The Societal Expectations Of One's Gender Identity

Gender is just a noun to define two sexes of male and female. So by that I believe male and female are just different in words besides that we are all the same made up of blood and flesh. However, many think differently about that. They believe that male and female are different. That male and female are supposed and capable to do different things. After years and years of accumulation, it formed a scenario in this society that believe women and men are physically and emotionally different.

People live up to the gender role expectations that were accumulated throughout the years. The kind of gender role expectations that would haunt many women and men these days. As they were raised and brainwashed to act and behave in a certain way by their parents, media and society. For instance, men and women are categorized into the gender role. Men are supposed to be the provider in the family while the women should stay home to cook, clean and take care of the family while the husband is gone and many more gender role expectations.

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Despite all the traditional believe and gender expectations I believe although we have certain gender role expectation to our children to let them have some basic concept towards gender but we should not force our ideas onto our children. Let them choose to be whoever they want to be.

Every person has their own personality and choices in life, parents should not control their mindset and behavior.

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I believe that parents should just play the role of letting the children know their own identity by exposing them to various activities, suggesting ideas to their kids and listen to their ideas or inner voices but they should not force their idea of gender role on their children. In the article “Families and Parent Educators Help Girls Go Beyond Stereotypes ” by Eve Pearlman, she stated,“ Every child has their own personality,” says long- time early childhood teacher Carol Minami at the Los Angeles Harbor College Child Development Center. When families let the interests of the child guide them, she adds, they can sidestep the cultural messages about what girls should and should not do. (189) In other words, she means when parents should leave their children to choose what they want to do by their interest they will be able to avoid cultural expectation for male and female. So letting their children choosing what they want to do by interest could bring more good than bad as while they are doing so it is more possible for them to ignore or forget the gender role expectation. Parents should also give their children an equal chance to be able to expose to the activities or toys that both female and male play with in order to let them know their own identity. It is argued that not every boy and girl likes to follow the gender role expectation to play within the activities or toys they are expected to play with. In the article, “Some girls want to play with dolls or dress up- but not all girls. And even the ones that do may also want to look for bugs or dig in the dirt. Challenging gender stereotypes can help girls more fully explore what interests them and build valuable skills for later life”( 189). By that I believe it is a pretty good idea for parents to expose their kids in different activities as they get to have a chance to choose and feel what kind of activities is what they like the most. They can also let their kids build beneficial skills that might come in handy in the future.

In addition, people should stop expecting female or male to act according to the traditional expectation to gender. For example, boys are always expected to be strong or tough. In the article, “Art of Nurture, Guidance, and Role Modeling: Raising Boys to be Men ”, society expects boys to be and act a certain way. These messages are delivered through our schools, media, relationships, and society. Being constantly bombarded by these images, boys sense the need to assimilate to these pre-defined gender roles and ideas of masculinity even if means repressing their true self and emotions even if its means repressing their true self and emotions. ( 193) In other words, it means boys are going after what the gender role expectations expect them to be instead of being their true self. I think this is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong to for parents, people or society to encourage boys to be brave or tough. However, there is a difference between encouraging and forcing a person to behave in a certain behavior or having a certain personality. This is against human rights. Some people might say media, society, school or even parents are just trying to boost males to be more manlier, it is just encouraging not forcing. Somehow this kind of message about guys have to be tough spreading, have lead to negative backlash due to the absence of any balancing message. There is no addition message about how it is alright for male to be strong or tough. With that, this leaves males having no other choice as the public just expect them to be strong. And that will become forcing. In the article, Young boys desire to obtain the acceptance of their peers, so they often feel the need to excel in an area that is appreciated to be masculine.( 193) This traditional expectations should be put to an end instantaneously. Parents, media, schools and so on should be promoting gender neutral culture to let them have a choice of being who they want to be.

Last but not least, it is better for parents to raise their children in a gender neutral family instead of raising them in a traditional way with traditional expectations for male and female. For example, parents should offer their children food, toys, activities and clothing choice for both men and women. So children will not feel that girls are supposed to wear dresses or skirts while boys are supposed to wear jeans with manly shirts. In other words, I mean by that kind of action children are able to avoid gender expectations or cultural messages. Doing so will only bring advantages to children in the future.Like stated in the article “ What’s Good for the Kids” by Lisa Belkin, “ Children tend to be less conventional and more flexible when it comes to gender roles and assumptions than those raised in more traditional families.”(197) To put it another way, she means children are able to open and does not really believe in gender role expectation which is great. Why? Because for demanding our children to pursue gender roles expectations can actually put our children in pain. In the article “ Forcing Kids To stick To Gender Roles Can Actually Be Harmful To Their Health” by Shutterstock, “ This constant effort to manage one’s everyday life in line with gender norms produces significant anxiety, insecurity and low self-esteem for both boys and girls,”(3) Through this article and this quote I suppose we get the idea that forcing children to follow gender role expectations would only bring more harm than good. We should respect their choices and teach them to be confident to not be afraid of criticism and judgement. As they will most probably have to face for just being who they want to be and doing what they want to do.

To conclude, gender shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not a person can be or cannot be doing this or that. I believe children should be raised by parents and exposed in the media and society that promotes gender neutral culture. Where men and women should all be given equal rights and an equal chance to be exposed to things both gender does.All people are born equal considering we were all made the same way; we all come to the world generally the same way and, we are all human beings therefore, we are all equal. Let our future generation be able to live in a society that are free of gender role expectations and free of criticism and judgement so we can not limit them from doing what they want.

Works cited

  1. Lippa, R. A. (2010). Gender, nature, and nurture. Psychology Today.
  2. Worell, J. (2015). Encyclopedia of gender and women's studies. Routledge.
  3. Kite, M. E., & Whitley Jr, B. E. (2016). Psychology of gender: Fifth edition. Routledge.
  4. Levant, R. F., & Richmond, K. (Eds.). (2017). Masculinity studies and feminist theory: New directions. Columbia University Press.
  5. Martin, C. L., & Ruble, D. N. (2010). Patterns of gender development. Annual review of psychology, 61, 353-381.
  6. Eckert, P. (1989). Jocks and burnouts: Social categories and identity in the high school. Teachers College Press.
  7. Fausto-Sterling, A. (2012). Myths of gender: Biological theories about women and men. Basic Books.
  8. Halberstam, J. (1998). Female masculinity. Duke University Press.
  9. Pilkington, H., & Denny, E. (2012). Boys in school and society. Routledge.
  10. Connell, R. W. (2005). Masculinities (2nd ed.). University of California Press.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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The Societal Expectations Of One's Gender Identity. (2024, Feb 07). Retrieved from

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