Men vs Women – Gender Roles

Gender roles exist and have existed from the start of humanity. Classically these gender roles look like this:

Female: Soft spoken, caring, motherly, nurturing, supportive, emotional, seductive, submissive and sexy.

Male: Hunter, gatherer, protector, outspoken, dominate, head of home, strong, unemotional and logical.

Now there have always been exceptions. There always will be. While these may be classic stereotypical gender roles, often people will not fit them perfectly every second of their entire life. Humanity is a fluid thing. 

Enter the feminist movement.
Positive: The goal of which was to gain equal rights for women.
Negative: The extreme of which was to consider men the enemy.

Generally speaking this has been a good thing for western society. Over the last several decades women have gained many rights and social acceptability they previously lacked.  Today, modern women can be found attending college, joining the workforce, owning their own businesses, buying their own homes and real estate, taking political positions in government and raising a family without the support of a male.

A women can now go and work on a construction site or in a factory and be given similar respect, pay and benefits as their male coworkers. At least usually. It’s all still a work in progress but has definitely come a long way.

Women today have made strong leads into being fully rounded individuals. They have taken many of the attributes of the classic male gender role and have made them part of what it is to be a woman in the modern world.
Today movies glorify women who kick ass on screen right after saying those cheesy one-liners that their male action star counter parts have also been dishing out for years.
It’s not uncommon to see a women dressed in male clothes doing male things and considered by all to be independent, strong and sexy all at the same time. Danica Patrick anyone?

This is great for society and women. It’s a true evolution of social norms and where the world needs to be headed. There is just one problem…. men are falling behind.

While a modern women today can go out and work a construction job, getting all dirty and being tough and smart all day long. She can then come home to her own house, take a shower, slip on a miniskirt, knee highs and a low cut shirt, don the mascara and lipstick and head out on the town to play the part of a classic womens gender role. In the same day she can slip from one gender extreme to the other and be completely socially accepted for it. Without anyone questioning her sexuality or character. In fact the reverse is true, she is considered a role model for being both strong, independent and sexy.

A man on the other hand, isn’t given such socially acceptable liberties. If a man were to come home from the same construction job and decide he wants to go out on the town expressing a feminine gender role by dressing the same way as the woman in the example above. He is not only looked at strangely by both men and women, but his sexual orientation is also called into question. He also faces the possibility of discrimination and violence.

While things are beginning to change slowly because of the gay rights movement and the creation of the term “metrosexual” for straight men with more style. Neither one of these types are fully accepted into society without ridicule. Even guys who wear guyliner (eyeliner are given a second look by both males and females that’s usually not positive.

If women today are accepted for playing both sides of the gender coin at their whim and not only be socially accepted for it, but also praised for it, then men should be given the same social acceptance to do the same thing.   

EDIT:
I believe that in the coming decades men will give in to embrace their feminine side more and more. Culture and society will shift to where men will pay as much attention to the details of their look and sexuality as women do. I can see it already in the generation right now. Guys wearing girl jeans, eyeliner and paying a lot of attention to their hair.
I can see an entire industry popping up for male cosmetics in certain colors and styles that compliment male features, without being considered female. The same will be true of clothing. Men will still be men and women will still be women, a line will still exist, but the line will blur considerably. Twenty years from now if you were to walk out in public and see a guy in tights, knee high boots and lipstick you might not think anything of it, because it won’t be feminine looking, it won’t look like the same get-up the girls are wearing. But it will still convey the same message; sex appeal.

But what needs to happen is for not only men to accept their inner feminine side, but also for women to stop laughing it off when they see a guy doing it and instead accept it a positive characteristic. A guy who is not only a man but also in touch with his other side. A whole person, just like modern women. His sexual orientation never being a question because of the way he’s dressed.

If you support this idea, then please rec this post.

0 thoughts on “Men vs Women – Gender Roles

  1. i would say it leans more towards the traditional gender roles, rather than their occupations.  the feminist movement is supposed to be more about equal rights and opportunities in the workplace, and not about style acceptance during their free time.  if that same construction woman had a boy haircut, and came home and slipped on a pair of loose slacks and a men’s shirt instead of a miniskirt and lipstick, she’d be met with the same “second look”.

  2. I agree with happyjen85.  Women do get the same “looks” as men do.  Suppose a women has short hair and works on a construction site, most people who do not know her “personally” will think she’s gay.  It happens on both sides, even still.  However, I too know personally that the “women’s right” movement has a long way to go.  Women do “not” get paid the same for the same job a man can do.  The pay is a few cents or even dollars less.
    A part of me actually enjoys the differences between male and female, however when it comes to being looked at as a week, emotionally driven person, it can get to me.  I would like it if women were not looked at in this matter.

  3. Personally, I like my men manly.  I don’t WANT a guy who wants to cross the line into the feminine.  Really.  And honestly, I don’t think many men want that either.  Men are already seen as dominant, independent, etc.  Women can play the man part so that they are seen that way as well.  But a man dressing like a woman is completely different.  It’s not empowering in the way it is for a woman.  Trust me.  I’m fine if they want to, but I doubt there are many that do.  Most men like to be manly. 

  4. While I understand the idea you’re trying to get across (equality on both sides), I can’t help but wonder if we really need to do things exactly the same way to be “equal”.  Do makeup and high heels really indicate sex appeal?  Or is that just because society associates those things with women who are trying to have sex appeal?  Personally, it wouldn’t bother me if a man wore a kilt, even if he wasn’t Scottish.  It would be kind of sexy.  But if he decided to wear his sister’s miniskirt and high heels, I don’t think I would find that sexy at all.

    It seems to me that the more people of both genders try to look like the other, the more sex appeal is lost.

    But I do think that emotions are one area where there needs to be some more equality.  If men were allowed to cry, maybe they wouldn’t have to blow things up so often.  Society needs to stop seeing tears as a sign of weakness.  Personally, I have a deep distrust of men who don’t cry.  In my experience, that means their emotions have only one negative outlet: anger.  And that can be dangerous.

  5. oh, and the miniskirt and high heels aren’t sexy within themselves.  it’s the girl wearing the miniskirt and high heels.  sexy is a confidence.  if she’s timid and nervous while wearing that miniskirt and high heels, it still won’t be sexy.

    and i wouldn’t want to see guys wearing girls clothing, simply because guys and girls are built differently, and our clothes are meant to accent the differences.  so girls clothing accents the hips, narrow shoulders, and waist.  when a guy puts on the same clothes, it doesn’t quite have the same look.  the shoulders are wider, the hips are much narrower, and the waist is most likely less defined.  it’s the way the body is built that makes the look awkward… not entirely the gender.

  6. I don’t know that I have much of a feminine side to indulge…at least, not one that resembles the one you describe.  I personally feel it’s more important that society first learn to venerate the intellectual aspects of existence as much as it does the physical.  Then again, some might argue that the intellectual side IS a feminine side, so…

  7. @happyjen85 – @jewjewbeedragon – I think it depends. It really depends on the woman. I’ve seen plenty of attractive women dressed in men’s clothes and not just yself but many guys would consider it hot. However if the woman looks like a bull dike to begin with, you’ve got a point. Even so society is much more accepting of a women doing these things and dressing this way then say a man.

    @Pterota – That’s your perspective though. Just because you like manly men doesn’t mean it’s wrong for a guy to be more feminine. It too is empowering, just in a different kind of way. But it’s a womens reaction like yours that will make all the difference. If women can’t accept guys who act more feminine at times, and take it as a positive trait, then that’s no good. It’s not fair to say for a woman to act more like a man is a good thing, it’s empowering, but then to turn around and say if a guy acts more like a women it’s a bad thing. By saying that you’re basically saying that females have no redeemig qualities that men should aspire to incorporate in themselves. I just don’t agree with that. I think women have many physical and emotional qualities men should aspire to and women should accept and find attractive.

    @LadyLibellule – It depends. Like I said in my edit section at the end of this post, I think there will still and always be variation. Like makeup styles and colors that men use more then women. It’s more like barrowing aspects of the feminie rather then completely going in that direction. I don’t think it would lose sex appeal at all. If anything it would make more people attractive.

    I personally just think women are afraid of allowing guys to go down this path. I’ve heard some women say before that when their guy wears eyeliner he looks better then they do. Well.. maybe to them, as a female, but other guys are still going to find her more attractive no matter what he’s wearing.

    As for the crying. I’ll be straight up with you. It’s hormonal. Unless guys start taking more estrogen, we just don’t cry that much. Our emotional range just isn’t as wide as a womans. That’s not a bad thing. But encouraging us to try and up our sensitivity is never a bad idea, even if we don’t cry about it.

    @happyjen85 – Not true. Many men prefer women who are more timid, we’re often intimidated by a women who is too confident. Confidence is a thing women find attractive in a man, which is why I could see yourself (a women) finding other women who are confident as being more attractive. But to a most guys, we’d prefer our women more timid and submissive, she’s much more approachable and attractive that way. It’s that whole, knight in shining armor goes to save the helpless princess thing. But if the princess kicks ass herself, what are we even doing there?

    There needs to be a balance in society between the masculine and feminine. It’s like yin and yang. Now I don’t care who play’s which role. As I’ve been saying here, both genders shoudl be given equal acceptability to play either at different times. But I seriously thing that’s why the divorce rate is so high these days. Women are acting more like men and men aren’t allowed to act enough like women, the balance is off. Two magnets of the same pole do not attract.

  8. @roxics – that’s not true either.  i like shy pretty boys.  so i think that defies what you said right there.  also, just because a woman is outgoing doesn’t mean guys think they’re unattractive.  guys might be too intimidated to approach them, but it doesn’t mean those guys aren’t attracted to them.  it works the same way with girls.  when a guy is too confident and outgoing, girls might be intimidated to talk with him as well.

  9. @roxics – It may be hormonal, but I have news for you: men have hormones, too (including estrogen… although that doesn’t appear to be the only hormone involved).  Plenty of men cry.  Just look at the news.  If someone has just bombed your house and killed your children, unless you’re in a state of shock, you’re probably going to be crying.  I don’t care if you’re male or female.

    “Another
    interesting discovery about the content of tears was made by Dr.
    William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center
    in Minnesota. He and his team analyzed two types of tears: the
    emotional ones (crying when emotionally upset and stressed) and the
    ones arising from irritants (such as crying from onions). They found
    that emotional tears contained more of the protein-based hormones,
    prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and leucine enkephalin (natural
    painkiller), all of which are produced by our body when under stress.
    It seems as if the body is getting rid of these chemicals through
    tears. That explains why we usually feel better after a good cry.” [ source ]

    I find it a little odd that you’re arguing so hard for something superficial (appearance, clothes, makeup), while at the same time denying something that’s more important and that does happen.  Now we’re slipping back into the gender roles.  Women cry, men don’t.  How does staying mired in those old ways help us grow, progress, and knock down gender stereotypes (which is what, I’m assuming, this post was all about)?

  10. @LadyLibellule – I’m not against guys crying. Shit I cried at the end of the movie “the curious case of Benjamin button”. All I’m saying is that guys don’t cry as much, or very very seldom because of our chemical balance. Yes we may have estrogen in us, but we have far less then women.

    I’m not trying to put people into gender roles. I’m just saying that chemically we do act a certain way. I can’t tel you how many stories I’ve read about transgendered girls (guys who became girls) who say their mind opened up after being on hormones and they got really emotional and would cry alot. On the flip side a trans guy said the opposite, he (she) got less emotional like a guy would. Doesn’t mean we are incapable of such things, just that we do it far less and often it requires much deeper hurt for us to let it out.

    The reason I cried at the end of that movie is because I hate injustice toward children. It just seemed really sad how he ended up.

  11. I am taking a college course right now that is discussing gender roles in Native American tribes through the time of the Frontier and did you know that the indians were extremely accepting of homosexuality and even had initiation ceremonies for males/females that wished to “switch genders”? “Manly hearted” lesbian women were even given marriage rights to choose a wife and fight as a warrior right along with the guys. They even adopted children and raised them and this was perfectly okay with the tribes. Gay men also switched roles and would dress and talk like a woman and was accepted as such. Crazy that back in “frontier” times, homosexuality was given more equality and acceptance while today they are struggling to achieve that in “modern” times.  

  12. Personally, I would love men to be able to have the same equality that women enjoy in fashion.  I’ve seen some guys in skirts, especially longer ones, and GOD were they sexy!  Just as companies have spent years perfecting the art of “feminine” makeup, I’m sure if the same effort were given towards guys, we would have a positive revolution in fashion for men.  I think the reason why people have such a hard time picturing this is because they’re imagining feminine makeup and clothing on men… but as you pointed out, this probably wouldn’t be the case.  The framework would be there (just like how it is quite common for women to wear pants, but they will usually be tailored to her curves, unlike men’s pants) but it would be made different to work for a man’s physique.  Makeup, for example, would probably be very subtle… color in areas that would bring out the shape and cut of a man’s face, much like how women use blush to make their cheekbones look more pronounced. 

    I absolutely LOVE the idea of men breaking out of the restraint of pants and shorts… GUY POWER!  :o)~

  13. I enjoyed the clarity and interest displayed in this post.  While I agree that men should not have to try harder than women to be accepted no matter what gender role they chose to play and women shouldn’t have to try harder than men, I don’t believe that this idea’s going to come to fruition anytime soon.  Our society is still under the reigns of religion and social conservativism, therefore people have a hard time accepting anything too different from the stereotypical male and female ideals.  I hope that people will learn to be more open minded, which we are seeing in a few instances (such as American Apparell and other “trendy” clothiers making unisex clothing).  Maybe it seems shallow to fight for a right to wear certain clothes and makeup, but in the end it’s more about being accepted no matter what sex you choose to present yourself as, not just the ability to wear skinny jeans and eyeliner. 

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