Examining the Roots of Gender Roles and Why We Feel Bound to Them
For as long as we can remember, societies have had predetermined roles for men and women. However, many of us do not take the time to question why we abide by these roles so religiously. It is important to examine the reasons behind our actions and decide whether these roles serve a purpose or not. The following article will explore the roots of gender roles and why we feel bound to them.
The Deeply Ingrained Gender-Based Behaviors:
The video released by Buzzfeed, which shows the reversal of gender roles, highlights how deeply ingrained gender-based behaviors are in our daily lives. As the video shows, people are often unaware of how often they propagate gender roles until they see their actions reversed. For instance, men are expected to be assertive and dominant, while women are expected to be submissive and nurturing. Additionally, men are expected to be the breadwinners while women are expected to take care of the children and household. These are just a few examples of the many gender roles that our society has ingrained in us.
The Origins of Gender Roles:
The origins of gender roles can be traced back to ancient times when societies were divided based on a division of labor. Men were hunters and gatherers while women were responsible for reproduction and nurturing. These roles allowed for the survival of the species and the continuation of the tribe. Over time, these roles evolved into more complex forms that are still present today. As societies became more advanced, these gender roles became more rigid and forced women into lesser roles than men. For example, in the 19th century, women were not allowed to vote or work outside the home, and these restrictions persisted until the feminist movement in the 20th century.
The Reasons for Gender Roles:
Despite the progress that has been made, gender roles still exist in our society. The reasons for these roles are varied and often complex. Some people argue that gender roles are necessary to maintain societal order and keep things running smoothly. They believe that without strict gender roles, chaos would ensue, and society would break down. Others argue that gender roles are based on biological differences between men and women, such as strength and aggression. However, these arguments fall apart when one considers that gender roles are not universal across cultures and that gender has a largely social construction.
The Harmful Effects of Gender Roles:
Gender roles have harmful effects on both men and women. Men are often pressured to be the primary breadwinners and to suppress their emotions, leading to high levels of stress and mental health issues. Women are often forced into subservient roles, leading to a lack of representation and opportunities. Gender roles also lead to gender-based violence and discrimination against those who do not conform to societal norms. Additionally, rigid gender roles can limit one’s ability to express themselves and pursue their passions.
Breaking Down Gender Roles:
To break down gender roles, we need to start by questioning why we conform to them. We need to acknowledge that gender is not binary, and that people can identify as non-binary, gender fluid, or any other gender identity. We need to create safe spaces for people to express themselves and provide representation for those who lack it. We also need to eliminate gender-based violence and discrimination, whether it is through legislative action or cultural change. By breaking down gender roles, we can achieve true equality for all.
Gender roles are deeply ingrained in our society, but that does not mean we should blindly follow them. It is essential to examine the roots of these roles and evaluate whether they serve a purpose. Furthermore, we must create a society where everyone can express themselves freely and without judgment. The harm caused by gender roles cannot be understated, and we all have a responsibility to break them down. Only by doing so can we truly achieve equality and ensure that everyone, regardless of their gender, can lead fulfilling lives.