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Influences of gender roles and behaviors (Reaction Paper Sample)


I need a response paper to any topic that has been discussed in the class(gender,sex and religion). Prof wants us to"reflect on material that is presented in the class.Engage with idea,argument,specific position that has intrigued you or challenged you,something that you may agree or may use personal pronoun "I".you should develop your ideas coherently and not just simply stating what you like or dislike.if you use references make a footnote that gives details of this source"
After watching a movie "Codes of gender" where the author brings to our attention that the way we behave in society,dress,and want to present ourselves has nothing to do with biology but with gender codes and expectations that are put on us by that society(female roles vs. male roles).and it also reflects largely in advertising and commercial industry where women presented in the way that society wants them to be.The same goes for males.It made me think of my own behavior as a female and how a lot of things that I do in terms of dressing,talking,body language, probably didn't come from my genetic sex,but most likely has to do with a mixture of commercial industry and social influence. It is so deeply in me that I don't even question this behaviors.So it made me curious on where did all started?where did we as society came to the conclusion that women should present themselves as powerless,defenseless,gentle,soft etc. and males should be strong,masculine,powerful?is it because of the religion(if yes,then is it religion influenced our view or did society at the time influenced religion),is it our obsession with sex, is it because females bare children and therefore considered to be weaker?Because there's also societies out there where females take role of hunting providing and men take care of the kids.Anyways that what I was thinking of,however maybe you(the writer) during the exploring of this idea will stomp upon different things.

Influences of gender roles and behaviors
Course title:
Influences of gender roles and behaviors
Religion has a considerable effect on gender and sex in contemporary society, and it strongly influences how men and women behave. Sex is essentially understood as the physiological or physical distinctions between females and males, including their secondary and primary characteristics. Conversely, gender is understood as the cultural or social differences associated with being female or male (Henslin, 2009). Gender can be considered as a social construct since it does not exist naturally; rather, it is a notion that is created by societal norms and culture. The position that has intrigued me is that the behavior of people in the contemporary American society is largely influenced not only by media, advertisements and commercials, but also by religion. I agree with the idea that how men and women behave is influenced by gender codes as well as standards or norms that have been created by society, and not influenced by biological sex. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the topic of Gender, Sex, and Religion.
In the film Codes of Gender, the author brings to the attention of the viewers the way people behave in society, the way they dress, and how they want to present themselves actually has nothing to do with biology. Rather, it is influenced by gender codes as well as expectations that are put on them by their society – male roles versus female roles –, and it is also reflected largely in advertising and commercial industry in which women and men are presented in the way that the society wants them to be. This left me thinking about my own behavior as a woman and how a lot of things that I do in terms of body language, dressing, and even talking perhaps did not originate from biological sex. Instead, they resulted from a mixture of both social influence and commercial industry.
Religious attitudes and beliefs have a significant impact on gender identity, and in most instances foster stereotypical beliefs against women and bring about gender discrimination. Power (2011) observed that religious influences in a society as regards the view of sex and gender can be well described with the concept of institutionalized sexism. Whenever a given society has certain norms, people who live in those societies would develop similar viewpoints and will behave accordingly. This is evident, for instance in Muslim nations and with other religious groups. People have the tendency of conforming to their religious group and they would do the same even when engaging in behaviors that are discriminatory since they want to blend in and become accepted by their religious group – normative conformity (Andersen, Logio & Taylor, 2005).
Religion certainly has a major influence on how men and women should behave in society. In Muslim societies for instance, men and women are required to behave appropriate to religious, cultural, or social codes – gender roles. These are formed in order to differentiate between what is regarded as feminine or masculine – gender. It is of note that these gender roles are, in essence, learned within a given cultural and social context, and they are affected by both economics and education (Gallacher, 2013). In actual fact though, gender roles in Muslim societies usually affect women adversely and in so doing impede their self determination in several areas such as their status in the family, their socioeconomic status, their life expectation, independence, health, rights and freedom – gender bias (SafraProject, 2013). Even though the Koran views both women and men as equal in human dignity, this ethical or spiritual equality has not been reflected in a lot of Muslim laws. Muslim women, for instance, do not have the same rights of making independent decisions regarding their choice of marriage spouse, getting a divorce, as well as custody of their children. The key to this challenge has been the reinterpretation of some verses in the Koran which it seems privilege men over women thereby reinforcing gender roles (SafraProject, 2013).
The Christian religion teaches that a man and a woman are equal before the eyes of God given that both were made in the image of God. It teaches that the man should lead, protect and provide, and the wife has to respect, submit and serve as a helper and her role in the society entails caring for her family and children. If a female would like to obtain the same status as her husband with regard to setting rules for the children, then the woman is seen as defying God himself (Gallacher, 2014). Over the years however, gender roles have loosened considerably, especially from the role that women’s liberation movements and feminism have played. In essence, unlike the Islam religion, Christianity is not very radical regarding gender roles in society. Nonetheless, the fact that in Christianity men are expected to be protectors while women are expected to take care of the household and be submissive has greatly influenced the society. This is because men are now supposed to be strong, masculine and powerful, and protect their women, whereas women should be soft, docile, subservient, gentle, defenseless and powerless who are protected by their men in society (Aronson, Wilson & Akert, 2011).
In essence, how men and women behave is based on standards or norms that have been created by society. As people grow, they learn how to conduct themselves from those people who are around them. In this process of socialization, children are usually introduced to particular roles which are commonly associated with their biological sex (Power, 2011). In most societies, masculine roles are normally associated with dominance, aggression and strength, whereas feminine roles are normally associated with subordination, nurturing as well as passivity. Henslin (2009) observed that gender socialization typically begins at birth, and it takes place via 4 key agents of education, family, mass media, and peer groups. The society today is very quick to outfit girl infants in pink and boys in blue. Over time, repeated socialization leads both women and men into a false sense that they are in fact behaving naturally instead of following a socially constructed role.
The expectations and attitudes that surround gender roles are based on overgeneralizing or stereotypes with regard to the traits, attitudes, or behavior patterns of men or women, and not on any natural or intrinsic gender distinctions. It is of note that gender stereotypes generally form the basis of sexism, which means the biased beliefs that value one sex over the other sex. Sexism differs in its severity level. In regions of the world wherein women are significantly undervalued and underrated, young girls might not be provided with equal access to education, healthcare, and education as young boys (Power, 2011). Unequal treatment of women, although illicit in America when practiced as discrimination, pervades social life. Discrimination because of sex takes place at both the macro-levels and micro-levels. The American society is known to allow for some level of flexibility as regards the acting out of gender roles. To some degree, women may assume certain masculine roles and men may take on certain feminine roles devoid of serious repercussions. Gender roles greatly shape a person’s behavior.
Studies have revealed that children are actually aware of gender roles when they are aged 2 or 3 years, and at the age of 4 or 5 years, nearly all toddlers are strongly embedded in culturally apt gender roles (Aronson, Wilson & Akert, 2011). Parents usually give their daughters dolls and dress-up clothes which promote role-play, social proximity, and nurturing. Conversely, boys are supplied with superhero paraphernalia, toy guns, and trucks, which are in fact active toys aimed at promoting solitary play, aggression, and motor skills. Studies indicate that toddlers would most probable choose to play and occupy themselves with toys that are gender apt even when there are cross-gender toys around. The reason for this is that parents give their toddlers positive feedback in the form of physical closeness, involvement and praise for behavior that is gender normative (Aronson, Wilson & Akert, 2011).
The impel to conform to feminine and gender roles persists later in life considering that women are inclined to outnumbering their male counterp...
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