Sociology/ Stereotypes term paper 16492

Sociology term papers
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Part I. Introduction

Statement of the problem

Female and male gender roles in today s society reflect on more than just what others think about the man and female role. This paper will also show how and why people think this way. At the time of conception male and female babies are influenced to act a certain way by the actions of the people around them the most. A baby s sex distinction is developed prior to birth. Gender differences are a matter of power, therefore, Masculine is typically a social priority over a feminine trait. The importance of gender is not important among infants, but the ways in which people think of boys and girls are set in motion patterns that will continue for a lifetime. As the infant grows up he or she will encounter gender differences by innerving with peers and experimenting with the opposite sex. Male and female children tend to go about this differently. The typical male would talk to peers and try to distinguish what is the truth and what is false. The typical female would also go to peers to establish the truth but she would also go to an authority figure to collaborate on the subject of gender and what she does not know. Both male and female genders will continue to act this way, in a sense, the rest of their lives.

Purpose of the paper

The purpose of this paper is to inform the reader of stereotypes and why we as a human race accept them. This paper will also explain why male and female genders act the way they do, in addition to that This paper will also tell what causes male and female gender roles to be labeled such as they are: masculine roles are to be played by the male and feminine roles are to be played by the female. Society has stratified or put certain titles on jobs for men and women; by doing so stratification has taken place. Stratification is a system by which a society ranks a category of people in a hierarchy. In rare cases a hormone imbalance occurred before birth and produces a hermaphrodite. A hermaphrodite is a word derived from Hermaphroditus, the child of the mythological Greek gods Hermes and Aphrodite, who embodied both sexes. A hermaphrodite is a human being with some combination of female and male internal and external genitalia. Our culture does not easily understand or accept hermaphrodites. In contrast, the Pokot of eastern Africa are indifferent to what they consider a biological error, and the Navajo look on hermaphrodites with awe, believing they embody the full potential of both the female and the male (Macionis, 1992). This paper will also discuss why genders roles are so complicated in our contemporary society; it will emphasis on the way society looks on the male and female, and why the society does it. In addition to that this research paper will show how Society also affects what kinds jobs men and women get by occupational sex-typing and occupational prestige. This paper will also show how race and geological region can effect the way genders roles operate in today s society. For instance, the black experience of the revolution is different from white and Hispanic for several reasons. Black women have been working outside the home for so many generation that the idea of women in the workplace was not revolutionary for them or their men as it was for other groups (Macionis, 1992). Male and female gender roles can also be differentiation according to where he or she lives.


This paper will describe how society stereotypes men and women from birth to adulthood. In this paper male and females will be examined from birth to see why they do the things they do, and, also how or what taught them that. Male and female gender roles in contemporary society are very different; this paper will tell why they re different and why they are alike. Through out life male and female only do what is the norm or what society says is the right thing to do. This paper examines why people accept the concept of others thinking for them. Do male and females think that society is thinking for them? This paper will answer that question, but the research paper is limited to ten to thirteen pages, although that may seem like a lot of pages it really is not. This paper will be somewhat limited in detail mainly focusing on men and women as a whole.

By this research paper not focusing on individuals it focuses on majority of men and women in contemporary society. This paper will also tell why gender involves how societies link human traits and power to each sex. Gender varies historically and across cultures; some degree of patriarchy, however, exists in every society.


In this paper there will be words that everyone who reads this paper might not understand. The following words are: hermaphrodite, transsexuals, sexual orientation, patriarchy, matriarchy, sexism, gender stratification, minority, sexual harassment, meritocracy, status consistency, intergenerational social mobility, and intergenerational social mobility. The term hermaphrodite refers to a human being with some combination of female and male internal and external genitalia. Transsexuals are people who feel they are one sex though biologically they are another. The term sexual orientation refers to an individual s preference in terms of sexual partners: same sex, other sex, either sex, neither sex. Patriarchy is a from of social organization in which males dominate females. Matriarchy is a form of social organization in which females dominate males. Sexism is belief that one sex is innately superior to the other. Gender stratification is the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women. The term sexual harassment refers to comments, gestures, or physical of a sexual nature that are deliberate, repeated, and unwelcome. Meritocracy is a system in which social position is based entirely on personal merit. Status consistency is the degree of consistency in a person s social standing across various dimensions of inequality. The term intergenerational social mobility is a change in social position occurring in a person s lifetime. Intergenerational social mobility is the upward or downward social mobility of children in relation to their parent.

Part II: Literature Review

Historical Background/Overview

The study of gender and its influence on the behavior and personality of males and females has a long history in the field of sociology and psychology. But indeed, sex differences, sex roles, and sex typing form the central core of a number of influential theories of socialization and social behavior. A number of theorists believe that parental influences are important in early sex role socialization, while others believe that cognition might be the salient factor in understanding the acquisition of sex-typed behaviors. The social learning theorists who believe that the parents and significant other adults in the child s life shape gender-role behavior by rewarding or praising gender appropriate behaviors while punishing or discouraging gender inappropriate ones (Mischel, 1966; Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974). These theorists suggest that parents might reward aggressive, assertive behaviors an ignore doll play in their sons. Similarly, they might encourage and reward submissive, nurturant, and dependent behavior and punish aggressive behaviors in daughters. Children may also acquire gender-appropriate learning through imitation of or identification with a model (Bandura & Walters, 1963; Sears, Rau, & Alpert, 1965). Both psychoanalytic and observational learning theorists propose that boys and girls initially imitate their mothers since they are usually the primary caregivers during the early years when genders identity is established. Girls continue to model their mothers behavior while boy s shift to identification with their fathers. To observational learning theorists, this switch is motivated by the young boy s appraisal of the father s power and control over familial resources. This theory suggest that girls become feminine by modeling the behaviors of their mothers, while boys become masculine by their primary attachment figures and identifying with their fathers. The process, through, are influenced by several important factors. Expectations about appropriate gender role characteristics and sexual behavior have evolved markedly during the last several decades. This has been particularly true for women. Tightly constrained and rigidly prescribed gender roles have given way to recognition of wide individual variation in gender role characteristics. The range of sexual behavior acceptable for women has also widened considerably and the sexual `double standard' is now a matter for debate, rather than a certainty (Sprecher & McKinney, 1993). The necessity for women to cling to traditional gender role patterns and sexual behaviors has greatly diminished. However, it appears that gender role expectations continue to influence young women's behavior in sexual interactions (Lawrance, Taylor & Byers, 1996). Gender roles have traditionally been construed as first a one-dimensional and then into one of four categories on the basis of their masculinity and femininity scores: masculine, feminine, androgynous, and undifferentiated. This model has been widely applied and forms the basis for much of our current knowledge about gender roles however, a multidimensional model has recently been proposed (Spence, 1984) which includes "... traits, attitudes, values, interests, preferences, and behaviors. Although there has been considerable support for multidimensional model (Archer, 1989; Orlofsky, 1981), many studies continue to investigate only one or two dimensions of gender role orientation. The present study applies the multidimensional model of gender roles by examining three dimensions of gender roles: personality traits, attitudes and dating behavior. Gender roles have been found to be associated with indicators of mental health. A large body of literature has demonstrated that `masculine' personality characteristics are associated with high levels of self-esteem (Bassoff & Glass, 1982; Whitley, 1983). Healthy ego development and achievement have also been found to related to `masculine' personality characteristics (Taylor & Hall, 1982). Although these findings may indicate that `masculine' characteristics provide women with benefits, it may not be appropriate to unreservedly accept this perspective with respect to sexual matters. Social role theorists suggest that differences in the behavior patterns of men and women originate through socialization processes and the direct influence of gender role expectations (Eagly, 1987). However, evidence has been presented to suggest that differences in sexual behavior between men and women may have an evolutionary basis (Archer, 1996; Buss, 1995; Buss & Schmitt, 1993). According to this perspective, men and women adopt sexual behavior patterns that will maximize their chance of reproducing successfully. For example, women may be more discriminating than men in their choice may and number of sexual partner may because their aim is to mate with a partner who will provide an optimal set of genes to any children of the union. They also need to find a partner who will contribute to the supply of resources needed to successfully raise the children.

Statistical and demographic Information

The proportions of women and men in the work force have been converging, but the work they do remains different. Society has put certain labels on jobs for men and women. By society putting labels on certain jobs they have created gender stratification. Society in the U.S. gives men more wealth, power, and privileges than women. The U.S. Department of Labor (1999) reports that nearly half of women working have one of just two jobs types. Administrative support work draws 24 percent of women who work, most of which serve as secretaries, data entry clerks, and office managers. These positions are often called pink collar jobs because women fill seventh-nine percent of these positions. Another seventeen percent of employed women perform services work. Most of the jobs are in food-service industries, childcare, and health care. Gender stratification in the workplace is easy to see: Female nurses assist male physician, female secretaries serve male executives, and female flight attendants are under the command of male airline pilots. Almost in any field, the greater a job s income and prestige, the more likely it is to be held by a man. For example, women represent ninety-eight percent of kindergarten teachers; eighty-four of elementary teachers; fifth-seven percent of secondary-school educators; forty-two percent of professors in colleges and universities, and sixteen percent of college and university presidents (U.S. Department of Labor, 1999). The median 1997 income for African American women working full time was 22,764, which is 86 percent as much as the 26,470 earned by white women; Hispanic women earned $19,676 just 74 percent as much as white, Anglo counterparts. African American women earned 85 percent as much as African American men in 1997, while Hispanic women earned 90 percent as much as Hispanic men. Combining these disadvantages, African American women earned 63 percent as much as white men, and Hispanic women earned 54 percent as much (Macionis, 1992). These disparities reflect minority women s lower position on the occupational and educational hierarchies, as compared to white women (Macionis, 1992). Further, whenever the economy sags, minority women are especially at risk of unemployment. In short, gender has a powerful effect on our lives, but it never operates alone. Class position, race and ethnicity, and gender form a multilayered system of disadvantage for some and privilege for others (Macionis, 1992).

Contributing Social Forces

Society is a complex system of many separate but integrated parts; gender serves as a means to organize social life. Industrial technology opens up a great range of cultural possibilities. Human power is no longer the main energy source; the strength of men is less significant in today s world. The ability to control reproduction gives women better choice in shaping their lives. Modern societies come to see that traditional gender roles waste an enormous amount of human talent; yet change comes slowly because gender is deeply embedded in social mores. From a social-conflict point of view, gender involves not just differences in behavior but in power. Theorists points to a striking historical parallel between the way ideas about gender have benefited men and the way oppression of racial and ethnic minorities has benefited whites (Macionis, 1992). The conventional ideas about gender promote not cohesion but division and conflict: Men seek to protect their privileges as women challenge the status quo.

Part III: Methodology

The information on female and male gender roles in contemporary society was also collected from a survey. The survey consists of demographics and two survey questions. The questions on the demographics section are: age, gender, race, marital status, income status, religious preference, and how many people live in the surveyor s household. The two survey questions are: does society cater more to males or females, and are men and women s rights equal in today s society?

Part IV: The Findings

The topic on female and male gender roles in contemporary society has taught me a lot but in the process confused me. For example, if women do not like the stereotypes put upon then why do they this accepts it. I am aware of that women have been stratified to think that they should do the cooking and cleaning, but women have a mind of their own too. If women were so concerned about being not appreciated in society why continue to do the things they do. In my opinion women are the backbone of are society. I believe women could live without men but men couldn t live without women. I think this way because women have more of a will to survive than men even if the circumstances aren t the same or equal to men. In the past I never noticed how much our society represses the women. I probably never noticed because most of the people, not just women are black around me. From experience I know that black women persevere and get through whatever they are having trouble with.

Part V: Sociological Point of View

Talcott Parson s sociological theory of gender and complementarities views gender roles in the way most of society views it. Talcott Parsons observed, gather integrate society. Gender forms a complementary set of roles that link women and me into family units for carrying out various important tasks. Women take primary responsibility for managing the household and raising the children. Men connect the family to the larger world, primarily by participating in labor force (Macionis, 1992). Parsons further argued that distinctive socialization teaches the two sexes their appropriate gender identity and skills needed for life. Thus, society teaches boys that they are presumably destined for the labor force. Society also teaches boys to rational, self-assured, and competitive. This complex of traits Parsons named instrumental (Macionis, 1992). To prepare girls for child rearing, socialization stresses expressive qualities, such as emotional responsiveness and sensitivity to others (Macionis, 1992). Parsons explains how society encourages gender conformity by installing in men and women a fear that straying too far from accepted standards of masculinity or femininity courts rejection by the opposite sex. Women learn to view nonmasculine men as sexually unattractive, while men learn to avoid unfeminine women.

Part VI: Summary and Conclusion

Men and women gender roles affect each other. If women weren t stratified to do things like cooking and cleaning all these jobs would come back on the male. In some situations the workload is put all on the women or the man, but for the majority the workload is evenly distributed. In all factors the man needs the woman just as much as the woman needs the man. Female and male gender roles are equal in importance.

Part VIII: Recommendations

In sociologist standpoint male and female gender roles need each other to make society function correctly. The only things that the gender roles could do are: try to make role duties as equal as can be and slowly change way society thinks about gender roles by doing some of the things that society says only one of the gender groups should do.


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