Kids And Gender Roles In Contemporary Society: How We Are Perpetuating Gender Inequality

2383 words - 10 pages

After a drought of disposable income in my life from unemployment, I had witnessed some promising clouds forming on the horizon. I had been called into a job interview, and asked my mother if she thought my attire met professional standards. After a brief once-over, she said only “you need to put on more make-up if you want them to take you seriously. Put your best face forward.” Like my mother, many others, and every Google search on “interview tips” has ever said before, it is considered more professional of a woman to wear a moderate amount of makeup than it is to wear none at all—a standard not expected of men. It seems bizarre that this and many other separate rules exist, and yet few ...view middle of the document...

From this model we derive our societal norm, acceptable behaviors, and what Crozier describes as “vision.” This “vision” can be boiled down to the expectation of men and women to uphold all standards, behaviors, dress codes, and stereotypes attributed to them.
In American society, we fall prey to fulfilling gender roles before we are even born. Most, if not all of us are often curious of the sex of unborn children. It has not been until recent technological advancements that we have been able to tell the sex of a fetus, but it seems more to sate curiosity than for practical reasons. Mother and board member Frida Berrigan proclaims “I could not see how knowing the sex of our baby ahead of time would help us prepare for being parents. We had gotten most everything one actually needs for a baby -- car seat, co-sleeper, high chair and stroller” (Berrigan). Aside from physical items, the major components a parent would need to raise a child would be unconditional, non-gendered love and support. It has even become a recent trend to throw what is known as a “reveal party”, which prospective parents reveal the sex of their child with a color-coded cake. These two colors are consistent for American children, and today it is difficult to find non-gendered (that is to say, not pink or blue) toys or clothing for babies and children.
These color associations are entirely fabricated in meaning. In fact, during the 1920s they were reversed. Pink was seen as a masculine color, as it was a pastel version of red. Blue was used for girls, as it was representative of passive nature. Even before then, infants were dressed in white. If we were to examine our ancestors, we would likely see that “children played most often with whatever was around, with no thought about whether it was a "girl thing" or a "boy thing". Our ancestors had no modern advertising to create pink and blue versions of the same toys to promote products for boys and girls” (Barnett, Rivers 2010). This evidence against gender roles in our ancestors supports the idea that gender being directly related to sex is merely a creation by society.
As children grow a bit older, therein we will see parents encouraging play that reinforces gender roles, “including doll playing and engaging in housekeeping activities for girls and playing with trucks and engaging in sports activities for boys” (Witt, CalPoly). These activities, seemingly innocent, provide a solid foundation for engraining gender stereotypes into children. Female based toys place priority around domestic activities and maintaining appearances, while boys get toys that emphasize strength or encourage creativity in building, like legos. Susan D. Witt explains, “A child's earliest exposure to what it means to be male or female comes from parents. From the time their children are babies, parents treat sons and daughters differently… and expect different behavior from boys and girls” (Witt). These different encouraged behaviors subconsciously...

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