Homophobia And Hate Crimes As A Result Essay # 1 final draft Feb. 3, 2000 There are many definitions of gender in society today, and there are many reasons for these different definitions. To every person gender may have a different meaning depending on personal experiences or depending on how they choose to view it. I tend to lean towards the more typical definition of gender. I see gender as a way of categorizing people by their actions and or physical appearance. Gender is an issue brought up a lot in today’s society, and has been an issue for many years.
Issues such as whether or not women can do the same jobs as well as men, or whether or not women are as smart as men comes up a lot in discussions about gender. In my opinion anyone can do anything they set their minds to whether they be male or female. It is obvious that men and women are different physically, but there is no scientific evidence that says that men are smarter or more superior than women in anyway. This image of women being inferior is slowly disappearing and will hopefully someday be non-existent. I am a very sensitive person and people may attribute that to me being of the female gender, but in reality it doesn’t have to be that way.
People are branded as feminine or masculine by their actions, their emotions, and their physical traits. I find myself defining gender along with society. I myself have stated many times how for instance, women body builders have very masculine builds. I have also made many other similar comments conforming to the way society stereotypes femininity and masculinity. I have never sat back and tried to think of what it would be like if women typically were very muscular like a bodybuilder.
Would the bodybuilding men be considered “very feminine looking”? Society stereotypes people in this way because it is a way to categorize and define people. By saying a woman is masculine it is insinuating that their physical build is not that of the “typical” female. Society’s typical female is definitely evolving, and has come along way but has a long way to go still. Femininity to me is a way to state that a female is very old fashioned. If someone said to me, “she looks so girlie” my first thought would be the girl in question is wearing some little pink dress with lace or something frilly. I think this, because I don’t think of a modern woman when someone refers to someone as feminine.
I also usually think of femininity as a way to describe someone is wearing or how they are acting. A very feminine person to me would be very reserved with very old-fashioned morals, and I may refer to someone of that description as being “girlie” as well. So, in my opinion if someone said that I was a girlie person. I wouldn’t take it as a complement because it really isn’t the ideal definition for a woman of the new millenium. And as a woman I see this as a step in the right direction, it shows how much we have grown throughout history.
We as women have become a more important role in society, and we can now say being weak and quiet is a stereotype of the past. We should be proud to say we are changing for the times rather than being insulted when we are associated with the female of the past. On the contrary men are proud of how they were the “rulers” of the house and the decision-makers in the community. Therefore to men being considered masculine generally isn’t taken offensively. I view masculinity as a very domineering and strong trait, both physically and emotionally. Physical traits often included in the society’s “brand of masculinity” are, large, powerful, and muscular. Seeing someone as masculine in my mind is not insinuating anything bad about that person, though it is not uncommon for people to link together being masculine with being very rowdy or unruly. For the most part masculinity and femininity are used to describe physical attributes rather than anything else.
Unlike how it was in the past, where as there used to be set standards for how a woman could act and look, and for how males could act and look. Now we are setting new standards, and who knows what femininity and masculinity will be defined as in the future. Culture plays a large role in the definitions of masculinity and femininity also; different cultures have set different standards and different roles within their individual cultures. Culture is a way to define different ways of living and different ways of expressing oneself, through morality and day to day life. Culture defines the way that each family or grouping of families lives their lives.
Within different cultures families raise their children differently and therefore are educating their children in ways that are not common to other cultures. This in turn is creating a variety of people, whom each have different histories, or at least interpret their histories in different manners. In some cultures women have the powerful domineering role in the household, and in others it is the male. Within some cultures it may be considered manly to be very insecure and emotional. Where as in our society these traits are generally thought of as being feminine.
Gender plays a big role within all the different cultures, and it is interesting to see what their typical male and female rolls are within the community and the home. Different cultures have pre-conceived ideas about masculinity and femininity, so the definitions may differ depending on which cultures are defining it. Some cultures may see women as domineering and men as very weak and dependent. Different perceptions depend on the background and history of that culture. In the American culture women in history generally acted in a very passive manner, but now women are showing their strengths and who knows what the future holds for defining women in America.