Gender Norms

by Mayu Shibata

Many societies have adopted the notion of gender norms in history. Most of them are such idea as ‘Men working outside the home and women staying at home and holding house.’ Although it is gradually weakening after women’s rights movement, it is still strongly rooting our society in various fields and it’s more likely for developing countries to hold this idea.

The word sex means biological differences between men and women while ‘gender’ refers to just about everything else. It’s related to a custom or tradition. For example, who usually take care of children? Who usually provides the majority of household income? Who usually changes his or her name on marriage? What kinds of toys do boys play with and what about girls? And then, who decided it? If it’s a custom or tradition, what makes them act so is people’s stereotype such as ‘boys should like soccer more than cooking.’ This idea makes us who we are and how we act in a way. If you are a boy, you know how people expect you to act like through talking with mom and dad, for example. You would be likely to be provided with car toys than Barbie dolls. Then you grow up as a ‘boy’ with a sense of a boy. Like this stereotypes and categorizing is everywhere around us and we are tied to them and act as expected.

I, as a woman, don’t think women should be free of house holding and child care even though I won’t be good at it because women have rights to go outside houses and participate in society regardless of marriage but I think biologically women are better at child care in many cases. Of course it’s about one’s personality and we can’t decide which is better but according to physical differences women will do better on average. But I think they at least have a choice. As I mentioned, it’s depend on one’s personality and not one’s sex. On the other hand men who prefer house holding should be welcome and they don’t always have to be the role of working outside. Both sexes have choices. And what suffer them are the stereotypes and categorizing. People see a person who does something different as ‘deviant’ and not all of them are brave enough to take the choice. So I think the most important thing on gender norms is to change the trend. People suffer between own desire and society’s way when they are in troubles. However, they don’t recognize that they are tied to society’s stereotypes until they are in troubles. What is required here is that all people should recognize the unfair restriction and understand that we all have choices of how we live.

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