Question Exploration: In what ways are gender roles present in society?

Question Exploration: In what ways are gender roles present in society?

Gender roles. Yet another controversial topic among many. The thing about gender roles is that people in the past accepted it. It was a normal thing for men and women to be separated into different categories. People in different parts of the world still believe in this idea of gender roles in places such as China and India. Gender equality involves a variety of different arguments popping up in areas like culture, politics, economy, etc. The idea of gender roles is changing, but it still retains the same aspects as it did in the past.

In the early 19th century United States, women were see as house workers. Their only job was to bear children, raise them to be good people, cook, and take care of the house while the husband is out working. This idea was spread all throughout the United States and everyone accepted it. Even most of the women accepted it. There was a small vocal minority that openly stated their discomforts about the gender roles, but they didn’t gain much support because people were mainly focused on the abolition movement going on in the mid 19th century. The movement for women didn’t really kick off until the 20th century.

After the Civil War, women started to fight to gain more and more rights. The problem was that people were still fixated on the view that women should stay in the household and not do any sort of job outside of the house. The second industrial revolution started to change things for women. More and more school were being created so they needed more people to teach in them. Women were the best solution they could think of because educated men were considered to only take jobs that were important like being a politician. Women started to campaign for more rights and many started to join in it. Women wanted equality between men and women.

In the early 20th century, during World War I, women made progress with jobs in the US. Men were sent out to the front lines while women were stuck at home. Women wanted to help out so they joined jobs that were left vacant when the men left. Some women even chose to join the army by pretending to be a man. Thought that didn’t last very long as the war ended a year later, but progress was still made.

The 1920s came and women actually gained the right to vote in all states. Men still held their views however. In the book “The Great Gatsby”, the character Tom Buchanan is the perfect example of a man holding this view. Tom Buchanan is a man that sees women not as equals but as objects. They are possessions to him, nothing more than trophies to win. He treats both his wife and his mistress like this, but in chapter 7, “Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until and hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control.” He wants to maintain control on both of them and keep his grasp on them.

The mid 20th century was still as bad as the 1920s. The nuclear family was still made up of a husband that works and a wife that stays home to take care of the kids and do house work. Judy Brady does a fantastic job of mocking the idea of a wife that takes care of everything in her piece of writing, “I Want a Wife.” To summarize it, she talks about how great it would be to have a wife that can do everything that she wants her to do. She takes the idea of a housewife and cranks it up to 11. She ends it with a phrase that many would agree with. “My God who wouldn’t want a wife.”

The late 20th century had a big boom of women starting to work in jobs that were originally only full of men. Women on news stations even began to wear shoulder pads to start looking more to be equal to them. The idea of women staying in the house was changing. By 2000, the nuclear family had changed from only the father working to both parents working. The book “Nickeled and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich provides a commentary of her time as a minimum wage worker as a woman. Though the main topic of the book was about low wage workers, she did talk about the subject of women workers. She talks about how women still get treated differently from men in jobs.

Gender roles will probably not go away anytime soon. They were widely accepted in the early 19th century, but as the time passes by, they slowly change. Gender roles are deeply rooted in things like culture and tradition. Though gender roles will stay put, there will always be people that will change that.


To Be Alone

To Be Alone

I wanted the comfort of others. I wanted to be in the company of others. I didn’t want to be left out. I didn’t want to be all alone. Unfortunately, life thought otherwise.

I was not that great at making friends. I had a hard time talking with people I haven’t met yet. This social ineptness has been with me since I was born.

When a baby is born, they are born with an innate temperament that is not influenced by surroundings nor genetics. It is separated into two categories; high reactive and low reactive. The high reactive category can be separated into sub categories: sensitive and aggressive. I was born with the sensitive temperament. People with the sensitive temperament usually are fussy, timid, nervous, shy, and more likely to show their emotions.

But even with these ideas of temperaments, humans are a social species. We want to be with others. We want to interact and connect to each other. I truly want to have friends who will laugh, talk, help, and other things friends would do. But as I said, life finds a way.

I never made friends in preschool. I just tolerated it. I preferred to draw and read by myself. I specifically remembered staying awake during nap-time to read and wait for my parents to pick me up. When I got to kindergarten, I actually made a friend. He approached me first To me, he was the coolest person around. He introduced me to more and more people and as he did that, I slowly gained more self-confidence. But in the third grade, I passed the GATE Test for the GATE Program. The GATE Program stood for the “Gifted and Talented Education Program.” It was a test to find kids who were smarter than others. I was one of only five kids to pass in my school. I had to transfer to another school because there was not a GATE Program class in my school.

I lost everyone. I had no more friends. Strangers surround me once again. I had to start all over again. Or did I? As I said before, four other kids passed the test with me. So I thought, “All I need to do is attach myself to one of them that knows me and then I will gain friends again.” I did so and then I gained friends yet again. It was a perfect plan. I had a group that I continuously played with. We even had a group name. But life struck once again.

Nearing the end of the fourth grade my mother got a better job at another bank. The problem was that it would become hard to drive my brother and me to our different schools. My parents then decided to transfer both of us to schools closer to my mom’s work. I lost my friends once again. I was surrounded by strangers for a third time.

I had no one to help me this time. Everyone had already made their groups and cliques by the fifth grade. I had nobody. I couldn’t really talk to anyone because I always depended on someone else. I never got to develop my social skills because of that. At this school, the closest thing to a friend that I had was a kid that asked for a piece of my lunch everyday. I walked around the perimeter of the blacktop for fun for a month. I developed a long time habit because of that, but that is irrelevant. I finally made friends when a kid asked if I wanted to join their game of handball. I agreed and I didn’t regret it. I became integrated with this group of friends. I would consider them to be the closest I have ever been to a group from school. I got invited to parties and would hang out with them every chance I got.

We all went to the same middle school, which was great. The great thing about the GATE Program, which I didn’t experience in the other school, was that everyone in it had at least four classes together. This allowed me to actually try to develop my social skills since I was stuck with them for three years. I got to have more friends than I ever did before. But life had other plans.

In high school, I thought that my group of friends would stick together just like how we did in middle school. That wasn’t the case. One friend went to a private school. The rest joined clubs and sports and began to hang out with the people in those groups. I was left alone. My social skills were still underdeveloped. I became desperate. I looked for a person or a group to latch onto. I did find one within the first week, but it was not a good decision. They were not a good influence. They were rude and not that intelligent. Some of them did things that I would consider to be morally wrong. It, unfortunately, took me over a year to realize this. Maybe it wasn’t that it took me a year to realize this, but it took me a year to break my fear of being alone again if I left them. I found a group that I believed was full of good people and joined them. I’ve been with them ever since.

I’m still afraid. I know that our group with break off when we go our separate ways to different colleges. I don’t want to be alone again, but I know it will happen. I just want people to remember me. I joke around, make fun at myself, and laugh a lot to make sure at least one person remembers me. If one person remembers me, I won’t feel as lonely anymore. I will try to make the most of the time I have left before we all go about our separate paths. I just hope that I won’t be forgotten.