Gender Issues

Essay by jcassidyUniversity, Master'sA+, June 2004

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Are boys and girls born different or does every infant really come into the world programmed for caretaking or war making? There are certainly biological differences between men and women, but there are really no established genetically based behavior differences. Genetically based behavior is created through culture and by our society.

According to Jansson (2003), structural discrimination is defined as a series of obstacles that, singly and together, interfere with the advancement of their members into the social and economic mainstream of American society.

Sullivan and Thompson (1991) point out that the media is an extremely important influence on gender role socialization through its portrayals of men and women. "Despite the fact that Cosmopolitan magazine is allegedly a publication for modern women", as stated by Sullivan and Thompson. The cover portrays women that are generally very seductive wearing clothing that is sexually suggestive. In romance novels women are typically portrayed as the victims of male aggression.

Perhaps the most significant media influence is television. Sullivan and Thompson suggest that it is estimated between kindergarten and sixth grade, children watch from ten to twenty-five hours of television every week. In fact children spend more time watching television than they do reading books, playing outside, or going to the movies.

Women occupy a subordinate position in comparison to men on virtually every dimension of socioeconomic status. The three main socioeconomic statuses are education, occupation and income.

Education has been the key to social mobility in the United States, particularly for members of minority groups or others who are disadvantaged. Today, college education is important in gaining powerful positions in society. The functionalists believed that a division of labor was necessary in pre-industrial societies. Until 1850, women were almost completely excluded from colleges. It was assumed that women needed less education because...