In today’s article, we will talk about traditional family roles, non-traditional gender roles, traditional female gender roles, traditional gender roles in America and other countries of the world.
What Are Traditional Gender Roles?
Those are notions based on sex. It is discernment of actions, statuses, rights, and duties of people depending on their sex. They are a type of notions in culture, they are normative, they express certain social assumptions, manifestations in behavior. When it comes to a cultural level, they exist as a certain system of symbols, stereotypes of masculine and feminine features. Such notions are always coupled with a specific regulatory system, which one gets used to and which reflects in their mind and demeanor.
Thus, such notions should be viewed as external manifestations of attitudes that allow others to judge whether someone is male or female. In other words, such a role is a cultural manifestation of one’s identity in a relationship.
Whether one will be a male or female is decided at birth, and then a kid socializes with others and is trained to play in a particular way according to these notions. Sex stereotypes existing in culture have a great impact on kids, largely determining their future sexual preferences.
The notions, regarding the consolidation of love and professional tasks in accordance with sex, are the most common notions that prescribe the standard role-playing patterns. In accordance with this notion, for ladies, the main social assumptions are associated with relationships, kids (mother, housewife), and for men, it is about professional jobs (worker, earner).
Traditional Gender Roles of Men
Such tasks of females and men evolved in the course of history, they were and remain distinctive in all the contrasting perceptions. They differ depending on the economy, politics, religion and all sorts of social aspects of a particular country. Still, we can talk about some conventional family notions, which were passed on for centuries from generation to generation.
In the current culture, the males are usually perceived as the protectors, defenders, workers, brutes, soldiers. They persist, but it’s impossible not to notice that “soft,” even feminine masculinity has been in fashion for a couple of decades. Males are not that much valued for brute power, activity, courage, ability to take risks but rather for intelligence, condescension, restraint, ability to communicate, empathize and care.
Men are associated with dominance, being independent and emotionless, love for mathematics and sciences, love for business and trade, ability to make decisions, ability to talk about sex with other men without any taboo being attached to it.
Traditional Gender Roles of Women
Ladies are commonly perceived as housekeepers, mothers, wives. The public expects of a female to be kind, patient, modest, soft, caring, empathetic, “homely.” But how many ladies in our time are socially active, lively, work on a par with males, often earning more than them? In a lady, not only glamor and care are appreciated but also the ability to earn, efficiency, dedication, resistance to stress, and courage.
The most common role of females in our culture has no name. This role was created and entrenched in our culture a century ago. You can call this role as the "Universal Soldier." From a female, it is required to be a wife, mother, mistress, worker, earner, protector.
Females are associated with being tactile, malleable, soft, caring, empathetic, religious, talkative, fascinated with their own attractiveness, love for arts and literature, need for protection, being quiet and having a soft voice.
Countries with Traditional Gender Roles
The first is Mexico. You will notice an underlying theme with all the following countries including this one. Poverty, crime and low level of opportunity to go hand in hand with having conventional family expectations, Mexico is no exception. They have certainly made some progress over the past few years, but a lot of work has to be done.
The next country on this list is Brazil. Females are seen as the family’s staple, the core. Thus, they face lots of pressure. They don’t have the same rights as females in the more developed countries, ladies face abuse, domestic violence, their education level is low, and females are constantly discriminated against. All of these things are mostly accepted by Mexicans because of their perception of men, who are perceived as being stronger, smarter and wiser than females.
- The Middle East. What hasn’t been said about this region on this particular topic? We will make it short for you and say that females are oppressed there, ladies have to support and obey their husbands no matter what.
- The Eastern European Countries. This region is the fastest developing one, as the social justice movements are getting quite popular there, but still, females face some oppression there, and the perception of family notions is still quite primitive, comparing it to western and European standards. The notions are somewhat progressive, but some work still must be done there.
Have Gender Roles Become Outdated?
Such diversity of notions in various cultures and areas testifies in favor of the hypothesis that our sex notions are shaped by cultural aspects of our lives. Hofstede’s theory states that distinctions in expectations depend on the degree of sex separation in countries or how prominent are certain characteristics in a particular country. Sex notions also depend on historical epoch. I.S. Kohn noted the following, "Conventional system of bisection of notions of femininity-masculinity were characterized by these characteristics: certain activities and personal qualities of sexes differed a lot from each other and seemed to be quite opposite; these differences were sanctified by religion or by reference to nature and seemed indestructible; female and male functions were not only complementary but also hierarchical, females were assigned a dependent, subordinate role."
Many scientists believe that conventional sex notions hinder the realization of the existing potential of a person. This idea was the impetus for S. Bem’s development of the concept of androgyny, it states that one can possess both features of both sexes, combining both commonly female and male characteristics beyond any connection to sex in the context of biology. In terms of psychology, androgyny does not extend to somatic qualities, but precisely to behavior and attitudes. Androgyny is an important characteristic of a person, which determines its ability to adapt the demeanor depending on a situation, it contributes to the formation of resistance to stress, helps achieve success in various fields of life.
That being said, there are scientific reasons for why these notions exist. And they cannot be ignored. The diversification must be done, so as not to isolate a lot of people that don’t want to or cannot comply with the conventional norms, as they should be widened or removed entirely. This doesn’t mean that the conventional family stereotypes are necessarily bad, it’s just that they contradict the desire to have as much liberty as possible in finding oneself. The diversification of sex notions is a gradual process which will take some few generations to truly feel natural and not off-place.
Non-Traditional Gender Roles
Modern life determines the flexibility of the distribution of tasks in a relationship and in civilization as a whole. With the changing notions about ladies in culture, a female assumed the duties that were always associated with males. A female is forced to work to feed her family, and besides, she is still not relieved of her previous household duties. The economic activity has given the ladies more power than they had just a decade ago. On this basis, the role of females in decision-making has increased, in particular, with respect to determining the future of offspring, the distribution of duties in a household, resources and leisure activities. It was unheard-of for ladies to work just half a decade ago, and then it is quite common, and we are gradually forgetting the stereotype that ladies should be paid less than their husbands.
It is now acceptable for men to be anything but emotionless brutes that pay for stuff. Lots of males feel a lot more comfortable in partaking or taking over a process that would usually be done by a lady, whether that is caring for kids, cooking, doing laundry, etc.
As you can see, traditional gender roles in marriage are fading away for a reason. They are now becoming obsolete because of the same sociological factors and needs because of which we have created these traditional gender roles. In today’s article, we’ve looked through many examples of traditional gender roles, including traditional female roles and traditional male roles, analyzed why they are ineffective and what should we accept as normal instead.
We aren't surprised to come to the conclusion that traditional gender roles in society must be either made a lot wider or eliminated entirely. This doesn’t mean that traditional relationship roles are inherently bad, it’s just that the need for self-realization and freedom of expression is a lot more important for people than traditions right now. However, when talking about traditional marriage roles, one should ask themselves about the future of this discussion. What will we consider to be the “traditional family roles” in the near future? What about 100 years into it? What will the traditional women's roles be like?