Gender Roles in Todays Marriages
A gender role is a behavior in accordance with the set of certain social regulations. People are addressed by society depending on their sex. This attitude is manifested in the appropriate behavior or gender appropriate appearance, such as speech, manners, gestures, and spheres of activity. Starting from biological and psychological especially-traditional feminine gender role prescribes that women have to be caring, emotional, sensitive, and show interest in problems of other people. Masculine gender role requires action, aggressiveness, domination, and ambitiousness (Neuman). Despite the fact that many studies and social campaigns on the gender roles in family have been conducted, it still remains true that certain stereotypes of feminine or masculine behavior have a firm ground on which they are based (Grossman 747). The issue here is that gender role in marriage affects the well-being and routine of both parties in all aspects of life, starting from the opportunity to be engaged in social life of the community and possibility to enjoy the style of life preferable to the person in their family life.
Origins of Sexism
In the most ancient world religion Buddhism a woman and her husband, in general, are recognized as equal. However, there is an unspoken tradition that secures the spheres of high spirituality for men and defines the destiny of women, first of all, as support of the family and caring for the daily meal (Marks et al., 223). Cultural-historical analysis allows making the conclusion that the current problems of attitudes towards women in society take their origin in the patriarchal religious heritage. It is in religions that wives are under undivided male domination in the public and spiritual spheres, as well as the majority traditional prejudices in the perception of women, assuming a limitation of their activity in life and existing of different rights and opportunities for men and women (Marks et al., 223). Therefore, certain aspects of the gender roles issue are connected closely with sexism in the society.
Modern woman, who has to perform both household and professional roles, is extremely burdened. Completely new roles were added to traditional family-household roles, including the manager of the budget, psychotherapist, and a chief educator (Neuman). The difficulties associated with combining professional roles and family roles, in many cases, affect women as they are not enough represented in creative and rationalizing activities and in the work of public organizations (Neuman). The same difficulties often generate conflict situations in the family. Women traditionally are supposed to take care of children and keep the household clean. This perception, of course, hinders their versatile cultural development and leads to a decrease in their social activity.
At the same time, a family man is also supposed to be involved in the family and household matters, but observably less than his female counterpart. Nevertheless, it puts a pressure on the husband of the family as well, since he has to continue supporting a wife and provide for all the needs of the family. Prior to women working, any income in the family came from the husband and was appreciated (Grossman 749). With women working and fulfilling their feminine role in the family at the same time, the man has to manage to earn more than his spouse, since the opposite situation, although becoming more common, is still considered untraditional. More often the situation is noted that the two parties of the marriage do not even merge their earnings, although that is more likely to be the sign of not being in commitment to each other (Neuman). Nevertheless, the new and more liberating role of the female in marriage opens a discussion on who is supposed to provide for the family. Therefore, both parties suffer from gender stereotypes related to their roles in the marriage.
The most complicated and urgent current issue is that even though women are accepted as an equal part of the society, they still struggle to demand equal rights within their homes. A stereotype that only a wife should be doing the household duties is increasingly vanishing in the mind of a modern woman. Only insignificant share of working women considers that her spouse should not be burdened with the household responsibilities (Grossman 758). The social roles of women and men are becoming mutual and equal, and the change of the former is inevitably entails a change in the latter and vice versa. Nevertheless, it is still quite common that women would be raising the child, cooking, organizing all sorts of family events, and cleaning the house (Marks et al. 227). It means that although demanding unprejudiced attitude from a stranger in workplaces or social events has become usual, the same is not applied in everyday family life.
How to Overcome This Issue
First of all, such inequality in modern families could be overcome through the education system. The issue lies not so much within the educational opportunities for girls and women. In fact, today the number of women is almost higher in total number of both students of colleges and universities, and with special secondary and higher education, than a similar number of men. The issue with education system is rather about the reforms of the educational programs (Grossman 762). Being one of the most powerful mechanisms of socialization, education largely determines peoples attitude to life and, their understanding of it and the values that the society professes. Today the school education from the initial to the final stages reconstructs the masculine-centric picture of the world and, consequently, establishes traditional gender stereotypes. It is necessary to change the curricula and the education system from scratch in such a way that, firstly, the girls, when they study, clearly can see the culture of a womens social group with its specific interests. Secondly, they should not feel themselves as second class people, who are limited and to whom in real life the double standard is applied. The trick is to make girls understand that their family status is not any different from the males, with both parties having to participate in chores and childrens upbringing. Should girls be aware that they do not have to take themselves all that responsibility, they would not happen to be in the position of the oppressed party again (Marks et al. 230). If this goal is achieved and people really move from gender neutral, but in fact masculine education, to gender-oriented one based on the principle of equal representation, humanity will make one more step to ensure a real mechanism for establishing the world with equal gender roles in a family.
Moreover, educational programs should provide women with knowledge about themselves, their role in history, ways and means of survival in the male world, and the strategies for changing this world into a more harmonious state. This goal can be achieved through the identification and exclusion from educational programs any kind of sexist ideas, related to discrimination by the sign of sex. Revision of the accepted in the school education concept of the historical development as a series of military conflicts and political upheavals (masculine) and its replacement by the concept of history as the development of progress of the humanity and human potential (the concept of gender equality) could lead to a better girls and boys understanding of their social roles. Another tool is revision of the literature program, both national and world, with the inclusion of works written by female authors and representing a womans view of the society. Stereotypes in the literature could adversely affect teenagers perception of the society. Introduction of gender-sensitive sections in the curricula, first of all in the subjects like history, human and society, and world art culture is important, since it provides fuller knowledge of all aspects of family life and gender roles in it. Therefore, by addressing these issues, the stereotypes in the society could be destroyed.
Therefore, gender roles are created by the society. Every cultural and historical community still has those specific functions and roles, which a woman or man is supposed to perform. Stereotypes can be changed with the active position on protection of the rights. If the education system assumes knowledge of these rights, then such a strategy is the obligation of each individual to put efforts to implement these rights. Therefore, it depends on each individual whether the principles of gender equality will make the world a better place to live.
Neuman, Fredric. Changing Gender Roles in Marriage. Psychology Today, 4 Jan. 2013, psychologytoday.com/blog/fighting-fear/201301/changing-gender-roles-in-marriage. Accessed 2 Feb. 2012.
Neuman gives a very modern view on todays gender roles in the society. Article shows how gender roles are changing in different aspects of life, including children upbringing, sex, and home chores. Neuman talks about family budget and how earnings are distributed. The article gives an insight on aspects of life, where the inequality and gender stereotypes still prevail. Neuman mentions that both men and women suffer from gender stereotypes in their family lives. In the conclusion to the article, Neuman asserts that mutual respect and communication between spouses can solve these issues.
Grossman, Philip J. Holding Fast: The Persistence and Dominance of Gender Stereotypes. Economic Inquiry, vol. 51, no. 1, 2013, pp. 747-763.
This paper examines the comparative significance of personal information and gender roles in the society and stereotypes when forecasting the risk inclinations of others. For this purposes, a four-part experiment was conducted. The findings of the research indicate that there are still a lot of gender stereotypes in the society and the persistence of these stereotypes is astonishing, both when the gender-relevant and gender-irrelevant data is provided. Results show that in isolation both the gender stereotype and the individuating information form initial forecasts. Therefore, the society is not yet ready to be stereotype-free.
Marks, Jaime, et al. Family Patterns of Gender Role Attitudes. Sex Roles, vol. 61, no. 3-4, 2009, pp. 221234.
The focus of this study is to identify the patterns of the gender roles in family and specify the reasons why these patterns occur. This study reveals how children are preconditioned by their parents to certain behavior. Such preconditioning results in stereotypes, which lead to the establishment of certain gender roles in family in particular, as well as in the society as a whole.