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Artistic Themes from Ancient Cultures Essay

The role a man plays in society, as well as the role a woman plays in society is referred to as a gender role. A gender role can include, but is not limited to a person’s status, position, behavior, and activities that is deemed fitting for the sex of that person. Men and women’s roles are very different and have always been that way. It is expected by society that men and women have diverse principles and attitudes. The fact that certain behavior is logically linked to the gender of the person is confronted by the social aspect that is mirrored by behavior. Role is such a broad word with different understandings, one meaning powerfully characterized. On the other hand the term gender role refers to history and culture. Gender roles do change with time. Roles have changed drastically over time.

Dependent on the background or culture of people, one should know that gender roles can be clarified in a number of ways. In earlier times it was normal for the woman to stay at home and care for the home and the children but now that have changed. Women these days are working just like the man. However in some cultures it is still tradition that the woman stay home and take care of the house. Those particular cultures think it is just not right for women to be independent or provide for their own family. In some cultures people are still against women voting or having the same rights as men. But in the culture I live in, men and women share equal rights which includes, but is not limited to the right to vote. “The measurement of gender role identity typically focuses upon personality traits (e.g., agentic versus communal), with individuals indicating on a paper-and-pencil survey the degree to which each trait provides a true description of themselves (Lenton, 2004).”

In Rome, they believed in their gender roles. According to the men of Rome, the women were very weak individuals who needed male guidance and protection. The role of protector and guide was first played by the father of the woman and then the husband. If, by chance something happened to the husband, another man would be appointed to take on this role. If a woman bared three children or more she was no longer required to be under the guidance of a man, she is now unrestricted. According to Fiero (2011), “women had traditional occupations in food and textile production and prostitution, but women were also known to hold positions as musicians, painters, priestess, midwives, and even gladiators. In Rome, marriages were put together based on the person’s social status. A gift, identifying the social status of the bride was given to the groom from the bride’s father. Not knowing the social status brought about many problems. “Infidelity was on the rise in married women, divorce was becoming more common, and it was not uncommon for the second and third marriages to come about in men and women (Fiero, 2011).” The differences in the gender roles were very obvious.

In the earlier Roman years women were only allowed to drink grape juice. They were not permitted to drink wine at all. When women attended dinner parties they were not allowed to lounge around, however the men were. The slaves did most of the manual labor so women had very little to do, if anything. The gender roles of the Romans were totally different from the Greeks. Work was shared by both men and women but were separated centered on their gender. Women were given the option to own land alongside with the men. “Both men and women stayed active in the economy among families that ran small shops or workshops (Sutton, 2013).” Jobs with low pay were offered to the women who did want to work. Once the Greek women starting a family, they would stop working outside of the home. Today, women are allowed to work after starting a family. “Regardless of origin, it is important to convey that gender roles are neither static nor invariant (Lenton, 2004).” As the years passed, gender roles have dropped. The modern lifestyles that are created now have transformed the aspect of gender roles. There are more women in the workplace than ever before. Women are now just as equal as men.


Lenton, A. P. (2004). Gender Roles. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/worldsocs/gender_roles

Fiero, G.K. (2011). The Humanistic Tradition (5th ed.). New York City, New York: McGraw-Hill.Sutton,

S.B. (2013). Culture of Greece. Retrieved from http://www.everyculture.com/gelt/greece/html

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