In what ways might gender affect the distribution of social customs in community?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the final analysis, social customs and their distribution are impacted by gender.  Perhaps, as the previous posts have suggested, the impact to this varies from culture to culture. Yet, there are significant cultural differences between being a man and being a woman.  At some level, choices women have to face are uniquely different than those men have to endure.  This might be where the distribution of culture in communities differs.  In cultures where women work, the issue of having and raising children impact them in a different way than men.  In cultures where women might not have the opportunity to work, there is where differences in distribution arise.  Schooling and education might be another realm where choices are to be made.  At some or any level, being a woman as opposed to being a man is where a differentiation between custom distribution lies.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Let us start by defining social customs.  One way to define these would be that they are behaviors that have become traditional or characteristic to some group of people.

So how would gender affect the sorts of social customs that can arise in a community?

I would have to say that the distribution would be affected by two aspects of gender: the roles assigned to each gender in a given culture, and the relative amounts of power held by each gender in that culture.

So what I am saying is that a culture where men are clearly dominant, say Japan, will have a set of social customs that privileges men.  For example, in Japan it is customary for men to stay out drinking with coworkers late at night.  In the US, where the balance of power is more equal, this social custom does not exist to nearly such a great extent.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Gender and culture is an interesting topic. According to the social theories of Peter Berger (broadly speaking, since he does not address this topic directly), people create reality. In other words, all societies are socially constructed, which includes gender roles. So, we can say that people's view on gender are imprinted on culture. This is why if you go from one place to another place, gender ideas will be different. The answer for this is that people construct society and gender.

Now the irony is this. Even though people construct society, society now exerts pressure on people to conform. This is a paradoxical dialectic. We make something that in turn shapes us. So, I would say that we create gender roles and norms and it directly affect society, but we need to be mindful that these norms also affect us.

Finally, when people move from one location to another, the clash in social expectations are interesting to say the least.

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