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July 25, 2014

Homework Help: english1A- Gender Myths Essay

Posted by Kuromi on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 4:33pm.

Can someone proofread my essay and tell me if it makes sense? I don't want it to sound like I'm going off the subject.


Gender Myths

(Introduction)Society plays a big role on gender identities. People were always taught to dress and behave according to one’s gender. Growing up, society would attempt to shape young children into proper adults; women having feminine personalities wearing long skirts and men with masculine personalities wearing trousers. However, in American culture, society tends to be a lot less traditional then it was a century ago. There are now many individuals with different personalities which are causing many to open up and express themselves more by the clothes they wear or how they act. Although children are still taught to learn what gender behaviors are appropriate for them, as they get older, each individual start to develop unique personalities and no longer conform to what society considers the social norm. Even though some people continue and expect others to be traditional, there are others who are starting to dress and behave outside of their traditional gender role such as men wearing tight pants or taking up ballet. Because society might perceive these types of roles as disturbing and unacceptable, some may not approve of this behavior and may cause problems for those who may not fit in. Despite the talks and stares of others, people of different gender identities have a right to express their individuality, and others should accept people for who they are and not judge those who are different based on appearance just because they do not live up to society’s expectations.

(1) From a very early age, people learn the basic rules of membership in society. Girls were taught to be feminine and do girly things, while boys were taught to be masculine doing macho things. As girls were dressed up in cute outfits and given dolls to play with, boys were dressed in jeans and given toy guns. In Aaron H. Devor’s “Becoming members of Society: Learning the Social Meaning of Gender” he states, “The clusters of social definitions used to identify person by gender are collectively known as femininity and masculinity. Masculine characteristics are used to identify persons as males, while feminine ones are used as signifiers for femaleness” (387). While some may use femininity and masculinity as a statement to say if one is a male or female, boy or girl, man or woman, others may recognize these characteristics but cannot tell what they really are just based on appearance alone. Even though a person might appear to be a man or woman on the outside, it is not always the case. Times have changed, the world has evolved and so has people. People are different and do not dress or behave as they did before.

(2) Gender role characteristics can be recognized by behavior and attitudes but does not necessarily identify someone’s gender identity. Boys were raised to be real men, which meant that crying was not allowed if one gets hurt. Crying use to show a sign of weakness and sends a message to others that he is not tough enough to be a real man. Despite the beliefs of the past, humans are born to cry no matter the age, male or female. It does not make people less tough because they want to cry. Same goes for body postures and how a person conducts themselves in front of others. Certain postures that portray an image of dominance and authority conveys and impression of masculinity. In Aaron Devor’s “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender” she states, “Typical masculine body postures tend to be expansive and aggressive. People who hold their arms and hands in positions away from their bodies, and who stand, sit, or lie with their legs apart – thus maximizing the amount of space that they physically occupy – appear most physically masculine.” This may be once true in the old fashioned days, but it is not anymore. In today’s society, women are braver and being freer and open with how they feel and how they carry themselves. Members of both genders are starting to share many of the same human characteristics of each other and doing many of the same things. Even though a male performs an activity outside his gender role it does not make him any less masculine; vice versa for a female. People have to understand that society is continuously evolving and humans are constantly changing from generation to generation. Society behaved very differently than they did before. In addition, fashion has changed a great deal since then as well.
(3) Fashion has come a long way since the 19th century. People were much more conservative back then and revealed less skin. The styles are changing constantly now and consist of more of a funky or metro style look, especially amongst the younger generation. In Carmen Vazquez’s “Appearances” she analyzes, “They admired the studded bracelets on Mickey’s wrists,..” (473) Accessories that was once traditionally worn by only women are now being a trend with some men. Earrings are now common amongst men as well. Men even go as far as grooming themselves such as shaving and waxing and some may even paint their nails. Society is growing brave with their appearance and how they interact with one another by what they wear and how they look. However, there are some people, whether male or female, who dress a certain way; and either get mistaken for the wrong gender or the wrong sexual orientation because of their styles of dress. In Carmen Vazquez’s “Appearances” she states, “I would add that gay men look like all men and all men look like gay men. There is no guaranteed method for identifying sexual orientation” (476). Just because a person wears pants, it does not make a person more masculine. Also, just because a person has long hair or has manicured nails, it does not make a person feminine. Because a lot of men and women digress from what society is traditionally used to, some are not use to the styles of the newer generation and might get the wrong impression.

(conclusion)Ever since childhood individuals absorbs the generalized standards of society into their personal concept of what they believe is the appropriate behavior for a man and a woman. However, not everyone continues this traditional route anymore and those who differ from the norm are sometimes the cause of mockery and banishment. Some are able to hide their differences and judgments but there others who cannot. Even though there are parts of society who has grown tolerable, there are still others who may not be willing to accept things that are outside the norm. However, people must learn and understand that as generations are passing by, people are also changing at the same time and should accept others for who they are without judging and assuming ones identity just because they appear to have masculine or feminine characteristics. Individuals should be free to express themselves as long as it does not hurt or injure others. Furthermore, gender roles in society should no longer be a monopoly or obligation for any person, man or woman, male or female. It should be a person’s choice and free will to choose his or her role whether it a boy or a girl’s, man or a woman’s. And if this means wearing a bracelet and plucking his eyebrows even though he is not female, then so be it.

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