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Gender Roles in Society

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Culture plays a major role in the determination of gender roles in our society. Socialization in all cultures is directly linked to the final product of a human being. Culture dictates, at a very young age, how boys and girls are supposed to act, feel and respond to certain situations. These factors lead to identifying gender roles by our society.

At birth, boys and girls are separated by gender. Almost immediately boys are dressed in blue clothing and girls in pink. Boys are taught to play with trucks, trains, male action figures, swords and guns. These items aid in defining masculinity. Girls, on the other hand, are taught to play with dolls, toy stoves or easy bake ovens, and other toys to aide them in identifying with nurturing. Anything that differs from this is considered somewhat abnormal. If a small male child wants to play with dolls, most fathers will immediately intervene and provide them with a more masculine toy. At the very least, he will show disapproval. Girls, on the other hand, may be labeled as a tomboy if they show interest in his truck.

Society seems to be changing these actions that are very much in line with the traditional "American family." It appears that women are becoming more accepted in fields dominated by men. According to the Employment Policy Foundation (EPF) some of the top ten white-collar occupations where women's participation has increased most in the past decade are: veterinarians (female vets have increased from less than 22 percent to 43 percent); top public administrators (37 percent are now women, compared to 4 percent in 1989); math & science teachers (increased 6-fold), chemistry teachers (increased 4-fold); industrial engineers (22 percent are now women, compared to 6 percent in 1989); dentists (increased 4-fold); car salespeople (increased 3-fold). Professions once considered "men's work" are now being occupied by women.

In a society, gender can be best described as the construction of what is culturally assumed as "femininity" as well as "masculinity". There is not yet enough conclusive evidence to determine how large of a role biology plays in creating the gendered psyches, however the conclusion can be made that social mores assist in instilling masculinity and femininity into our culture. For example, Hasbro is targeting little boys and girls in their marketing by reintroducing new toys such as GI Joe-Real American Hero Wave II and My Little Pony. In one way or another, these marketing schemes force children



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