Category Archives: gender roles

SOCIAL ROLE

All societies in the world are socially stratified meaning wealth, power, and honor are unequally distributed among different groups. In other words all communities are separated into different social classes. The most frequently used basis for categorizing different forms of stratification systems is the way status is acquired.

In sociology social roles are expectations for the ways in which people are expected to behave in specific situations. These expectations are created and defined by the societies in which the people live. Different societies have dissimilar social roles. Role expectations include both actions and qualities.  For example, a teacher may be expected not only to deliver lectures, assign homework, and prepare examinations but also to be dedicated, concerned, and responsible.

We cannot talk about social role without explaining social status. According to sociologists, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one’s position in society.  It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group. For example, we are all students in this class and each one of us is either a son or daughter of somebody. The position or rank of a person or group within the society can be determined in two ways. A person can earn their social status by their own achievements also known as achieved or attained status. Alternatively, a person can be placed in the position. This inherited position is known as ascribed status meaning they are predefined for an individual at birth. For example prince William of England will have many high expectations compare to any poor child born in England.

In modern societies like ours, occupation or job is usually thought of as the main determinant of status. Other factors such as ethnic group, religion, gender, voluntary associations and hobby can have an influence also. This achieved status is when people are placed on the stratification structure based on their individual merits; the most commonly used here in America is education. The amount and kind of education people attain determine the kinds of jobs they get. The kind of work people do is the main determinant of their income.  Therefore, one’s place within the stratification structure is determined by financial, academic or political success. The higher a person is in rank, the better off he is. Moreover, the education, occupation, and income of parents largely determine the kinds of advantages or disadvantages they create for their own children. These situations are the roots of social inequality we observe in every society. Based on that observation, the gap can only grow deeper and deeper with time. For example Blacks are substantially less well educated than Whites just because the parents of blacks are poorly educated themselves. The sharp difference between blacks and whites is the continuing legacy of slavery. For centuries whites could educate themselves, passing that huge advantage to their children while it was forbidden for blacks to get any kind of education.

In the United States of America, there is no difference in the opportunity given to both girls and boys to have access to education. After graduation comes the reality of the work world. In fact, according to Donald J. Treiman, a sociologist, at equal levels of education, women earn about 60 percent of what men earn. This is explained by the gender preference for men over women that prevails in the work place. Women’s potential seems to be undermined by their so called women to-do task. In fact, the work lives for many women are interrupted for childbearing. Consequently many corporations want to avoid the stress of training and hiring somebody else for her job to replace women whenever they have to be put on leave. Moreover when it comes to gender in American society, women and men are assigned predetermined cultural roles. Women assume the roles of mothers, housekeepers, and servants to their husbands and kids, while men are providers, protectors, and heads of the household. More and more, we see a change in society today regarding the gender roles. Indeed, in modern homes, husbands and wives work both outside of the house. Both are providers for their family and both do the housekeeping job for the well being of the all family.

Works cited

Treiman, Donald J. “Status Attainment.” Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2nd ed. Vol. 5. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001. 3042-3049. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 Feb. 2013

SANDWICH GENERATION

Sandwiches, we all love them. With all of the great ingredients we put in them, we make a tasty lunch to satisfy our needs. But with all that goodness we put into the sandwich we still have to hold it all together with two lame and often not appetizing pieces of bread. As it is the responsibility of the middle of the sandwich to offset the bread, so too is it the responsibility of many adults to take care of both their own children along with their ailing parents. These adults who around their 40s-60s are in the process of taking care of young children as well as their parents who are starting to depend on them for care and support. As many as 10 million Americans are facing the burdens of this challenge. But there is more to the story than just the hardships of have to take care of multiple groups of people. And some of these problems can hamper the responsibility.

It’s no easy task to take care of children and adults at the same time. And the financial strain that it puts on the sandwich generation that has to fork out the money can cause relationship hardships, one of which can be for households to revert to traditional gender roles. Many times this isn’t much of a problem as some households already abide by this setup. However, with the increase in dependents, mothers who were originally in charge of taking care of the children now have added responsibility of ageing parents who too are becoming dependent on her. These extra burdens can be even worse if she has a career of her own and has to juggle her work with home life.

Fear not though, for not all that results from being a part of this generation are bad. There can also be many wonderful effects that come from it. Having an extra set of hands or eyes around the house can allow parents to be able to leave some of the house work and child care giving over to the grandparents. Not only have they already raised kids of their own, but would also be able to help create a stronger family bond. With more of a family unit around the house it creates stronger family bonds that help kids grow.

The sandwich generation however is one that is ever changing. As the progression technology and a higher understanding of self-worth takes over the culture we live in so do the roles that many of us will take over. One aspect of this is that as traditional gender roles are being removed from our lives, so to do the responsibilities that they may have had. The view of who should take over as the care giver of the incoming elderly parents may become lost and instead given over to a nursing home. On top of that, with the increasing view of liberalism that is common among young adults, comes the belief that the government will provide for the elderly when they retire from the work force. This view may cause many more seniors to be placed in nursing homes rather than with their families. On the other side of this, we also are starting to take the view of what schools roles are for our children. Just as many parents use T.V. as a babysitter we have the expectations that teachers should take over as some sort of care giver for our kids. These views we are starting to have can change the roles we play as we enter the sandwich generation.

GENDER ROLES

What are gender roles? Gender roles are the public expression of attitudes of ones gender identity whether they are male or female. What is masculine and what is feminine? All of us were taught from the time we are born what masculinity and femininity are.

The socialization of masculinity and femininity starts as early as childhood. Boys are supposed to wear blue and girls are supposed to wear pink. Boys are supposed to play with trucks and action figures, and girls are supposed to play with Barbies and make-up. At the start of a boy’s life he is socialized to be tough, like not crying when he got hurt. When a girl got hurt, she was usually embraced by her parents and told that it’s alright.

 

In our society females are depicted as weak and delicate creatures, females are thought to not be as capable as a male physically. Sports are a way for males to show their masculinity.  This also applies to females showing femininity through certain sports and other activities. Males participate in sports like football, basketball, baseball and wrestling. Some sports females involve themselves in are cheerleading, volleyball, softball, swimming and diving. Certain stereotypes have been established in this society; if anyone deviates from these rules of society it’s common for people to make these violators pay for it by making them victims of ridicule. If a man were to participate in something feminine like ballet or cheerleading, other men would insult his masculinity and sexuality with names like fairy boy, queer, or wimp. If a woman would take part in a physical sport like football or hockey, men and women would insult by calling her butch, dyke, lesbian or even calling her a man. Women of this generation are making a bigger impact in the sports world, this is partially because of the education amendment Title IX (Title 9) which was enacted in 1972.

 

Title IX states that, “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”  Title IX applies to all aspects of education, both private and public, but I’m just going to focus on athletics. Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment, grants equal athletic opportunities, and equal benefits like scholarships and extra tutelage. Things have changed in the past fifty years, partially because of Title IX. More girls are being encouraged to participate in athletics today, much more than they were in seventies. I have a personal example of this socialization that I’ve seen recently. I live in a small, but very diverse, community. I’ve wrestled from middle school through high school. I’ve competed against people of different cultures but never anyone of a different sex. Last year in 2012 I got the chance to do so. We were at a practice and it was just her and me and it came time for us to wrestle against each other.  We were using a different style of wrestling than what I knew and she knew a lot more about this style, but I could still keep up with her. She could do everything I could, whether it had to do with agility or technique. After the practice I was glad to have a partner that we both would have to work to keep up with. I had no problem telling some acquaintances about that practice and how she got the best of me.  An acquaintance said, “how tough could she have possibly been? She’s is a girl. Or maybe you just suck.”

 

He mocked me for not being able to utterly dominate her, like it was supposed to be a walk in the park. That statement stems from our society’s stereotypes about females being weak and feeble. She was going against what our society deemed as feminine.  Gender roles will always follow us.  When parents find out what the gender of their child will be, they’ve already decided to raise their child to follow that specific gender role. When that child grows up, the choice to continue to follow that gender role belongs to them.