Gender refers to the cultural definition and evaluation of the men and women. As opposed to sex, gender is a dynamic concept that is variable in its construction (Dooley, 2014). Additionally, it is cultural and its definition varies with the culture of a certain community or nation. Sex, on the other hand, refers to the state of one being a man or woman. In this regard, the definition of sex is universal and static. As such, the meaning cannot be varied irrespective of the community or nation. According to Dooley (2014), a culture refers to the peoples way of life; what they believe, what they practice and what they despise. Just as gender, culture varies with the variation of people and nations. Gender is the roles and behaviors of someone who holds a particular sex. In the American culture, men and women were traditionally assumed to have different roles. In this regard, men were viewed as the breadwinners while women were seen as the supporters and bearers of children. This is what developed into the Social Role Theory.
According to Hall & Pichon (2014), in the United States culture, there has existed an elaborate designation of roles that are expected of people from one sex. These roles are in most cases implied since they are not set down in any known regulation. Additionally, the roles might sometimes overlap between the sexes. In other times, they are even complementary. More often than not, the American culture has gender roles which interact. Specifically, there has always existed an imbalance of roles, power and respect between the men and women of the United States. However, these differences have been minimized in recent years due to world campaign against gender discrimination and inequality. However, the gender role remains intact despite the perceived change of roles. The traditional American culture still remains in existence despite the efforts made nationally and internationally to eliminate gender imbalances. Additionally, feminism has taken another direction where it has been used to demote the status of American woman. Women still have huge respect for their men (Hall & Pichon, 2014). However, the insubordination of women has been replaced by empowerment. As such women have realized that they are just as good as their men; or even by far better. This paper will review the traditional roles of women and how they have been replaced by the existing American culture. Additionally, it will focus on why the gender roles have been interchanged.
Traditionally, women were restricted to cooking and offering moral support to their husbands. In the early ages, women depicted the biblical character of being subjective to their husbands (Dooley, 2014). In this regard, their roles were subject to the approval of either, their fathers or husbands. Men on the other hand reigned supreme as they were the heads of the family as well as the sole breadwinners. as such, they did all sorts of jobs so as to cater for their family. From morning to evening, men labored so that their families could put food on the table. However, women became enlightened and started raising their voices. They realized that they had abilities that were not exploited. As such, they formed groups which were their avenues for fighting for their rights and freedoms. Later, the concept of equality, which they did not know before started radiating in their minds. In 1955 Talcott parsons developed the developed the nuclear family model where the aspect of segregation was discussed (Dooley, 2014). In this Parsons stated that women started going into separate schools from their male counterparts. As they moved on, decisions affecting the family came to be made after consultations between the wife and husband.
According to Hirsch et al (2009), the masculinity of men has currently been replaced by the upsurge of women. In this case, they have taken virtually all roles that were previously accorded to men. Women are not afraid how men would view them when they take the jobs that were previously pursued by men (Carla, 2010). They have realized that they have a very good potential which if exploited fully can change the world. In the current American culture, there is nothing as gender when it comes to the roles in the society. As such, women are virtually found in every place that work is being done. According to McLaughlin (2009), women are even more industrious in jobs that were previously a preserve of men.
Currently, gender roles have been totally integrated due to the Affirmative Actions as well as formulation of regulations favoring women. In this regard, men who were previously seen as the warriors of the community have been reduced to equals without power and authority that they had on women (Carla, 2010). On the other, women who were previously viewed as supporters of life have risen to the great positions in the society. Specifically, they have occupied some of the top positions in political and business world. Notably, this has been largely due to the world campaign on equality of men and women. Men feel threatened due to the surprise rise of the power of women. This is has been largely due to the discard of cultures that prevented the girl child from accessing education. Additionally, the realization of their efforts has made women more vocal in matters concerning the society. Previously, women where only restricted to the house chores where they had less command. However, nowadays, there has been a change of roles where women have become the bread winners of their respective families. Additionally, there has been an increased insurgence of single mothers who have stood their ground and taken care of their families. In the United States, women have overtaken the roles that were previously played by men in the past.
It is important to note why there has been this change of roles in the United States. Firstly, this is caused by the retaliation on domestic violence as well as homicides. In the past, this violence was not reported since it was a norm for women to be buttered as a sign of discipline. However, today, they have risen against it as well as their insubordination. Secondly, the increase of immigrant workers has enhanced this substitution of roles. In this regard, women have sought jobs in industries so as to better their economic conditions. Realizing that their husbands are not able to cater for their demands as well as those of their families, women have migrated to the United States and started working in the industries. Thirdly, single parenthood has forced women to change from their traditional roles. In this regard, they have sought what was previously known as masculine jobs. Specifically, the blue collar jobs which involve casual and physical energy have started employing women. This is because they need to care for their children who are still very young. As such, single parenthood has led to change of roles in the current American culture.
According to McLaughlin (2009), Education has also been responsible for the change in gender roles in the American culture. From the onset, women were known to take the light courses in campuses and university. these included history and other theoretical papers, men were in most cases known to take the head scratching subjects such as engineering, medicine, mathematics and other science related courses however, currently women have started talking the so called men preserved courses which they have successfully passed. Additionally, they have excelled in their respective places of work. This has boosted their confidence both in the family and in the society. Currently, there are no courses that are preserved for a particular gender. Nowadays, the courses are done on merit irrespective of the sex of the candidate.
To conclude, long ago, women were originally viewed as the sustainers of life while men were seen as the warriors. However, this narrative has currently changed in the American culture. Nowadays, women have been empowered. In fact they have been found at the jobs which were previously a preserve of men. Specifically, many factories have almost half of their employees as women. This is because of the industrial nature of the current American women. This change in roles has been caused by the education of women whom have started pursuing the courses which they did do before. In fact, they have even passed well in courses such as medicine and engineering which were for men before. Additionally, the influx of single mothers as well as the increased in immigrants has contributed to these current change of roles. Besides, men have also started doing some jobs that were for men. In this regard, they cook for their families while the women have become the breadwinners of the households.
Carla, L. (2010). Having it All: Women with Successful Careers and Families. Sex Roles, 62(9-10), 696-698. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-009-9719-0
Dooley, K. (2014). De Tocqueville's Allegorical Journey: Equality, Individualism, and the Spread of American Values. The Journal Of American Culture, 37(2), 172-181. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jacc.12161
Hall, N., & Pichon, L. (2014). Gender roles, sociosexuality, and sexual behavior among US Black women. Health Psychology And Behavioral Medicine, 2(1), 171-182. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21642850.2014.882236
McLoughlin, L. (2009). Success, recruitment, and retention of academically elite women students without STEM backgrounds in US undergraduate engineering education. Engineering Studies, 1(2), 151-168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19378620902911592
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