Most of us hear about traditional gender roles, but what are traditional gender roles? What does gender roles truly mean? ‘The role or behavior learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms.” (oxforddictionaries.com) There are traditional gender roles in almost all cultures worldwide and have existed throughout history. The traditional gender roles might influence us positively and negatively as we live and have grown within our society.
The traditional gender roles may vary from culture to another and might even change in the same culture as time goes by.
There are expectations and roles, which are expected to be met by the proper gender in certain cultures; for example, men in a traditional culture are expected to be able to find work and be the main source of income for the household. Women on other hand are expected to know about the housework. These expectations were normal in most cultures at certain time but not anymore; for example, in the United States both the husband and wife are expected to equally share financial and housekeeping responsibilities together to some extent.
While other cultures are and still have the same expectations in a traditional culture; for example, in Qatar most citizens still have to meet the same expectations like the traditional culture mentioned earlier and are expected to follow the same traditional life styles set by their ancestors. Traditional gender roles play a huge part in shaping a culture, like their way of thinking or what they expect from the other gender and vice-versa.
The affect or influence might be positive or might be negative. The effect also depending on how we were influenced; for example, if someone within a society has been raised in a very strict environment where women are meant to be in the home and not working outside like men, as it might have a negative effect on their way of thinking to some extent. Cultures may vary as well as what traditional gender roles stand for in each culture and what are the expectations that are expected to be met.
Most people within a society have been influenced by their traditional gender roles in positive ways as well as in negative ways. Having traditional gender roles in a society has been thought to help in making the appropriate characteristics for that gender whether they were men or women. Men are expected to be able to have a source of income for themselves, as well as for their families, and be the sole provider for the household. Women are expected to know how to cook, look after children, and do housework. Those were the traditional gender roles in almost any culture; however, some cultures may still have them, while others abandoned that type of lifestyle. Although I was not around to see these types of traditional gender roles, my grandmother has explained to me that this was how men and women were supposed to function in the early 1900’s. Nowadays I believe that it is more of an equal effort on both ends to provide a steady income, provide for the family, and take care of the children in the house.
Many people believe that the social gender gap is not evident in today’s society, but I personally believe it is still apparent. On the other side of that, is the argument that gender is a part of our culture integrated into our being and does in fact give men an edge. ‘Gender is a social structure that has its origins in the development of human culture, not in biology or procreation….As is true of other institutions genders history can be traced, its structure examined, and its changing effects researched’.(Werbach 1992)
In conclusion, Gender equality has been a social concern since man has step foot on earth. When we think of gender equality discrimination is the first thought, which comes to mind. Gender Roles by definition are the social norms that dictate what socially appropriate male and female behavior is. The argument begins between these two sides in which the stated gender roles in society are they fair on both sides or do they in fact discriminate against the two sexes. Men are taught to be patient in times of stress and women are taught to be helpless and needy. This is how our society expects men to behave. Maybe, in the near future as a culture we will use gender transcendence, in which as a people we will abandon our ‘assigned’ gender idea, so that other aspects of life become separated and gender free.