Gender roles and the familyhow has the bluring of the gender roles affected the family

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hmmmm, how about a personal experience with our family?  I feel the blurring of gender roles has provided a fairly good balance for us!  Although I would say that my two little girls are certainly entrenched in traditional female gender roles, we consider them to be fairly well-rounded in that we are very proud of their more masculine interests.

For example, my oldest has always shared a HUGE love of Star Wars with her Daddy, ... less interested in the love stories, ... more interested in the rescue methods.  The irony is, her name is Leia (although she doesn't care for that character at all in that she prefers Ahsoka Tano).  Leia also adores dinosaurs and has since she before she could talk.  But you know what Leia likes to do for fun?  Ballet!  My youngest, Annie, is the gal who loves cars.  She loves nothing more than to take her little girlie ponies and figures and parade them along a "parade" of hot wheels muscle cars.  Ha!  Such a great combination of the genders!

Thus, the blurring of gender roles has created a more well-rounded family in our household and a fairly good balance.  Both Mom and Dad contribute to the family by working, ... dad at the lab and mom at home on the computer (on her own time).  Our girls know that any profession is open to them.  However, I always laugh because, knowing our family line, I'd be REALLY surprised if either of them got into sports.  If they do, though, all power to 'em!  : )

justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the views of the previous editors may be true in the context of the US, I think the culture of different places has a large part to play here. For example in India, it is mandatory for men to go out of the house and work. Their role is that of being the bread winner. Though the society is willing to accept women working and playing an equal role in the corporate world, the role of a man as a homemaker is totally unacceptable.

This view of society may be the reason that forces men to suppress any desire they may have of allowing their wives to earn while they take up the complementary roles. A man has to have a dominant role and for this it is essential for him to be one who earns money. A primary criterion that people look for when choosing their marital partner is that the husband is either the only one who earns or would always have a larger capacity to do the same than the wife.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree with #6 as I normally do. For an example from my family life, I can only see the benefits of the blurring of gender roles. I, the man of the house, instead of expecting my wife to be waiting for me to come back from work, dinner in the oven, apron on and cocktail in hand (wouldn't that be lovely!), come back and my children see me washing up, cooking dinner, baking cakes and cookies and cleaning around the house. The blurring of gender roles is something that will hopefully allow them to grow up realising that they should contribute in such household tasks. This is particularly relevant for us as, at the moment, we live in a country which has very clearly defined gender roles and the men do absolutely nothing accept work, and the women are left to do all the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing, which I personally think is very negative.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Generalizations are, indeed, dangerous, as noted by #3, but the mere concept of "gender roles" implies generalization. Once we get past the basic biological role of women leading to childbirth, there isn't a great deal of difference between the roles that can be filled only by one gender or the other.

I think the reaction to the "blurring" of the gender roles in any particular family depends upon how the members of that family handle the changes that may occur. If one partner resents being asked to do nontraditional tasks, that attitude will become apparent and will affect everyone's reactions. If new responsibilities are willingly accepted and carried out in a spirit of all working for the good of the family unit, the new procedures can be of benefit for everyone.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Today the genders roles are not as defined as they have been in the past. Boys are not "forced" to play with army men and girls are not "forced" to play with Barbies. Society seems far more comfortable with allowing children to simply act as they wish.

Another example of how gender roles have been blurred within the family are the more socially acceptable mixed homes of today. Same-sex families are far more common today than they have been in the past.

Being a feminine male or a masculine female is not regarded as "bad" as it has in the past.

Overall, I simply think that people, and families, as a whole are simply more acceptable of breaking the gender lines which have been so staunchly upheld in the past.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't agree that it leads to more confusion, etc.  I would argue that it leads to more happiness.  Fathers feel less distant from their families.  Mothers feel more equal to husbands.  Kids feel that both parents love them.

In the old days, you'd see frustrated mother at home, wishing she weren't so subservient.  You'd have father at work all the time, coming home and ignoring the kids.  This wasn't a happy situation.

Obviously, both my characterization and that of the previous post are generalizations and do not apply to all families in "the old days" or today.  But I think this is the general trend.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe the family unit, contrary to popular opinion, is quite intact.  What the blurring of gender roles (or perhaps more accurately, the changing definitions, with their borders still intact) has done is change how families function, and increased the latitude of differences between how different families function.  While to some degree this has always been the case, now those differences seem to have become more socially acceptable.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way blurring of gender roles has affected the family is in division of labor.  It used to be that the women and girls cooked and cleaned, and the men and boys did the yard work and cooked outdoors.  The men worked and brought home the family's income, and women made less or stayed at home.  Today, this is not necessarily the case. When roles are not as clear, it can lead to confusion, frustration and arguing.

od46 | Student

the target i would like to hit is along the line of metrosexual.  i am wondering if the bluring of the gender roles resulted in metrosexuals and increase in the number of homosexuals, bisexuals and a list of sexually confused individuals lumped in to groups with different names.