Gender Roles and the Control of Men Over Women in Society

Will women ever see the day when they are dominant over man? Since the beginning of time men have always been dominant over women because the women’s inability to be independent and man’s ability to be “hero”. Author Aaron Devor exemplifies on how gender roles in his essay, “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender,” To go along with how male dominance has always been a part of history author Michael Kimmel iterates on the rules of brother hood in his essay, “Bros Before Hos: The Guy Code.

” But all this talk about gender roles in society does not have to always be about men, as writer Jean Kilbourne explains women’s position and effects from society in her essay, “Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt: Advertising and Violence.” All of these authors give a fair understanding on how male and female roles take part in society. Men know that they have control over women and are the dominant in society but still reassure their power is known by continuing practices of the patriarchal gender schema, or the ideals of society placed on the male gender.

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One way that society is keeping its “checks and balances” between genders and reassuring the male role of dominance is through the mainstream media of today. Advertising content has always been but recently becoming more and more about women being sexual figures and men displaying violence over these women. The sexuality and violence in these advertisements are selling the products, even if the product has no connection to sex.

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Kilbourne agreed when she stated, “[s]ex in advertising is pornographic because it dehumanizes and objectifies people, especially women, and because it fetishizes products, imbues them with an erotic charge which dooms us to disappointment since products never can fulfill our sexual desires or meet our emotional needs” (420). What Kilbourne is saying is advertising has a way of influencing society to a point where an individual thinks a product will fulfill needs when in fact it just disappoints the person when the product doesn’t actually fulfill the needs of sexual desire or the needs of emotions. Almost everyone knows that it’s not just adults being exposed to sexual or violent media, children are also being exposed. Children lead by example and they are helping determine their gender role in society partly from the media. Devor explains the concept of children leading by example as he states, “[c]hildren’s developing concepts of themselves as individuals are necessarily bound up in their need to understand the expectations of the society of which they are a part’ (389). Children are learning their roles they have to fulfill in society by watching and learning what is expected of them. Part of the way children are learning is through the media. The media is telling the young boys of today when they grow up to be men they have to be the alpha over women, the hero, and the dominant. But is the violence over women, as these young boys see in the media, truly how the male needs to act in society? No, but if that’s the only way they are shown to act then this will be the way boys turning into men will act.

Typically women are known as the care takers and never seem to have a fighting chance to be anything more than that. They are not giving the chances or capabilities to go beyond their comfort zone of typical women roles. Kimmel describes women’s status in society when she said, “[w]omen have, in men’s minds, such a low place on the social ladder of this country that it’s useless to define yourself in terms of a women” (465). Women are being so dehumanized by men they don’t even want to try and be anything more than the caretaker roles they are defined by. These behaviors that help to obtain a higher role in society is not in the description of how women are supposed to act. Devor explained that concept when he said, “[t]he achievement of high status in one’s social group requires competitive and aggressive behavior from those who wish to obtain it” (393). Typically only men are supposed to display competitive and aggressive behaviors so they will likely be the one to achieve higher social status before a woman would. Yet again men are being placed as the higher gender in society over women because of gender schema favoring traits of men.

While there are the typical aggressive, dominant traits men tend to display there is one trait they don’t display: emotion. One of the reasons women are dependent and subordinate to men is because men’s ability to control a women via their emotional needs. Kimmel belatedly said, “[m]en tend to focus on the physical attributes, women on the emotional” (466). Men have a sexual desire that can also fulfill their need for dominance at the same time. They want a women who is physically fulfilling for them. They have no interest in loving the woman or concerning her emotions. Kilbourne iterated on this idea of emotions when stating, “[m]ale violence is subtly encouraged by ads that encourage men to be forceful and dominant, and to value sexual intimacy more than emotional intimacy” (422). Men are being influenced by almost anything but their emotions. The violence they portray whether it be sexual or not is being influenced once again by the media. They have no biological need for emotions and this is overpowering over the women because it causes the male to be independent from the emotional driven women.

So, why do individuals possess these traits and why is it such a staple in society for the male to be the dominant and the female to be the submissive? These traits are what an individual is born and raised into. Devor exemplified, “[t]he ideology which the schema grows out of postulates that the cultural superiority of males is a natural outgrowth of the innate predisposition of males toward aggression and dominance, which is assumed to flow inevitably from evolutionary and biological sources” (391). An individual cannot help but follow the traits they are biologically known to live by. If they act any other way than what is ‘normal’ than they are seen as trying to pursue the other gender, which is wrong to many. Kimmel stated, “a telling riposte to all those theories of biology that claim that this definition of masculinity” (468). The theories of biology and how the human is supposed to act is what causes the not just the idea but the fact that men will always be the dominant over female. Females are not biologically inclined to act the necessary ways, aggressive and dominant, to have empowerment over woman. In turn, men continue this practices of aggression and dominance to maintain their power and women don’t have the mentality to even try.

So will this rule of men over women ever change? Due to all the facts of nature men will always be the dominant and women know this and continue to let males be dominant by not trying to pursue anything more than the role of caretaker. These men also continue to convey these acts of sex and violence to make sure the females remember that they are the alpha gender. So to conclude, men will always over power women and some things are never meant to change.

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Gender Roles and the Control of Men Over Women in Society. (2022, Jun 08). Retrieved from

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