The Resilience of Stereotyped Femininity essay sample



The place of gender roles in the modern American society became quite unstable over the last two decades. Yet at the end of the twentieth century, sociologists reported in their research that gender stereotypes and perception of traditional norms of masculinity and femininity remained stable from 1974 to 1997. The previous statistics, however, indicated that a considerable change in the gender role of women happened right before that period, between 1964 and 1974. Again, at the beginning of the new century, we observed another modification of traditional gender roles which affected the life of women and sexual minorities.

Social perception of femininity remained stereotyped even during the second and third wave of the feminist movement. Even now society prescribes certain bipolar traits to represent men and women performing their roles. Femininity encompasses being passive, dependent (not necessarily on money or accommodation), self-critical, submissive, and acceptive. Masculinity is revealed in acting competitive, aggressive, hard, and self-confident. The two categories were created by society to construct the framework for social interaction. In the biological sense, masculinity and femininity are not realistic as most representatives of the two sexes normally possess these features combined.

Changing social roles predict that gender categories will remain resilient even if gender roles transform. Even society which moves away from gender stereotypes strives to underline how much feminine traits male individuals contain and vise versa at some point in the history. Labeling is essential in the society which got used to the binary opposition in gender. It is still important for individuals to define their belonging to one of the two gender groups.

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