Gender Roles

547 words | 2 page(s)

Gender roles are the beliefs about the behaviors and characteristics of men and women. Stereotypes for children, just as for adults, are based on four main components: role behaviors, occupations; traits; and physical appearance (Martin, Wood & Little, 1990). For each of these components, there is a male and a female role associated. Gender stereotypes are passed down to children via adults and are learned ideals developed from how other adults perceive gender roles. Girls are dressed in pink and yellow, play with dolls, and are sugar and spice and everything nice. Boys are dressed in blue, given trucks and cars to play with, and made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs ‘tails, as the 19th century nursery rhyme describes. Other gender stereotypes are moms who cook, clean, and do laundry, while fathers work and provide for the family. Even television shows and commercials portray this nuclear family image of traditional male/female roles.

In 21st century society, the roles of male and female are no longer black and white extremes. There are many fathers staying home and acting as primary caregiver, while the mother is the bread winner. This is evident is the same sex household where there are either two mothers or two fathers providing and caring to the entire family, and sharing the responsibility. Steering children into a role based on whether they are a boy or girl is an ideal that boxing the child into a limited and confined mindset. Men and women should take the time to be the main, day-to-day caregiver, as well as being responsible as the bread winner in order to perceive the work involved in both roles. Another option is to equally share the responsibility so that each person is able to pursue their passion, as well as being a spouse and parent.

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Learning about sex
People use and experience sex, not only for pleasure and procreation, or to relieve sexual tension, but as a way of connecting with another person. People engage in sex for psychological reasons (Meston & Buss, 2007). Sex can create intimacy, and relieve feelings of loneliness. Emotionally, people engage in sex for love, commitment, and expression of love. People engage in sex to connect with others, and feel attractive and desired. In the media, sex is often portrayed as a goal to attain, dominating others, forbidden, and as an expression of attraction and love. Media outlets use all these factors when showing the power and desire of sex. There is a balance to how television shows sexual relationships between people.

Sexual Response Cycle
During the orgasm or third phase of the sexual response cycle, both men and women find the actual orgasm unattainable. One reason that the third phase is not reached can be due to performance anxiety. Men and women want their partners to have a good experience and be a good lover; yet the pressure of performing can make prevent them from actually letting go and enjoying the moment. Communication is key to alleviating performance pressure. Couples should be relaxed and trust each other in order to reduce performance anxiety.

  • Martin, C.L., Wood, C.H., & Little, J.K. (1990). The development of gender stereotype components. Child Development, 61, 1891-1904.
  • Meston, C.M., & Buss, D.M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36(4), 477-507.

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