Gender play such an important role in society. We subconsciously live our lives trying to adhere to these man-made ideas. Gender roles and societies’ expectation are rooted within us at such a young age, provoking unjustified behaviors. In the U.S. we have this dichotomy thinking of male vs female. As time progresses and the way we change socially women have come from underneath their partners and male counterparts and have begun trying to make a name for themselves. With the job field supposedly being suited for both male and female, we notice a change in the way society views both sexes.
From corporate to politics we see that women are gaining more respect each day. But how does society really interpret this change? Gender has become a social problem. Through the readings of Charon, Myra Marx Ferree Lisa Wade, Faulidi and Hochschild I’m able to support my theory that women and men are undermined in everyday society especially work due to their gender roles.
Gender roles that individuals are assigned based on sexual identity.
The idea of Gender itself has become a social problem because the world likes being sexist. Society has been accustomed to believe that one gender is better than one other. Our gender roles make us feel uncomfortable when we go against what is expected of us. In Charon’s readings, he gives us ideas of what and how a social problem affects society. Charon defines a social problem as a problem that “must be social in origin, must be harmful to individuals and harms society in the way we view it”(pg6).
We can classify gender as a social problem because of how it negatively affects society. It causes barriers in the ways we raise children to associate with one another. There’s this whole dynamic of women vs men; dominate vs subordinate; masculinity vs femininity. Men have always had the upper hand. From the beginning of time, we’ve given men the title of providers, leaving women with work associated with the family and household. It has only become a social problem when women have started to search for equality.
Charon states that “values are the cherished beliefs of what is good they people are committed to. Groups develop values as do societies. Individuals are socialized to accept these and most do though some don’t. Sometimes we are punished because we don’t accept the values of people”(5). These ideas coincide with the value of people. In society, we tend to place value on people, based on how well they live up to their gender roles. For some time a woman’s value has only been looked at on a scale of femininity, the ability to breed, how well she did her wifely duties even her virtue. While a man’s value has always been what he could provide monetary wise.Even in the Inequality: Women and Femininities text we see how a man’s value holds a greater standard “Since masculine activities are highly valued, it makes perfect sense that girls would be drawn to them and parents would be proud. (142).This idea of value causes harm to society because people have much more to offer than that. This mindset creates sexism and belittles a person able to do anything. Both women and men should not be prejudged based on anything.
As far as being a social problem, sexism makes it ok to prejudge, to abuse, to mislead, and to dominate. Sexism is the reason why abortion is being ruled by a set of white men. It is the reason why a Dr. won’t tie a woman’s tubes because her husband might want more children but the procedure for a vasectomy doesn’t need the ok of a wife. Sexism classifies people based on their genitals; which in my eyes is just as bad as racism. Sexism in the workplace is why there’s this idea that women are able to sleep their way to the top. A woman has to use her sexual affluence to get ahead instead of hard work. We don’t place a high value on a woman’s ability to work. Be honest as a child did you ever really valued what your mother did or did you see it as Mom doing her job?
Being female means being weak. Sayings like your such a pussy, you hit like a girl, Man up is just examples of how people see femininity as weak. In our culture, this language is used to show how low we think of feminine attributes. Even though women are known to be nurterers we’ve seen time after time that we are capable of doing more than what is expected. In the article Inequalities: Women and Femininity, they used a very successful woman Candace Parker on the cover of ESPN to discuss everything but her success. Even going as far to state “Candace Parker is beautiful, breathtaking really with flawless skin endless legs and a c-cup …she’s nice too. Sweet even.Kind to animals and children”(145).For Candace to have been Rookie of the year and accomplished so much and the front page to not mention any of it displays misogyny; She herself may have not even noticed because its typical of the media to reflect on women appearance only.
Candace is a basketball player that’s her job title but nowhere in the photo is that being showcased. Her work is being over-shadowed by her skin and c-cup breast. This was a subtle attack on how we see a woman’s accomplishments at work; because Basketball is a male-dominated field it wouldn’t have been right to let her get the recognition she deserved. Her sweetness and kindness to animals and children have nothing to do with her actual skill. If the author of this paper bigged her up on her accomplishments if would have turned off men because they are now being threatened by a woman.
The media has a habit of making young women look up to this idealistic version of what a woman is. As a mother of both sexes, I was able to observe how I, myself even fell into this social belief. I allowed my daughter to cry more than her brother, be more creative, do boy and girl things without second guessing my parenting. I also inadvertently prepared her to be a mom. Every year I would purchase a baby with a stroller, and diapers baby food, teaching her how to properly care for a baby at such a young age. I think we all have this idea that women are more fragile. Which is very condescending because growing up moms have a tendency to be harder on their little girls then on their boys. Although once they reach adulthood it seems as though that parenting only causes girls to stay “weak” as boys grow a tough skin.
There is this blurred line of feminity and masculinity. The more you reach the other end of that spectrum the more judged you will be. A woman that’s extremely feminine, petite, pretty, dolled up, sexy has to deal with the backlash or other women judging how she keeps herself together and the gawking or catcalling she will constantly receive from men. These feminine women aren’t taken seriously because they are just that a pretty face. But if you push closer to the other end of that spectrum the masculinity you’re trying to be a man and that comes with names like Butch, dike etc. Being to manly, and aggressive isn’t seen as culturally acceptable.
If men can’t find you attractive and women don’t have a reason to judge you, you become useless. In the article Inequality: Women and Femininities we see this spectrum idea”The requirement that women balance their appropriation of masculine interest, traits, and activities with feminine performance is called the feminine apologetic” (144). The title alone is disrespectful. Women have to often compensate and apologize for being masculine because we don’t want to challenge men. Is it because in all real men know that women are able to do everything they could possibly need to and their roles in society would be obsolete. It seems as though people are afraid to let women explore how powerful they are and that’s why from young we train women to be princess and damsel in distresses.
The war on women is a theory I think we are all too familiar with. Every day women have to not only deal with the judgments of men but also women. We judge each other on their looks, how we raise our children, physical beauty etc. The media plays on this idea in most reality shows showing how women fight over men. The media also plays on the insecurities of women showing us the females we want to be even though it’s not realistic. The ideal woman. We battle against one another on a range of things like light skinned vs dark skin, thick girls vs slim girls, the married vs single, the moms that breastfeed vs the moms that bottle feed. It is honestly sad how we bring each other down, maybe that’s a reason why the male sex is seen as superior, they’re just not as petty.
When women aren’t being petty and catty and actually fighting for one another’s right we call it feminism. In my opinion, as a black women feminism doesn’t hold a light to black women; because feminism social movement that began in 1848 was for white women to free themselves. Black women didn’t begin to get their words heard until the civil rights movement. That right there is itself shows how feminism can be broken up into more sub-genres of classism and racism giving us another reason to look at each other from different ends. We have a hard time looking out for one another. White women voted for Trump that alone speaks volumes. The broke the girl code, making it even harder for us to come together as one. There is already not enough women speaking for women to put someone like him in office sets us all back. Why vote for a man that is trying to take away our right for abortion. Someone that publicly harasses women. I still can’t for the life of me understand why this wasn’t one decision all women could have come together to vote against.
One of my favorite girl quotes is “A man without money is an Am… that stands for Another Man cuz I ain’t staying with no broke man”.An all too familiar lifestyle many women abide by. We have socially constructed men to be providers. Men are supposed to be the head of households. They’re supposed to be able to pay bills, raise their boys into men, scare off their daughters boyfriends, own a toolbox and be able to be their homes personal handyman.No one ever questions a mans ability to have children or how good he looks physically.lets be honest the most unkept men seen to find their Melana’s. This causes another problem in society the hyper-masculinity.
This stereotypical behavior, all men must be strong, fearless, aggressive and sexually attracted to the bodies of women. It wasn’t until after this class that I understood why certain behaviors were ok for men. The way they gawked at women, their un-emotional tendencies in relationships and inability to relate to women, even personally to me their ability to be deadbeat fathers and not crave that paternal connection to their children. We ok these behaviors because they are the social norms. Social norms are the same reason why when a woman is unable to take care of her child shes’s provided with government assistance but a man will be thrown in jail for missed child support payments. Sexism goes against both genders depending on the situation.
We expect way too much from both women and men. From women is the idea of being perfect and for men, it’s the expectation to provide. “What passes for the essence of masculinity is being extracted and bottled and sold back to men. Literally in the case of viagra”(246).Even with sex, we expect women to hold their virtue while men are supposed to have sex with a lot of women. Giving men this godly like expectant becomes a social problem because not all men are capable of providing for their families and it is not due to their personal laziness. We have globalization, institutionalized racism and many other factors that attribute to a man’s lack of power.
After reading The Betrayal of the American Man we start to wonder if the hypermasculinity is as good as it sounds. Is being the “Man” all its cracked up to be.”The man controlling his environment is today the prevailing American image of masculinity” (243). But what happens when the man cannot control his environment and is not able to provide is he even still a man? When that idea of the American Dream is no longer attainable. The American Dream itself has also become a social problem because of its unattainable store. It is no one mans problem but ultimately a social problem. The world itself shifted due to globalization and outsourcing. Regardless as to how this has helped Corporations its in society it negatively affected families. Globalization, outsourcing, classism, racism these ideas have stopped men from doing what they were intended to do all along provide. We currently have professors in the school that gained their education but are homeless; some of these men have families.
Not only does this affect a mans ability to provide it gives women the one up to have to help in ways we weren’t all too familiar with. As we seen in The Mask We Live In we saw how young men were shaped to be tough, aggressive and the leaders. Men who didn’t fit this description were bullied and left to be by themselves. Families don’t even welcome the boys in the family not living to the social structure of what a boy is supposed to be. If a young boy had feminine features or behaviors he’s not a man. Why is a society so hypocritical about girls acting like boys but against boys acting like a girl. If it is so okay for women to do a mna’s work at what point would it be ok to pay them the same wage. Most importantly take sexual harassment seriously in the workplace.
Gender roles affect work because we allow that role to take o our identities. Work has ideally been something you’re supposed to enjoy. It’s supposed to pay the bills and sometimes give people a purpose. Unfourtanelt as a lot of things do work is losing its value. We are no longer able to use our work to give us what we need. Working is a good way of knowing yourselves, of doing something you can be proud to feed that masculinity. It helps us shape our identity. The same as women are proud when they are pregnant; because that is apart of their identity of being a woman, it fulfills their gender destinies. Bringing women into the workforce has given women a new meaning of being a woman; Women working challenger the male identity. It insults their identity of whom they are supposed to be. A lot of men just aren’t comfortable with having women as their bosses, it’s not that they’re sexist they just feel all too superior to let a woman be the leader. It’s not adhering to gender roles.
Gender causes work to be a social problem. Stereotypes generally cause sex discrimination in the workplace so often are used to the way things are we don’t question them. Those same catcalling male dominant behavior cannot be tolerated, those behaviors are linked to sexual harassment or discrimination. With women in the workforce adhering to jobs like teachers and caretakers their salaries are usually low-income. Even though these jobs require some type of training or degree. In opposite while male dominates careers like STEM, Medical, Corporate and Politics seem to have no problem when it comes to paying. Leaving a lot of work to become unmeaningful.
Equality in the workplace would also help with how work has lost its meaning,because a lot of jobs have just become nothing but jobs. There’s even the notion that after a woman has a baby shes able to stay home with pay. Maternity leave is our god given right as a woman to bond with our children after birth. Paternity leave, on the other hand, has tricks to it. There’s usually a work policy in place, you must be working at the place for a certain amount of time and sometimes your insurance policy won’t cover you if you decide to go off on paternity leave and there is no short-term of leave policy. Hindering the sole provider’s income. Other then woman fighting for the rights of maternity leave there’s no men really fighting for their rights to stay home with their new babies. But who do you complain to when you are “both the oppressors and the oppressed,”.)247. This world gives men the ability to feel superior to women at al times.
In conclusion, we can see that both sexes have a ways to go to get what they need for one another. I believe that when my kids are gown my daughter will still be expected to attain her beauty, take care of children all the while working and my son will still be looked at as an unemotional atm. And if either child strays away from that social norms that might be ostracized or not be able to fulfill the social norms society has set. How could we possible fix sexism..you cant. There will always be something to make one feel superior to the next. We will still need to fight for equal pay, equal seats in politics the dismissal of the pink tax. We are still making strides to give women accommodations of places to put their milk after breastfeeding.
Still making strides to earn seats in politics, to have our sexuality preferences taken seriously and not an oversexualized scene from a porn. To fix this social problem off gender we would have to fix the way we raise the next generation. Make men understand women are not objects used for sex, but how could we possibly do that when so many cultures and religions are based on men being dominant. Even most of your Gods are a man that require women to keep their virginity and cover their heads. How do we expect men to respect women as their equal when the holiest doesn’t.