When people think about gender roles in society, they come up with clichéd illations that have been developing through the ages of human existence. Historically, men always had leading positions and women’s main responsibility was taking care of household and being loyal to the husbands no matter what. Yet the 20th century incorporated changes to the people’s attitude to women and woman’s rights. The progress of woman’s rights has led to many changes in the traditional life, and traditional gender roles concepts are altering constantly, influencing life of a person and society.
Studying genders nowadays is a central direction of the sociological researches as the reformation of gender roles has a great impact of the social interactions. Gender roles also known as the expected behaviors depend on the societal norms that determine the privileges and responsibilities that any person has according to the social status. For example, a woman with a social status of the mother is expected to love, nurture and run a home, sacrificing her ambitions, wishes and needs: family comes first. Social status of a father binds a man to become the main provider for the family, hands-on person and the authority responsible for all decisions in the family. Until recent, such norms of the patriarchal society were sacrosanct, but the women’s lib has shaken its foundations.
Patriarchal system is male dominating and that leads to the discrimination of women. And due to the fact that from the beginning of the era of mankind all societies used patriarchal system no wonder that the attitude to women was disdainful, as women were not allowed to be someone more than a housekeepers. One of the results of such attitude revealed itself in the educational system, where male children had more opportunities to receive proper education rather than female children. Consequently, in the society men became disseminators and supporters of the gender based roles.
Nowadays media is considered to be the main carrier of gender roles stereotypes. It is especially clear in the advertising that puts emphasis on the appearance and decisions that are made under the influence of feelings when it comes to the women-targeted products. As for the male products, here much prominence is given to competitiveness and dominance. The media depicts women as more emphatic and men more dominating and usually women are used as sex objects due to their attractiveness, opposite to men. Constant pressure created by constrained stereotypes, certain standards of beauty and marital status leads to the reinforcement of the traditional gender roles for the women as the guardians of the hearth and nothing more than that.
Taking into consideration that media today is the major influencer on youngsters, such approach has negative impact on the self-esteem and dignity of women as well as their wish to climb the career ladder as the media depicts women-executives as lonely and isolated.
In conclusion, it becomes obvious that in spite of the achievements of the women’s lib, traditional gender roles are still strong and one has to confirm them to be a member of the society. Media supports traditional view on the gender roles influencing the perception of certain social roles by younger generation. All changes that are made to that perception are still in progress and a great deal needs to be done before men and women will be equal in their rights and roles.
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