Gender Roles in Family Essay - Sociologists Perspective

It is argued that gender roles are different across societies. In the sociology, nature and nurture have a big impact on individual’s gender. Socialisation is a learning process of the rules of a culture. Some sociologists believe that nature has a big impact on individual’s gender as it is shaped by human genes, but others believe that gender was learned through the process of gender socialisation. This is gender roles in family essay the topic of women and men roles in famyli and society will be considered. 

Most of sociologists refer to the fact that it starts when people are born, get names based on their sex and wear colour coded clothes, room decorations and toys which are related to their sex. Afterwards they get socialisation from peer group, school, family, media and religion.  Sex refers to the biological differences between male and female, for example, body organs, chromosome and others. Gender refers to the features of female and male which are socially constructed. Gender includes norms, behaviours and roles which are associated with women and men. Every person can see oneself as masculine and feminine in society and behave in accordance with their gender which is known as gender identity. However, every society have own expectations that people will have gender which based on beliefs and values, which is known as gender roles. Raewyn Connell wrote about hegemonic masculinity and hegemonic femininity which are ideas about how men and women should behave in society. 

According to the ideas of sociologist Connell, men and women have different roles in family. She refers that women have hegemonic femininity characteristics which means they are weak, non-competitive and it is normal for them to show emotions, but men have hegemonic masculinity characteristics which means they are competitive, ambitious and show little emotion. As a structure, gender divides work in the home and in economic production, legitimates those in authority, and organizes sexuality and emotional life. For example, women should look after children and be responsible for housework at home, but men are liable for bringing the bacon (earn money) and home finance. These examples illustrate that gender roles are sometimes created by gender stereotypes.

Some sociologists argue that gender is based on biological determinations, which means that gender is fixed and shaped by human genetic differences. However, most of sociologists claim that gender is socially constructed which means that it is more fluid and developed by interactions of people. Gender roles refer to expectations of how females and males are supposed to behave in society. Some sociologists believe that natural and biological differences between male and female create different views and skills between them. For example, men are more muscular than women as their body structure is different. Goldberg suggests that a male has “genetic dominance instincts” which make the roles of female and male different in society. For instance, males are more aggressive and competitive than women. Parsons states that sex differences between male and female shape their roles in the family. For example, certain differences between male and female types can be due to the impact of genes on sexual chromosomes, sex hormone levels and the effects on the brain in the early stages of development. All of the aforementioned evidence shows that biological differences between male and female can shape their gender identity and determine their gender roles in the family.

In conclusion, we can see that gender roles within family (and not only!) can be shaped by nature and biological differences between males and females as it makes them see themselves differently in society. Also, gender roles can be influenced by social agencies and cultural choices in society. However, every country has its own culture and different social agencies. For example, Middle East countries have different cultural conditions and social agencies compared to British ones. According to Arab culture, males and females have their own traditional dresses, manners in society and roles which society expects from them, whereas the British culture has different dresses, manners and expectations of society from gender roles. Also, the agencies such as school, peer group, media and religion are shaping gender roles in different ways. All of this evidence suggests that every society has its own culture and social agencies that shape gender identity and roles in different ways.


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  • Reisner, S.L., Greytak, E.A., Parsons, J.T. and Ybarra, M.L., (2015). Gender minority social stress in adolescence: disparities in adolescent bullying and substance use by gender identity. The Journal of Sex Research, 52(3), pp.243-256. [Accessed 20 Feb. 2021].
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10 October 2022
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