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On eNotes, we cannot actually write an essay for you. Instead, we can help you think of what to put in your own essay. In this case, you need to be thinking about how you, personally, have come to construct gender as you do. In other words, what has led you to have your particular expectations about what it means to be a man or a woman? I will list some common factors that influence our expectations and you can decide which of them apply to you and how they do.
- Parents and family. Our first close-up glimpse of how men and women behave comes from our parents. We watch them and we see how they behave as a man and a woman. They may tell us things about how boys and girls are supposed to behave like “boys don’t cry” or “boys must not hit girls.” Sometimes we accept what they say and sometimes we rebel, but we are typically influenced by them as we construct gender for ourselves.
- TV and movies. When we watch TV and movies, we see many portrayals of men and women. The shows or movies that we watch can influence how we think that men and women are supposed to behave.
- Music and print media. Popular music is full of songs and male-female relations. They can tell us things about how we are supposed to act as men or women when we are in love or when we are trying to get a partner. Print media like advertisements can show us images of what ideal men and women are supposed to look and act like.
- Friends, teachers, and others. People outside of our families of course affect us as well. As we grow up, we look at our friends and we see how they are constructing gender. We observe our teachers and other people and sometimes we also hear them explicitly telling us about what men and women are supposed to be like. We hear the jokes that they tell and the comments that they make. All of these things help us understand how they construct gender. As with our parents, we can accept what they say or we can rebel, but we are likely to be affected in some way.
To write your essay, please look at these possible sources of your own gender construction. Decide which apply to you most, and give examples. That way, it will be your own essay about your own experiences.
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