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Understanding the Social Element in Gender Roles Essay

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Updated: Jun 2nd, 2020

What do we mean when we say that gender is a ‘binary construction’?

When saying that gender is a binary construction, one implies that there are two genders, namely, the masculine and the feminine one, and two corresponding types of social behaviour, which are predetermined by the existing standards of masculinity and femininity.

Indeed, if considering the two genders, one must admit that they are in fact the exact opposite of each other. While the masculine presupposes that one possesses such qualities as physical strength and the skills of leadership, the feminine implies a softer and a more balanced self and a personality which is less apt to conflicting.

What are ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and ‘emphasized femininity’ and how are they mutually constitutive?

The term “hegemonic masculinity” implies that in a certain society, the masculine behavior among men and the masculine code of conduct is appropriate and approved of. It must be mentioned that the given type of behavior is directly opposed to the feminine type.

Contrasting the previous phenomenon, emphasized femininity is the type of behavior that presupposes a more feminine-like manner of behaving. In the societies where the homophobic attitudes are driven to nil and women’s manner is considered the standard, men follow typically women-like kind of behavior. However, it must be noted that the given phenomenon should be treated rather as the norm of femininity which is most appreciated by the given culture in the current time slot.

Despite the fact that the two elements are the exact opposites of each other, they still make a single entity known as the gender. Like to parts of a puzzle, the two genders are quite compatible and introduce harmony into the humankind. Thus, the two are completely constitutive.

How is gender something that we ‘perform’?

Performing gender means accepting a certain code of conduct and behaving in the way appropriate for a feminine or masculine gender. Performing gender means wearing certain clothes (for instance, wearing a skirt or a dress means to be recognized as a feminine gender), or acting in a certain way. In addition to the looks and behavior, certain aspects of a person’s life, such as hobbies, a job, etc. can be used as the performance of the role of a certain gender.

Using concrete examples, discuss the ways that gender differences are reinforced through the media.

It is evident that the current mass media is filled with all sorts of gender prejudices and gender stereotypes, which leads to creating even greater gaps between the feminine and the masculine. For example, if speaking about the reinforcement of feminine features, it will be appropriate to consider some of the modern advertisements. If considering some of the sportswear commercials, one must note that mostly men take part in those. However, when it comes to cooking and laundry, women usually play the leading part in the advertisements.

In addition, if considering not only the images themselves, but also the environment around them, one can note easily that women are usually portrayed either in the realm of fashion and glamour, or in the sphere of household. Thus, the stereotypical portrayal of a woman is being built. In contrast to the latter, men are often portrayed either in the sphere of business, or technology, which makes the stereotype of a breadwinner and a scholar as typically masculine field seven more.

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