About gender roles and feminism

Essay by arlingtonheroCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2002

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Children learn from their parents and society the conception of "feminine" and "masculine." Through play, boys derive a sense of themselves as powerful, instrumental, and in control. Girls have been forced to accept an inferior role by their parents and society, and they learn to believe in their own inferiority. Later in life they never feel that they are being made into objects, which are born to serve and take care.

Girls also tend to rely on others for direction in their activities. It is very likely that the excessive dependency and inactivity, which has been encouraged in girls, may contribute to a decline in their achievement as they grow older. According to Holly Devor, "masculinity is usually characterized by dominance and aggression, and femininity by passivity and submission"(415). Every move they make in their daily lives will be based on the gender stereotypes they have been taught. If any person tries to perform activities considered to be appropriate to the other gender, they will be expected to perform poorly.

If they do well and better than the person of that gender, it leads to social condemnation and negative psychological consequences. Exciting activities have always been reserved for boys, and girls have always been restricted to dolls. In schools, girls usually are considered poor in mechanical and analytical skills, but they generally have not been given mechanical toys like trains to play with.

Parents also have a hand in shaping their children's gender roles through the kinds of jobs they assign them around the house. Basically, boys are made to mow the lawn, shovel snow and so on. Whereas girls do cleaning up around the house, doing dishes, cooking and so on. Boys are often encouraged by their parents to exhibit independent behaviors, but girls are expected to show...