Fantastic Gender Roles and Where to Find Them Avitha Nigam, Joshua Adame, Rebecca Young, Mark Porras, Anthony Cifuentes

Gender has been defined by several factors over the course of 1880 to 2015. From the roles of both men and women, to the behavior expected from them, the things that define gender have changed in multiple ways. The jobs women are expected to have are not the same today as they were at the end of the 19th century. Men are not expected to act the same way that they were back then, and even in the 20th century. Some ways gender has been defined are through the roles, expectations, and personalities of men and women and how they have changed over this time period.

Avitha's Editorial Cartoon

Towards the end of the 19th century, women were seen by society in a certain way. They had jobs that were specifically for them and were expected to act a certain way. Society expected women to have a completely different personality and set of qualities compared to men. For example, women were seen as the ones who were more driven by their emotions. When married, women had little authority over property and had to be willing to give up work. While the husbands go to work, women are expected to clean, cook, and take care of the kids. Later, in the early 20th century, women were still expected of the same things, but it became more distinct of what was for men and what was for women. Men go out and be public, while the women just have to stay home. They were seen less as the “lustful sex”, and mainly known for being mothers. If they didn’t reach that expectation, they were labeled as prostitutes. Now, closer to mid-20th century, women still had a role in the household, but there were a lot more who had roles in the workforce. There jobs were less relevant than men’s, but that is due to how society still viewed women. Finally, towards the end of the 20th century, and early 21st century, women are still expected to act a certain way, but society does not view women as just the mother who stays home. It’s not a huge surprise to society if a women decides to not live the life that would have been expected of her for the past few decades.

Mark's Photo with a Caption

Today, we are at the highest point of gender equality and acceptance as we have ever been in the United States. That isn’t to say that we’re perfect and there is no work to be done, but we’re getting there. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2010 women accounted for about 47% of our nation’s workforce, and that number is growing. By 2018 women are expected to occupy 51% of the US workforce, meaning working women are close to outnumbering working men in our country. That’s progress.

Avitha's Picture With a Caption

Despite this progress, there were still preconceived notions about how one must act. One of these was that men had to be manly. In the late 1900s, instead of fighting in a war like their fathers and grandfathers did before them, men made sure they were strong and never showed weakness through their emotions. This was not only expressed through action, but also through literature. Men would go to extremes, like Chris McCandless, from the book “Into the Wild”, and do life threatening tasks that would prove their masculinity. Unfortunately, like Chris McCandless, some don’t make it back from their trips while others feels like a whole new man.

Joshua's Photo with a Caption
Mark's Editorial Cartoon

Now, for men, they were expected of almost the complete opposite, compared to women. Men, personality wise, were expected to be the strong, masculine, and aggressive ones. Society saw them as the ones who were in charge of the household, had the last say, and went to work to provide for his family. During times of war, men were the first to be sent into battle because they were seen as the stronger one of both genders. Men were provided with the better jobs, while also being given the most opportunities. This was the case for most of this period, until things changed for women, also. Similar to women, men were still expected to be masculine and providers of the households, but it was more accepted by society if a man was to be more feminine or responsible for the roles that women would normally have. Now, in the early 21st century, it is not rare to see the expected roles of a man and woman, in a household, switched. The wife can be the sole provider, while the husband stays home to clean and take care of the kids.

Joshua's Editorial Cartoon

Over the years, the line that separates the way both men and women are defined has been blurred. We’ve come a long way from women cooking and cleaning while men went out to work. Despite the many attempts made by men to prove themselves, the genders are as equal as they’ve ever been. Not to say there’s not more to be do, but through hard work and fighting for what’s right, we’ll get there.

Rebecca's Editorial Cartoon
Rebecca's Photo with a Caption
Anthony's Editorial Cartoon

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