Social Gender/Gender roles

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Emelie, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    http://ladydahmer.se/images/2011/flickklder_152306621.jpg

    http://ladydahmer.se/images/2011/pojkklder_152306625.jpg


    Look on the big difference between the boys and girls section.
    Not just with clothes, but toys and everything.

    In today's society everything has become so divided in to boys/girls. I remember when I was a child, playing with swords, wild west pistols, Lego, trains, cars and a lot of other "guy" stuff. And nowadays I see girls/boys being bullied if they play with things that are "out of their gender role". Why can't "everything be for everyone"?


    Well I was wondering what you people think of social gender and gender roles in general. Good/bad, necessary/unnecessary etc...

    And I also wanted to post this nice story, relating to this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-wolfe/dear-customer-who-stuck-u_b_1190690.html
     

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  2. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    They are in a perfect world unnecessary but culturally they are too integrated and trying to phase them out might lead to disorder. Things we overlook everyday are gender bias but because the lot of us were ultimately raised to recognize if it be though parenting or advertisement propaganda the difference between boys and girls and how they have been socially guided for years upon years.

    Movies, books, tv, friends, pretty much everything reinforce these roles, because while sometimes restricting they have produced a mostly functional society with the majority of people being happy under these norms to not alter them to appease a minority seeking change.
     
  3. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    The thing is that most people aren't happy with the roles, at least not the way I see it.

    Girls at 11 feel the need to shave their hairless legs and put on makeup, go on diets and get eating disorders.
    Boys have the pressure of being strong and not show to much emotions, cause that makes them "weak".

    As you say everything around us try and push the roles we are supposed to be in, but what about those that don't fit in there.

    There's a lot of things that could be better with changing the roles a bit I think, or at least loosening them up. It might never work to dissolve them completely, because many wants the difference between the genders. We do gender by being what the other sex isnt, so to speak. A man is a man, by not being like a woman are and vice versa.
     
  4. Silvermune

    Silvermune New Member

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    Eh the toy thing always throws me off.. boys get toy swords.. transformers.. toy guns, race cars..
    what do little girls get? A baby... and miniature kitchen! o_O
    What kinda fun is 'changing a babies' diaper supposed to be for a little girl :/

    as a side thought girls who go crazy with diets / or have eating disorders is a sad sight to me, anybody who puts them self through that because how they've been treated or raised. Its unbelievable sometimes.
     
  5. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I think it comes down to Nature vs Nurture.
    I used to believe that you could nurture your way to anything you want to be, but as I grow older I see that Nature rules our lives more than anything society can impose on us. Nurturing, or the influences of culture and society on us really only tweak what's already there. We have these sort of lame attempts to change the status quo, 'stay at home dads', 'women taking on jobs in male dominated occupations'... but I don't know if it really matters in the end.
     
  6. Sevi

    Sevi Pocałunek!

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    All this pink makes me sick. Also I really liked the story. It was very touching!

    Today's society sucks for multiple reasons and gender "roles" is one of them.

    Boys and girls are different, even in physiology. But I think there is a misinterpretation in the terms of how this should affect someone's life. I mean how much of being a girl or a boy should define someone.

    When I was practicing ninjutsu our sensei used to tell us that ninjas and kunoichis (female ninjas) used to have different kind of training because they had different abilities to improve. Both were trained to be killers. Both were equally capable and deadly but in different situations. But that didnt include girls to wear pink uniforms and boys blue. Because that would be plain stupid.
    There is a difference in being the same and being equal. In the end we are all different, but we are all equal as well.

    In my opinion the gender dividing in today's society is made in a wrong way. Also it implies that men are generally better than women, and the way it is made is so absolute that anyone that doesnt comply is considered an outcast. Kids should be left to choose what they want to watch, wear or like. And toy manufacturing companies should create games that help the kids improve their abilities and not their stereotypes.
     
  7. JIM

    JIM zombie Turncoat

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    Alpha Alex was allowed to play with dolls, and look what happened there.
     
  8. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Silver - Yes, very true, even though miniature kitchens and baby dolls can be fun, depending on the interest of the child, It's still something that reinforces the gender roles from the day we are born (Women = kitchen, babies. Men = bring in the money, be the strong one). And unfortunately it's more acceptable for girls to play with Transformers, than for boys to play with dolls and kitchens - _ -

    That's something that relates to what Sevi was saying. That men are the norm in the society, and therefore it's even more taboo for boys to play with girls toys and have feminine qualities, than the other way around. Though a female with male qualities aren't that popular either (but it's more accepted for a girl to be a tomboy than a feminine boy). Every gender role has a rang in the hierarchy of our society.
    As you said Sevi, wearing blue/pink uniforms because of the sex is plain stupid, it's just colours, and the society created the idea of boy/girl. Not that many years ago little boys wore dresses, although they weren't called dresses, god forbid...

    Sparrow, I personally believe that it matters, it might not be a huge different all at once, but it's a step in the right direction. Women to take on jobs in male dominated occupations is good since it evens out the salaries. Here (and probably in many other countries) the male dominated occupations = high salary, and the female dominated = low salary. Which is something that's got to change. There's still women getting a lower salary for the exact same job a man is doing.

    Example: my ex is educated with networks and computer, 2 years of university studies and a male dominated occupation for sure. His salary in the future will be ca 3 900 euro a month, or even more.
    Me on the other hand study 3 years at the university, or I might even get a masters degree which will mean 5 years in university, I will work with humans in need of help. My salary will be around 2 500 euros, if I'm lucky. And that's why there needs to be a blend... Since women's occupations are looked down upon and is not worth as much, even though I personally think that working with humans is a job that should pay more than working with computers.

    And stay at home dads, why is it a women's privilege to get to stay at home with the kids they love. I bet a lot of dads wants to stay at home with the kids as well, but can't. Because their work colleagues would tease them. And if men stayed at home in the same extent as women, women wouldn't be so unattractive in the "work market". Most jobs refuse to hire women in certain ages because they believe she will become pregnant and stay at home for years, which is negative for the workplace economics.

    And another thought in this gender business is that those who really don't fit in, get to live a life in living hell.
    I have a transgender friend, who is daily being harassed and threatened to death, have been beaten, thrown rocks at etc. just because he doesn't fit in with the societies idea of gender. And if things weren't so divided, things might have been different for him, and better.

    Eehh, hope I'm making sense, my brain is to mushy today...
     
  9. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    Thumbs up dammit! :p
     
  10. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm totally for and completely believe in equality for all, especially in the workplace.
    In America the divide between 'equal pay for equal work' is actually going in the wrong direction right now, first time it's done that in three decades. Women in this country make about 15%-25% less pay for the same job as does a man. The difference is even worse if we're comparing a white male and a black female. We have laws on the books and our government promotes equality but it seems to be stuck in the doldrums.

    For myself, I was raised old world style as my dad was from Glasgow Scotland and grew up during the Great Depression, fought in WWII, traveled the world and finally settled down late in life when he married my mom who was a fresh-faced 18 year old right out of high school... my dad taught me to fight, as well as when it's okay to back down and when you have to fight, fighting for someone whose being picked on or can't protect themselves. I was taught to build things, take risks, excel in sports, be competitive, etc... but I was also encouraged to be an artist if that's what I wanted to do with my life. This stuff is never so black and white as some would like it to be. My dad would have been crushed if I'd turned out to be gay, but that's not to say he was cruel, because he wasn't. I remember when my parents first found out I was having sex... my big sex-talk from my dad was... "don't marry a fat woman, and don't you dare marry a Catholic, because neither will change for you". I have a good laugh at that now, but I think you might understand that it's difficult shaking off some of the prejudices of parents, friends, society, your culture.

    Unfortunately I think it's whatever the market will bear.
    I can say during those rare times I find myself in the Emergency Room or Hospital I much prefer a woman doctor or caregiver. I don't know why that is exactly, but there you have it.

    No doubt that's true.
    Woman in this country, especially well educated women are waiting longer and longer to get married and/or have children. The only reason we're seeing more stay-at-home-dads nowadays is because the economy is weak and they're unemployed. I'm not sure that's the best of reasons for social change, but perhaps there's a silver lining for an economy in the dumps.


    But I think that's just life.
    The pressure to fit in is all around us, no matter the sex or sexual preference, religious beliefs, political tendencies, personality, etc. From the very earliest I've done pretty much what I wanted in life... I was expelled and then thrown out of a Christian school when I was seven. The school was right next to another school that was for kids with special needs, though at that time we weren't so kind, it was a school for retarded children. Some older kids were throwing stones over the fence at some of the retarded kids and I told them to stop, they wouldn't quit so I jumped on the ring leader and nearly choked him to death... and that put an end to my career at private school. You're too young to have experienced it, but there was a time a teacher or Dean of Students could take a strap or paddle to your butt and discipline you at will. I was whacked, spanked, hit, and punished more times then I can remember at private then public school. I set a tree on fire at my first public school, beat up kids twice my size, was a prolific shoplifter... but I was also an A student and won awards for art and writing. I never fit in, though I think I really wanted to be included with anybody that would have me. I'm very lucky in that I've always had a few really exceptional people as friends and it's probably those relationships that have saved me from myself.

    What I'm getting at, is when you really don't fit in and decide that you're going to do things your own way, there's a price to pay and not everyone is prepared for the bill. Folks who are more liberally minded, like myself and I'm assuming yourself, can't do much on a grand scale to change things. About all we can do is help someone who is struggling with these issues have a little easier time of it.


    And that's all for now as I'm overtired and much in need of sleep... before I go to work for yet another night of fun. You can fight the system for so long, yet it's only a matter of time when you become your parents and realize the fight was all in vain. ;)
     
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  11. Silvermune

    Silvermune New Member

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    @emelia that reminds me of a story the whole being tabboo for a young boy to play with dolls n all. I heard about a story here in the states that a young boy and his older brother were at a store to pick him out a video game. The little boy wanted to get a game that was more for 'girls' and wanted a purple controller because it was his favorite. After he picked out a game with a female as the main character and a purple controller the dad went on a rampage on the little kid about how he's gonna get a normal controller and a game for guys now little girls. Luckily the older brother stood up for his brother and made an ass out of his dad.

    As for the job market, I don't know about where you live but even with the higher paying jobs with technology rather than ones aimed to help people there is still sexist based pay too, where women would get paid a great deal amount less than if a man were working the job. :/
     
  12. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    My general feeling is that the acceptance within society is closely linked to both the freedom of the society, the education of the society and the general well being of the society.

    Well being - the ability to provide for ones own and family whilst also allowing for relaxation and entertainment allows for a reduction in stress (in general though of course you still have high stress jobs). This release of pressure on society means that there is less of a "fall guy" mentality.
    Start putting pressure on the society however and a "fall guy" mentality starts to creep in. You don't even need solid facts - but any minority or socially viewed minority group will be the focus - that might be based on race, colour, sexuality, gender - political affiliation etc....

    Education - the more educated people are then generally the more accepting they are of differences within their population. Of course this depends greatly on the nature of the education, but I feel that the higher the quality of the education and the more free thinking it promotes - then in general that seems to mix with a more tolerant mindset on the whole (though of course the other extreme can also be argued nor should this be taken that smart people are not capable of being highly prejudiced).

    And finally the freedom of the people - this is another one of those pressure points - strip away freedoms too much and people feel boxed in - caged. Similarly free it up too much and they can act without thinking. It's a harder one to really fit criteria upon, but I feel that it is some part of the system - maybe even only in so much as allowing for a counter against any prejudice within the official political scene via protest (take away that freedom and even small prejudice within the ruling powers can build and amplify).




    In the end I think developed western nations are shifting more toward a more open and tolerant society as a whole. I also think the internet is broadening a lot of peoples minds far far more than education ever has in the past. It is a gradual change and I do think it might well take many more generations before equality really gets itself properly established (and by that I do mean equality not just making all things equal, but respecting the differences and advantages of each different group and gender within the whole).
    Of course nation by nation there are differences and often the presence of a ruling (socially and/or politically) religion can greatly hamper this process of acceptance (in general - there are one or two religions that are not highly prejudiced). In many cases however this only works because of a general lack of both freedom and education within the population - restricted thinking resulting in a society that resists change and opinion.
     
  13. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Sparrow - well I personally have found that ex: male doctors or caregivers here are nicer than the female ones, but perhaps that's more of a personal preference then. As to, who is better at it.
    And sure people like you and me can't do much except maybe help out a fellow friend, but thinking about what have been accomplished through time when it comes to lots of stuff in general, there's always more to be done. And if everyone stops trying, we would still be living in caves.

    And for example those who are transgender, its not a choice, its just who they are. It's not like they choose not to fit in, they don't really have a choice. It's nothing to be threatened for or being beaten for. And I applaud your courage as a child to stand up for those who couldn't stand up for themselves, even though violence does not agree with me. And I'm glad I never got to experience the schools in those times, I've heard to many horrible stories about that from my grandfather. But things moved forward and they realized beating kids isn't gonna help, and is probably making stuff worse even. And that's the way I believe it will be with social gender as well.

    We have been introduced to a new word here in sweden, we have Him and Her, but now we have a third choice, which is neutral. At first I was a bit sceptical but now I'm really starting to understand its use. We always say stuff like "I'm going to the doctors on friday, let's see what he has to say" or something similar with a she/her in it. which also makes the roles establish more, since we always assume doctors are male, nurses are female etc. So a neutral word might help and change that. Cause in truth, we often don't know if it will be a man or a woman we will be meeting.

    But nice discussing it with you, you had a lot of interesting things to say!
     
  14. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Hmm.

    David Reimer hasn't been mentioned yet. I'm disappointed.

    Thing is, whether we want or not, boys generally favour mechanical toys such as cars and weapons - girls have a closer connection to social toys such as dolls. This is parallel to their development in social behaviour. It was previously thought that this development could be manipulated, by raising a boy as a girl for example. In 1965, David Reimer was born an identical twin. Both boys were to be circumsized and his brother's was succesful. David's, however, failed and his penis was cut off entirely. The best solution, his doctors thought, was to remove the gonads and reassign his gender, whilst raising him a female. And so they did. During adolescence, he was administered estrogen to induce secundary female characteristics. Attending psychiatrists John Money followed up on the case and concluded that the gender reassignment was a succes and publicized his results in rather a triumphant fashion.

    David himself, however, didn't agree. He was never happy about his sex and he always envied his brother for having toys considered to be for boys. Whilst not yet knowing his parents and docters plot, he requested a sex change operation at the age of 14.

    Fact of the matter is that we seem to be pre-programmed where our gender assignment is concerned, at least at birth. Further observations indicate that it has something to do with exposure to testosterone in the womb. Altered levels of testosterone in the womb have seen a shift in gender orientation. That aside, I think we must accept that the matter is pretty fixed. It only makes sense that those with a commercial interest in our children play to that tune. There seems to be a market - and that market is filled. Or, better yet, there are two markets. And both are filled.

    Of course, this leads to some stigmatisation, which might be pretty unfavourable for those individuals who form the exception which confirm the rule. This might be a problem, but I am inclined to say that the market is big enough to cater for those individuals who don't adhere to this strong seperation between sexes. It's not like our society gives us a choice of two toys per age category.

    On a side note, I would like to say that I hear there's an increase in transgender sentiment in the current youth generation. It seems to be in fashion. Although no less serious for those who are affected, I always find it a bit hard to actually discuss matters concerning diagnoses in fashion. I'm really not sure.
     
  15. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Interesting Turambar!
    I haven't heard of this David Reimer before, it was some interesting reading you shared. I have read about some intersexual (also known as hermaphrodites) people and how that worked out in some cases though. For those cases where parents chose the gender on the children very young, since many of them are born both genders, or unfinished genitalia, many of them often end up feeling like the opposite sex anyway. That's why many advice to wait with surgery until the kids are old enough to tell other what sex they really are/feel like, because it's obviously not as simple just to make the genitalia look like one and then put hormones. It's not that easy as just being a man or woman, gender is more complicated than that.
    There are the Social gender, the biological gender and the mental gender.. all different things. For most people they all agree, and for the more unlucky ones, they don't.

    About the part where you write "boys generally favour mechanical toys such as cars and weapons - girls have a closer connection to social toys such as dolls"

    It's not that people with penises favour cars and people with vaginas favour dolls because of their hormones and what they got between their legs. If society had boys play with dolls and girls play with cars, that's the way it would be. Simply because it's a socially constructed thing.
    Why the experiment in this case probably didn't work, is because this man, david, feels like a boy, and boys play with cars. If today's society instead had boys play with dolls, then this David, would have felt that he wanted to play with dolls instead. He just wants to play with whatever toys his "correct" sex represents.
     
  16. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree with you on this... neuroscience and developmental biology data suggests that there are critical differences between boys and girls, even before birth. I didn't play with toy guns, HotWheels and build stuff as a kid just because society points me in that direction, in fact it is because I have a penis... and of course the boy's brain that goes along with it.
    http://www.babycenter.com/0_brain-development-is-the-difference-between-boys-and-girls-a_10310673.bc

    Did I play with dolls as a boy... indeed, most boys do. While it wasn't baby dolls or Barbie dolls, it was however action figures... cowboys, astronauts, soldiers, superheroes, etc. Essentially there isn't a difference between a Barbie doll and a G.I.Joe action figure, or a Hello Kitty car and a HotWheel car, other than we tend to assign feminine and masculine values to such things. When my daughter was growing up she had an unholy attraction to glitter dust... every school project, every craft project had to have glitter dust glued to it. And when technology caught up with her and they introduced glue sticks with the glitter already in it, well, the flood gates were wide open. There was nothing on god's green earth that couldn't use glitter. I wasn't raising her to be a girlie-girl, she was already there. It's been all I can do to raise and teach her to make exploring-experiencing-risking apart of her being... with limited success.


    Give an eight year old boy and an eight year old girl a box of Fourth of July fireworks... and you'll soon see that there are essential differences between the sexes.
     
  17. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Well, that's where I don't agree - entirely. I am by no means a behavioral scientist or a education specialist - but I've been told that boys amongst each other communicate in a different way than girls do. It apears that boys instictively develop a bigger/better/faster/more stance. They seem to seek to outdo each other. Girls on the other hand engage in more social behaviour. For what it's worth, it seems to reflect the roles of the sexes in a primaeval society. It also goes at some length to explain why men and women have such a hard time communicate with each other throughout their lives. This developmental behaviour seems to transcend society, as it can be observed pretty much everywhere.

    The toys of choice, coming back to my argument, seem to reflect that communacative development. Cars, toy swords and action figures all somehow express a degree of power with which, no doubt, peers are to be impressed. Girls on the other hand are often found with toys which mimic or reenact social situations. Of course, there are the exceptions to discuss, and no doubt the devide is not so strong as depicted above. There is a lot to say about acceptance of those individuals who experience a different path of development. But I wouldn't agree to actually stating that toys offered are influencing society. I think that the choice of toys reflects the desires of the kids, to which the industry simply caters.

    Another point I want to make is that I don't recognise that we (that is, I) are living in a society dominated by men or male behaviour any more; although my manager is male, his manager is a female. And hers is female as well. Her manager is male - although gay. And I recognise shifts in human resources. The majority of the job interviews I have are with females. And I can notice that I have a harder time trying to convince a female of my capabilities in interviews. Nothing to do with sex, it seems they are looking for other qualities in their employees than males do. Of course I can imagine that the same principle in reverse has stopped women from entering the work force (at least on their level of capability) in the past. I can't recognise that this is still the case, however. Not for Dutch society, at least.
     
  18. Anduil

    Anduil New Member

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    i agree with Turambar!

    Furthermore you can check what phsycologists wrote about man and woman.

    In many situations man and woman have different reactions. Psychology is still studying those reactions.

     
  19. Feidai

    Feidai Put some spleen into it.

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    I'd say most boys act in a certain way, and most girls act in a different way but not all. You then get the squiffy bunch whose brains aren't quite right for their cases, who act in the opposite fashion to what psychologists say they should be, or sit right on the middle line and these people then get told to suck it up and do what they're meant to do, according to the thing between their legs.

    In my own experience, however, I've found very few men who act in the typical manly fashion. Most are neurotic, cowardly, concerned by scratched kitchenware and far more affectionate and what have you than the females in this neck of the woods. Though, there are the communication differences between the two, such as ladies using their eyes more and men being all rough and tumble, I don't think it's really so black and white. I mean, I went to a school where all the physical bashings were done by girls, and the boys all hid away to protect their hair and talk about their feelings. And for the first 12 years of my life, had little to nothing to do with my own sex, so I got the wrong set of typical behaviours lodged in anyway.
    Maybe it's because I've always been shoved off into the orange area, not even managing to get into a grey or the wrong side, that I disagree with the whole lot. People are people and have the capacity to behave in all ways regardless of gender, especially as they get older and more capable of making their own decisions. Hormones create a majority reaction in both, but that doesn't mean all follow the typical pattern and I don't believe it is half as pronounced as people think, only becoming so with the few extreme cases that blow it for everyone, and society goes with that and reinforces the extreme cases.
     
  20. Sevi

    Sevi Pocałunek!

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    I agree with that. Dolls represent babies and swords represents war. I think these toys were used to predefine the childrens' behaviour when they grew up. That might work a few decades ago but I dont think is working anymore. Girls and boys are different for a fact but this kind of distinction is not right. No child would find joy in nursing a baby in my opinion. Children dont have maternal instincts. Toys should help the child develop their abilities. What kind of ability a doll helps a girl develop? Or a gun for a boy?

    If we could make an experiment like this one: Lets take two children that grew in a village without tvs. Their parents both have jobs and spend equal time helping with the house chores. The mother however is a hunter so she has a shiny gun while the father is a cook so he does all the cooking in the house. The children grow up with no toys at all. And then you take the children and put them in a room and you have a gun and a cooking set. Which one is going to choose the gun and which the cooking set?