Growing up, what did your personal/cultural knowledge tell about gender and gender roles?
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As I grew up, my personal and cultural knowledge influenced what I know about gender and gender roles. Becoming older, I understood that the society had created certain benchmarks, which differentiated man from women in different aspects. From the interaction of male and female children, I learnt that all children were products of the expectations of the society towards men and women. Male children acted superior in all occasions while female children acted inferior. Even though there were times when some few females would want to be at the top, the majority of the male children would disguise them, and they would remain inferior. This was an indication that what we were doing was not new and we had borrowed such traits from our parents and the society. As we grew up, I noticed that teachers and parents greatly influenced the difference in gender roles between male and female children. At home, boys would be given tasks related to men such as weeding the flowerbed, assisting their fathers in washing the car, or watching football with their father among other tasks that are considered manly. Conversely, girls would be given tasks that are associated with the female gender such as washing dishes, cooking, or helping in doing laundry among other roles that are considered female. With such a differentiation in allocation of roles, it is evident that the culture of gender roles is usually passed to children from their parents, teachers, and other close adults they regularly interact with.
From what you can tell, what does popular knowledge say about gender and gender roles?
From the analysis of the observations that I made as I grew up, the society moulds gender roles in children. Depending on the culture of a particular society, the children who are born in that society are expected to fit the society’s expectations on beliefs about gender and gender roles. From the popular knowledge that is held among the members of a particular society, males and females are not equal and that it is not possible to generalize the roles of both genders. In many societies, it is believed that men are the strongholds in that society and that they should be accorded the respect they deserve. This is because men have a strong physique and should act like the strong people in the society making females feel secure. Equally, females are expected to be submissive to the males and always act in accordance to the expectations of the males. This is due to the thinking that females are usually weak, cannot make grounded decisions, and should therefore let men make decisions on their behalf. Such stereotype has been popular in the society for a long time due to the passing of such beliefs to children through word of mouth and by setting examples. For instance, when a male child falls from a chair, he is encouraged not to cry or make expressions showing pain. This is because the society expects men to be enduring regardless of the situation. On the other hand, a female child will be taken care of when she falls from a chair. This means that such popular approach to gender and gender roles will continue exist in the society as long as such beliefs are being instilled into upcoming generation.
Have your views on gender and gender roles changed as you have gotten older? If so, how?
As I have gotten older, my views on gender and gender roles have changed. At a tender age of 3 years, I used to think that both males and females were the same. However, things changed as I reached five and started realizing that there was a big difference in matters of gender and gender roles between males and females. This difference was easily noticeable at home from the way our parents talked to and treated my brothers and sisters. I noticed that male members of the family were given harder tasks to complete while the female ones had simpler duties. At school, teachers acted differently when dealing with male and female students. My view on gender roles was formed then, and I started viewing the male gender as the superior while the female was inferior. I related such a view to various aspects such as body size and the ability to face difficult situations among others. However, this view becomes less important as I get older; now, I believe that females have the potential to do things considered manly. This is because the tag of superiority placed by the society on males is based on beliefs. At this age, I believe that every woman has the potential to fulfill their desires regardless of the society’s expectations towards them. With the learning and experience that I have had through the years, I have learnt that there are some activities considered to be manly, but there are females who can do such activities better, meaning that the belief of females’ inferiority is a fallacy.