The modern world has exposed people to different perspectives on gender roles leading to “doing” and “redoing” masculinity and femininity. I have witnessed “redoing” in my life in women being the sole household provider. According to Oláh et al. (2018), the new role of the female gender has included the dimensions of support responsibilities and economic independence that belonged to the male gender leading to an equal distribution of the obligation to provide for the family. The rise of single-parent family structures has also increased the number of women acting as sole providers in the family. I have also witnessed the sharing of economic responsibilities between the female and male gender in the household rather than the traditional practices where men handled all the financial obligations in the household. For example, the female and male gender can split bills in the household based on their income levels to ease the burden of meeting the family’s needs. In most instances, the female gender may cater for bills such as food expenses, while the male gender caters to larger bills such as rent, electricity, gas, and school fees.
I have witnessed “doing” in the job market, where men still dominate some jobs, such as construction work. Women are reluctant to take strenuous jobs such as construction, leading to the perception that men are better at the job than women. I have also witnessed “doing” in decision-making in households. In many households I have interacted with, men act as a figure o authority and are consulted before making any major decision. In some households, the male gender may make decisions without consulting the other family members, especially if he is respected as the head of the family (Deb, 2015). Therefore, the expectation to act “traditionally” masculine or feminine is stronger in the household setting. However, the pressure to conform to traditional gender roles is less in the professional world because roles and responsibilities are delegated based on a person’s knowledge and competencies, not gender. Therefore, the female gender may give orders to the male gender if they are in a position of authority in the professional setting.
Deb, S. (2015). Gender Roles in Family Decision Making: Results from Indian States. In 18th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis, Organized by Centre for Global Trade Analysis (Perdue University) and Centre for Policy Studies.
Oláh, L. S., Kotowska, I. E., & Richter, R. (2018). The new roles of men and women and implications for families and societies. A Demographic Perspective on Gender, Family and Health in Europe, 41-64. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72356-3_4
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Symbolic interactionists argue that gender is often times something you “do” rather than something you “are.” As such, many interactionists talk about the concepts of “doing masculinity” and “doing femininity.” A related concept that also highlights the performance of gender is often referred to as “redoing” gender. This refers to behaviors that are not typically associated with individuals of a certain sex.
Give a couple of examples of “doing” and “redoing” masculinity or femininity from your own life. Are there particular settings or contexts where the expectation for you to act “traditionally” masculine or feminine is stronger than normal? Can you think of settings or contexts where the pressure to conform to traditional gender roles is less? Explain.
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Kailyn Wilson posted Nov 13, 2022 9:33 AM
Stratification By Gender and Sexuality
I do agree with the symbolic interactionists that argue that gender is often something you “do” rather than something you “are”. I feel like the book did a great job of covering the “doing” and “redoing” masculinity or femininity according to societies roles.
Some examples of “doing” femininity that I have seen in my life is that a women’s role in marriage is to take care of her husband and the kids, basically be a supportive stay at home parent that is only committed to that one man. One of my friends who is Nigerian told me that in his culture it is common for men to engage in polyamorous relationships with multiple women, while the women stay at home and take care of the kids along with staying loyal to that one man that the woman married. It completely blew my mind that polygamy was still active today, but I understood for his culture it was an honor to be married to a man and stay at home with their family. Another example of doing femininity that I have come across of is that women are not supposed to talk to a man in rude manner, you’re supposed to have “respect” for them when talking to them. Quite honestly, the way I was raised respect was earned never given to those who automatically demand it from everyone, no one is more or less than a person.
An example of redoing would be women taking on “men’s” jobs and steering away from gender norms. Women were seen as the housewife, mom, the person to clean and cook for their husband and be a supportive backbone for him, although, as of today all has changed. There are still women who are stay at home moms and play this role, but men do it as well. When discussing the job topic, women are now seen in places where men are predominantly dominating the workplace such as doctors, pilots, engineers, mechanics, etc. women are truly progressing in this century.
A setting where the pressure to conform to traditional gender roles is less is when I am with family, they do not judge me for the person I am as I do the same for them. I feel like family, for me, is the most comfortable I will ever feel with not conforming to traditional gender roles. Unsurprisingly, everyone in my family does what they want, men will cook while the women in my family will sit and chat around and vice versa, we switch roles every so often.