Gender is not being a male or female but rather a social construction of roles given to men or women to follow in both their public and private lives. These roles are of big importance to society because many times they define what a person believes they are capable of achieving. The sad truth is that these gender roles tend to glorify men and demonize women. The problem with gender roles is that they demonize women and create toxic masculinity, which hurt society. Women in society have been taught from a very young age that their roles are to be at home, cook, and take care of the kids. Parents are the ones who are responsible for teaching these roles from a very young age.
As soon as parents are told what sex their child is they begin to decorate their rooms with “boy” or “girl” colors and toys. As children grow up the roles begin taught intensify. A girl might be given a doll or kitchen set and a boy might be given a car or a gun as toys. The toys given to girls teach them to care for somebody else and to love cooking. On the other hand boys are given toys that are considered tough. Although, “learning to behave in accordance with one’s gender identity is a lifelong process… by the age of two, children usually understand that they are members of a gender grouping and can correctly identify other members of their gender.” (Devor) As girls grow up and become women the gender roles are reinforced.
Sadly, some women actually believe their role as women is to be at home taking care of the kids. The problem with gender roles is self-evident. Women are not getting farther in life because they believe in these gender roles.
The use of gender roles is hurting women and we should put an end to these teachings. Toxic masculinity is how the gender roles taught to men have caused aggression and violence to all genders. In society those “who exhibit “a manly air of toughness, confidence, and self-reliance” and “the aura of aggression, violence, and daring,” and who conscientiously avoid anything associated with femininity are seen as exuding masculinity.”(Devor) As a man, you are expected to be emotionless, fearless, and aggressive.
These gender roles are hard to follow and many men do not have these attributes. Sadly some men have taken these roles to seriously and have caused a sense of toxic masculinity in them that has led to violence and the death of others. For instance mass shootings across the United States have almost all been caused by men with an exception of three.
Most men who are responsible for these shootings believed that they deserved a better treatment and decided to get “revenge”. It is obvious toxic masculinity causes a sense of entitlement in men due to the fact that “nearly 30 percent of mass shootings have occurred in workplaces, typically by disgruntled (male) employees.” (Wright) Men are much more likely to shoot someone if they feel they are not being treated correctly. The gender roles being taught to men are clearly affecting them negatively. As a result, boys should stop being told to be tough or aggressive but rather understanding in order to end this toxic masculinity. In conclusion, gender roles are socially taught to both men and women, the issue is that these roles tend to diminish women by teaching them to serve men and cause toxic masculinity in men which has led to mass shootings and deaths of many. Gender roles hurt both men and women. For this reason, we should put an end to the teaching to children of gender roles.
Ending the oppressive teachings that women serve men would increase the motivation and success in women and teaching boys to be more understanding and compassionate to others would see a decrease in the amount of violence.