Breaking Gender Expectations: A Critical Analysis of Societal Norms

Categories: Gender

Society frequently expects particular kind of habits from everybody. However in the big picture, this habits is only based upon what type of sex you are and what your responsibility according to your sex. In today's society, we have discrimination; high expectations and a set of norms that in a lot of cases only use or are strictly apply in one gender only. So all of this leads us to the concern: Are gender expectations still common in this present day?

In the brief story, Who you callin' a lady? The author Kathleen Deveny discusses how females are supposed to act according to society.

In this narrative, the reader can see how a soccer gamer works as an example of what is thought about to be an "antiwomen" behavior. Elizabeth Lambert, shows a rough and a very aggressive behavior on the field. However is this habits really various or rare for a woman? Society has the concept that females are to be kind, warm hearted, caring and sweet, however in truth women are humans with feelings and passions, simply like the rest of us.

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Feelings, that requirement to be revealed and released whether it is by hitting and fighting; usually how anger is revealed. However Lamber, as mentioned before is a soccer player, soccer is a contact sport that easily produces a continuous amount of human contact that in events can escalate and get a bit aggressive, but it is due to the fact that of the level at which the sport is being played and the enthusiasm behind it.

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To many spectators, they might think that soccer might just be a sport, in which the objective is to get a ball into a goal, but to the players it's much more than just a game with an objective, to most it's their life; it's what they've learned and known to do since they were little, what they have sacrificed many things in life to accomplish, what they have trained night and day and extremely hard for. It's a dream that they made a reality, with all these emotions in mind, one can better understand the sport and some of the "rough play" that goes on. According to Deveny “the difference is that we expect bad behavior from men” (Deveny 258). This quote illustrates how that the idea of men fighting and being aggressive is normal according to society. But who decided that expressing emotions is a character that only men are allowed to have and display? Maybe this idea stems from the characteristics such as caring; loving and helping that are represented and reflected in our mothers. Like Deveny says, “we want women to be honest, compassionate, and nice-you know, like our moms” (Deveny 258).

Society's view agree with Deveny's quotes, that because our mothers, aunts, grandmothers and every woman, shares these characteristics that society associates and expects the same behavior from women in general. So if we always think in this way, that women that tend to achieve power will be seen and categorized differently because they might not fall in this general idea of women in society. The M/F Boxes by E. J. Graff illustrate how people have to live in a body that is not accordance with what they feel or with what they want to be categorized as. The essay mentions how doctors sometimes make the decision of what sex the baby should carry for the rest of his/her life (Graff 250). When a doctor takes such a huge responsibility to be responsible for the sex of a person, people that suffer from this early judgment are forced to live a life that they don’t feel comfortable living in.

The essay mentions examples of people that don’t feel and act in accordance to what their gender appears as. “Sexuality-all of it, from identity to presentation to sexual orientation- is no exception; it develops as a biological interaction between inborn capacities and outside influences” (Graff 251). This quote expresses how we do not only feel good or have a certain degree of conformity in the inside but we have to express this felling on the outside. If we have a certain sexual inclination and have the desire of showing this feeling we could easily dress and act as we want. But unfortunately in today’s society, “Girls present as female, if not feminine, and fall in love with boys; boys present as male or masculine and fall in love with girls” (Graff 251). This quote depicts how society has already predetermined that boy and girls are only allowed to interact with the opposite sex.

So this leads us to the question, what would happen if we dress as how we feel in the inside? The essay shows the reactions of different people. “A 15 year-old girl is incarcerated in a Chicago mental hospital in 1981 and kept there for three years because she won’t wear a dress. A Winn-Dixie truck driver is fired from a job he held for twenty years when his bobs learns that he wears women’s clothes at home” (Griff250). It is obvious that society does not see with good eyes the fact that some people just want to be comfortable with them by interpreting their feelings. “Stay- At- Home Dads” by Glenn Sacks, talks about the role of females and males in today’s society. It shows how things will change if the female figure is the one who goes out and find a job an become the house head of the family financially and the males stayed at home taking care of the house and kids.

After all men’s are accused of “men interfere with the wives’ career aspirations by their refusal of become their children’s primary caregivers, forcing women to sidetrack their careers if they want children” (Sacks 265). It’s clear that in todays society this is accepted, not just because “is the male job top provide for the family” but also because society thinks that is the women job to stayed at home and take care of the kids, when is prove that either one is capable of performing this task. Being a primary financial income required more time out of the house this can interfere with family time and household relate activities such as cleaning, laundry and cooking. But what if the role of house keeping is perform by a male? Will it lose credibility and acceptance if is a male taking care of the kids? According to society this will result in “as being at the mercy of their stronger wives’ commands” (Sacks 266).

Society see this as males will lose power in the house, and in a way be under the wife’s command because she is the one bringing the money to the table. But in reality this “change” is creating an opportunity for families to interact more with each other is giving the opportunity to exchange roles and benefits that before was only given to only one member. By these changes males are giving the opportunity to interact more with their children and enjoy little thing such as “making dinner with a three-year-old’s ‘help’, or putting the baby down for a midday nap in a hammock” (Sacks 266). This reflects how sometimes by working a lot some people don’t have the time to do or share experiences with their love ones. But not everything is about changing “roles” is good or beneficial, often society seems that a male can’t be the one who is taking care of the kids. A clear example is when Glenn Sacks wrote the following: “met with his teachers, and did his spelling words with him every day.

Yet the woman who chaired the meeting introduced herself to my wife, began the meeting, and then, only as an afterthought, looked at me and said ‘and who might you be?’” (Sacks 267). No matter what we do at home or who the one taking care of the kids is, society will always expect and think that that is a female role or responsibility. Today’s society is convinced that females and males have to fit in this manual of behavior. Everyone has to meet the criteria and act like the sex they represent without even thinking if that person has some feelings or different expectations of themselves. What we can do to break these expectations is to be more tolerant and respect the different points of view and be less judgmental in a person behavior because there will always be a reason behind it that we don’t know or simple we didn’t care to know.

Work Sited

Deveny, Kathleen. “Who You Callin’ A Lady” The Blair Reader. Eds. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandel. Longman, 2013. 258-259. Print.

Graff, E. J. “The M/F Boxes” The Blair Reader. Eds. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandel. Longman, 2013. 249-255. Print.

Sacks, Glenn. “Stay-At-Home Dads” The Blair Reader. Eds. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandel. Longman, 2013. 265-267. Print.

Updated: Nov 20, 2023
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Breaking Gender Expectations: A Critical Analysis of Societal Norms. (2016, Mar 17). Retrieved from

Breaking Gender Expectations: A Critical Analysis of Societal Norms essay
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