the beginning of time. Most ads try to convey a certain image, of men looking mysterious, strong, dangerous, attractive but us women are constantly approached as a sexual object because they show us in parts. Unlike men, women have been portrayed to be seen as sexual objects “playboy” is the perfect example gender roles have made people believe women are only good for sexual pleasing or that we can’t be strong or dangerous. The sad part of this is when women do step out of their 'boundaries' we are automatically seen as ‘psycho or crazy’. Woman are as strong as men and if not stronger. We give birth for crying out loud AND we have to deal with our monthly visits from mother nature. We have lots of strength and frankly women do not get enough credit for it, women are being underestimated, you try popping a kid out of your private parts, I’ll tell you this much it’s not easy or painless.
We need to stop letting these ads influence the way we look at each other. That way we won’t let society label us any longer. I’m reaching out to everyone here that we must stop telling each other what we can or cannot do and fight for gender equality which will benefit all of us in the long run. Having gender equality without labeling women and men will bring great things to the world such as more acceptance, and give individuals numerous of opportunities.