Children learn from their parents and society the conception of 'feminine' and 'masculine.' Much about these conceptions is not biological at all but cultural. The way we tend to think about men and women and their gender roles in society constitute the prevailing paradigm that influences out thinking. Riane Eisler points out that the prevailing paradigm makes it difficult for us to analyze properly the roles of men and women in prehistory 'we have a cultural bias that we bring to the effort and that colors our decision-making processes.' Sexism is the result of that bias imposed by our process of acculturation.
Gender roles in Western societies have been changing rapidly in recent years, with the changes created both by evolutionary changes in society, including economic shifts which have altered the way people work and indeed which people work as more and more women enter the workforce, and by perhaps pressure brought to make changes because of the perception that the traditional social structure was inequitable.
Gender relations are a part of the socialization process, the initiation given the young by society, teaching them certain values and creating in them certain behavior patterns acceptable to their social roles. These roles have been in a state of flux in American society in recent years, and men and women today can be seen as having expanded their roles in society, with women entering formerly male dominions and men finding new ways to relate to and function in the family unit.
When I was growing up a woman was never heard of having a job other than a school teacher or seamstress. Our(women's)job was to take care of the house. We had a big garden out back from which we got most of our vegetables...A garden is a lot of work you know...We...