GENDER ROLES ANDINEQUALITIES IN AGE AMPARO, Geraldine O. CONCEPCION, Marianne M. GENUINO, Sharmaine L. TOLENTINO, John Patrick
Sex and Age Universal distinctions , for they are ascribed statuses that arise inevitably from the human condition. Our species contains male and female, and we all grew older from the time of birth to the moment of death.
Every societies categorizes its members according to sex (gender), treating men and women in different ways and expecting different patterns of behavior from them. MEN have been generally the dominant sex, and WOMEN have usually taken this inequality for granted as a “natural” state of affairs, passing it down from generation to generation as part of their culture.
Every societies distinguish among their members on the grounds of age, giving different rights and responsibilities to people of various age categories and requiring them to play different social roles. The patterns of inequality are not so consistent. Traditional societies are usually dominated by old, but in modern societies, the middle aged become the dominant category, and the old sometimes take on the characteristics of a disadvantaged minority.
“WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE GENDER ROLES, BEING MASCULINE AND FEMININE?” GENDER ROLESIt is the patterns of attitude and behavior that a society expects of its members because of their being male or female.
Gender Roles in the Philippines Filipino society assigned to men the role of breadwinner and to women the role of housekeeper. “Man’s World” outside the home was viewed as a harsh and heartless jungle in which men needed strength and aggression. “Woman’s World” was the home, and her job was to comfort and care for husband and children, maintain harmony, and teach her children to conform to society’s norms.
Popular Stereotypes The oversimplified mental images of what men and women are supposed to be and to some extent, it persist. MEN – supposed to be ambitious, aggressive, strong and athletic; should hold back their emotions and must not cry; expected to be sexually aggressive and experienced; supposed to be independent, fit to be a leaders; and, expected to be logical, rational and objective. WOMEN – supposed to be shy, easily intimidated, passive, weak and demure; expected to worry about their appearance and aging; expected to be emotional, even to cry easily; expected to be sexually passive and inexperienced; believe to be dependent, in need of male protection; and, expected to be inconsistent and intuitive.
A recent analysis of personal ads in a major newspaper findsthat men are more likely to seek women whom they view as“sex objects” – physically and sexually attractive – whilewomen are more interested in men as “success objects” –financially secure and well-educated(Ventigmilia, 1982; Sherman and Haas, 1984; Rosal, 1984;Goleman, 1988; Joubert, 1989; Abelos, 2004; Davis, 1990;Palispis, 1998)All this reflects the powerful influence of traditional genderroles, which make men and women behave differently.
Gender Roles in other Cultures Gender Roles viewed as natural, innate and God -given. MARGARET MEAD – (cited by Thio) found striking differences among three tribes in New Guinea. She concluded that human nature is almost unbelievably malleable, responding to cultural conditions, standardized personality, differences between the sexes are of this order, cultural creations to which each generation, male and female, is trained to conform. a) Arapesh – both men and women would consider a feminine way. They were passive, gentle and home - loving. b) Mundugumor - both sexes shows masculine traits. They were competitive, aggressive and violent. c) Tchambuli – sharp differences in the male and female roles . Men are passive, emotional, and dependent, women are the economic providers, doing the farming, hunting, and fishing.
GENDER INEQUALITIESUnderlying these inequalities is sexism – prejudice and discrimination against women.“WOMEN DENIED THE RIGHTS TO HOLD PROPERTY, TO VOTE, TO GO TO SCHOOL, TO TRAVEL, TO BORROW MONEY, AND TO ENTER CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS.”
Sexism It is the belief that women are inferior to men. Even when a man and a woman have the same personalities and are equally competent in performing the same task, she is still likely to be considered inferior to him. A healthy, mature woman is characterized as submissive, dependent, unadventurous, easily influenced, excitable in minor crises, susceptible to hurt feelings, and conceited about her appearance. A man having that characteristics can be considered as unhealthy and immature (Jaggar and Strhul) In general, men are describe as positively – as independent, courageous, and the like – but women are described negatively – as having “sexual timidity” and “social anxiety.” Yet, if they get rid of sexual timidity and become sexually active, which is normal for men, women are diagnosed as abnormal (Goleman).
Sexism can also subtly influence the interaction between sexes. Studies of nonverbal interaction have revealed that men often unconsciously exhibit their superiority to women – and women their inferiority. It also influenced pattern of body language in women’s tendency to speak more politely than men, being more careful to say “please” and “thank you” as they are expected to. It may also produce inequality between sexes by unconsciously biasing evaluation of people’s work.
HOMER – “It made many women to pursue successful careers.”TRESEMER and HYLAND – “Fewer women today suffer from inferiority – perhaps because gender-role stereotypes were vigorously attacked during 70’s and 80’s.”FIORE – “College women believe that men regard women who seek “masculine” occupation at least preferable as friends or romantic partners.”JANMAN – “Successful career women are likely to have marital problems, so they will give up their careers to protect their marriage and family and husband’s career.”MATHISON – “Female subjects described the woman as aggressive, pushy or unfeminine, which they consider to be negative characteristics in women.”
Inequalities can be seen at: EDUCATION JOBS AND MONEYRELIGION POLITICS
Sources of Gender Roles and Inequalities Men and women are different in their genes,Biological Evidence which provide inherited blueprint for their physical development. FEMALES have two similar chromosomes (XX), while MALES have dissimilar chromosomes (XY). Men and women also have differences in their hormones, chemical substances that are secreted by the body’s various glands. The precise effects of hormones have not been fully determined, but it is known that they can influence both physical development and emotional arousal. Also, there are obvious differences in the sexes’ anatomy, or physical structure and appearance. e.g. reproductive system
Sources of Gender Roles and Inequalities Although there are many differencesPsychological Evidence among both individual men and individual women, the typical personality patterns of adult men and women clearly dissimilar in many ways. Psychologists have focused much of their research on very young infants. Babies have had very little exposure to learning situations, and the earlier sex-linked differences in behavior appear, the more likely it is that they are the result of inborn factors.
Sources of Gender Roles and Inequalities Cross-Cultural Evidence The biological differences between males and females seem logically related to the division of labor between sexes. If men are bigger and stronger, then it makes sense for them to do the work that requires strength. And assigning women the care of the home and children may be a logical extension of their biological ability to bear and nurse children. BENDERLY – “Thus, we are born male or female, but we learn to become men or women.”
Gender Inequalities A Functionalist View Functionalist theorists start from the assumption that if all societies encourage gender differences, then these distinctions must have some positive effects for society as a whole. They point out that (at least in traditional, preindustrial societies) it was highly functional for men and women to play different roles. A society operates much more efficiently if duties are allocated to particular people who are socialized to play the specific roles involved. This division of labor need not necessarily be along sex lines – but sexual differences, being rooted in our biology, do offer an obvious and convenient means of achieving it.
Gender Inequalities To conflict theorists, the inequality of men and A Conflict View women is simply another form of social stratification. The stratification of sexes takes an unusual form, however, for men and women are found in equal proportion at every level of the social-class hierarchy – but at any given position, women generally have inferior status to a lower-class woman, but in many aspects, she has inferior status to an upper-class man. Modern conflict theorists argue that men can enjoy superior status only if women have inferior status, and the existing gender-role patterns allow them to maintain their political, social, and economic privileges.
GENDER ROLES TODAY/TOWARDS GENDER EQUALITY Due to WOMAN’s LIBERATION
The WOMAN’s Movement Eradicate slavery Right to vote Education Occupation Social Status Political positionANNIE GOTTLIEB – wrote, “found themselves serving as secretary, mother and concubine, while men did all the speaking, writing, and negotiating – and these were men who professed to reject the ‘oppressive’ ritual machinery of their society.”EGALITARIAN FEMINISM – belief that emphasizes sexual equality by insisting that men and women be treated exactly alike.PROTECTIONIST FEMINISM – emphasizes the biological differences between the sexes by insisting that the unique interest of working women be protected e.g. prenatal care, maternity leave, and child-care services
MEN’s Liberation Freedom in expressing emotion Freedom from social expectation Social Relationships Freedom from competitionJANET CHAFETZ – the degree of gender equality depends on the degree on which women are involved in socially valued economic production. This means that women will enjoy more equality with men if they move into male- dominated, higher-status occupation.
SOCIAL GERONTOLOGY It is the study of social aspects of aging. This sub discipline of sociology examines the influence of social forces on the aged and the aging process, and the impact of the aged and their needs on society. As gerontologists point out, aging actually involves three related processes:1) PHYSICAL AGING - the maturation and other age- related changes that takes place over time in the body.2) PSYCHOLOGICAL AGING - the development and other changes that occur in the personality, including its emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components.3) SOCIAL AGING - involving the various transitions from one social status to another that the individual experiences over the life course.