The Amorphous Nature of Gender Roles, from the Dawn of Man to Cultures of Today: Essentiality, Diversity, and Ingrained Tendency

Essay by sharkattackCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2009

download word file, 12 pages 3.0

Gender roles play a significant part in the cultures of countless societies, and continually change and morph to meet modern thinking and trends. Gender roles can be defined as general behavioral patterns that are associated with being male or female within a certain system or faction; the division of labor is among some of the most extensively discussed topics regarding these sex-based roles. It has become widely recognized that gender roles are not innate, but are instead learned behaviors that differ greatly among individuals in different cultures, depending upon that particular culture's beliefs and practices, as well as the time period. Despite the predispositions of modern society's views on gender roles, much of the present research points to the fact that these sex-based duties are learned groups of behaviors through socialization and exposure, not a biological blueprint. While sex-based roles are said to have given early humans a survival advantage over preceding humanoid species, present day populations are doing their best to free themselves from these relatively quarantining boundaries and archaic stereotypes that do not seem to be held to the same grandiose status in today's world.

Gender roles vary widely between countries, regions, different ethnicities and races, and perhaps most importantly- time periods.

In Stefan Lovegren's National Geographic article, which discusses the advantages of sex and age-based divisions of labor, he suggests that the emergence of female labor roles gave early humans a competitive survival edge over Neanderthals (2006). Steven Kuhn, an anthropologist out of the University of Arizona states, "The competitive advantage enjoyed by modern humans came not just from new weapons and devices but from the ways in which their economic lives were organized around … roles for men, women, and children," (Lovegren 2006). While the long-standing belief, according to research, had been that this division of...