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Gender Codes Are Not Natural
There are arguments that gender roles are natural and are not influenced by the society. Because of this, male and female alike are supposed to behave in ways that are appropriate for each group. However, a close look at evidences against this claim shows gender codes are not natural for both male and female.
In order to understand more about the problems that stem from the assumptions of natural gender coding, defining this term would be necessary, which can be defined as the cultural expectations enforced on male and females in order to behave in ways that are considered appropriate for each group. For example, the female is perceived to be gentle, kind, warm hearted, patient, submissive among the like. On the other hand, the male is perceived to be self reliant, tough, dominant, protective and independent.
One evidence that gender code is not natural is that women are competent women in the work place and at decision making although many people assume that they are weak (ABC News 2012). Because of this, women are treated unequally either at home, at the work place or even at the social places. This is somewhat existence in the government where women are not given the same rights as men in many states. For example, in the work place most organizations are moving according to the traditional rules where women are not allowed to be in the top managerial positions. This form of the analyzed concept is quite demoralizing especially when women shares the same education as men or are even more educated than men. A research organization in the U.S. reported of the effects of gender stereotypes in the workplace where they argued that this may pose some serious threats in the women’s career (Puri 2011). Thus this undermines the capacity of women to lead in many organizations where they are taken as care takers while their counterparts are taken as the ones in charge. This is very devastating considering that women can work well and can offer right judgments when given the chance.
One determiner of gender codes is the society that we live in since from the day a person is born, messages on gender role are put in the minds of the born children, and the children are able to learn these things in a number of ways. The best example is the color coding that comes immediately after birth where girls are bought pink dresses and toys to play with. They depict the feminine trait that should be associated with the young baby who is not yet in a position to know anything around her. On the other hand, boys are bought the toys that are meant to create their masculinity and strengthen them as times goes by. On the TVs, there are messages associated with gender role like the fashion shows, books on women, marketing and the like. This shows us just how the society encourages gender roles and that it is something the society have created. It is the society that encourages people to fit in the new culture that had not otherwise been born in the individual.
One scholar that agrees with this is Devor who argues on gender role and behavior where he strongly believes that the society has done a lot in determining the gender behaviors and roles, and he argues that the society is the one that helps in establishing gender identity (Knoblock 2008). The best way to describe this is through how women are forced to slim in order to have a model figure. Such women's decisions on anorexia and Bulimia are very much influenced by the society. Besides this, the society goes on influencing the consequences of these behaviors. The society encourages unhealthy habits by doing this just because they have been imposed with the belief that they should have a certain image that the society advocates. For example, women feel that they need to have a tiny waist, a slender face, big boobs, and arms that are stick like. Because of what the society has imposed on them, they forget the beauty that comes from inside them. These women carry on this culture to their children: where they impose rules on what the girls should eat or should wear to look like a woman or to look more feminine. The same behavior is imposed on boys, who they require to be hardy and more masculine.
The second evidence is the fact that women can perform well in sports although many think that this is a game of men. Whereas people argue that sports acts as a determiner of gender roles and are a way of gender development. In respect to this, some authors argue that sport as a game was created by men for men. However, some take this very far by prohibiting women from competing in this game since they too have their own rights (Messner 1992). Those who argue like such says that sports are used to sustain the role of gender in the society, and those women should play the role they are supposed to play. The argument that sports were created by men shows how men created sports to show or to bring out their masculinity that is not natural. In most cases, we see women excelling better than men in some sports. For instance, today, we have female boxers who do well in boxing and can even out do some men. We even have women who can perform well in sports like football and basketball.
Another evidence gender codes are not natural is based on the way people view men in taking care of their families. While many people hold that men cannot take care of children, we see many single men opting to stay with their children after a divorce or when the partner dies.
However, on the other hand, gender roles are natural and not created by the society or other outside influences. It is not wrong to argue that things like sports only come to influence or to build on what is already in born. Sports only come to expand on men’s masculinity, which would help them in separating themselves from their females equals. A good example of this is explained by Gibson in Warrior Dreams: Violence and Manhood in Post-Vietnam America where he argues that men fought the feminist movement by turning into their own imaginations. After the Vietnam War and the loss associated with it, the researcher notes, the men had to reorganize the disorganized gender roles where they created a new “culture”, which saw the emergence of characters like Rambo, Dirty Harry and Jack Ryan, who were violent in order to satisfy the created culture of fighting. Essentially, this is what men could identify with, and they took priority in and to regain their selves. It is like the scholar is arguing that gender roles are something within me, something that is not artificial and if they lose their masculinity, men will always do whatever thing it is to regain it. That is why characters like Rambo and Dirty Harry had to be created for bringing back the identity that had been lost and taken away by the ever growing women's movement (Gibson 1994).
However, based on the arguments and the counter arguments, gender codes seems to be influenced more by the society as opposed to them being natural. While a child is born, he or she is usually not aware of how he should behave since the child has not interacted with the society. Nevertheless, it is after interacting with the parents and the society that the child starts identifying with one gender and not the other. For example, when a boy is brought up together with girls, he tends to adopt some feminine behavior. On the other hand, when a girl is brought up together with a boy, she adopts the behaviors of the boys if there is no one to correct her.
In conclusion, gender codes are not natural but are determined by the external factors like the society, religions, politics and others. Evidences from daily lives of men and women shows that both can perform well in areas thought to be that of the other group like women and sports.
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