Sociology EssayRaymond MontezIntroduction to sociologyGender Relations: How do ideologies and institutions reproduce and maintain gender inequality? What contemporary norms are associated with the socially constructed traits of “masculinity” and “femininity”? Give examples of the traits and the various institutions that maintain these norms. How are dominant notions of masculinity and femininity in the U.S. racialized? How does this intersection help maintain both sexism and racism? 2019 Summer-2nd 7 WeeksDr. Ziyanak In the united states gender relations are usually defined as unequal or unfair in how they affect the lives of females and males. Resent movements have even started to fight to blur the line between male and female, introducing other genders and pronouns for those genders. The world has changed a lot from even a decade ago with the relationship between men and women and how we define those differences in gender and sex. However, gender inequality still exists and is often promoted by some ideologies or even institutions such as businesses or schools. The ideas behind this gender hierarchy are often viewed as nonexistent or “in the past” but the divide between female and male has never been so great, while at the same time so confusing. In this paper I will show how ideologies or institutions maintain gender equality, the socially constructed norms that are considered to be traits of masculinity and femininity and how this intersection has been used in the united states to support and maintain sexism. Gender inequality in institutions or ideologies is not as big of a problem as it used to be with more companies hiring a wider range of people and having more of an incentive to promote diversity, but it still is a problem in the united states and other countries. No one is born with the idea that they are worth more or better than anyone. Therefore, the problem associated with gender inequality lies in the type of education provided for the people in the country or people who believe in some ideologies. For example, in the Christian religion the bible says “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety”(1 Timothy 2:11). This is one of the most taught, if not the most taught book ever and it describes women as subservient to men and thus promoting the implementation of gender inequality. Teaching this material shows young kids its acceptable to treat women as inferior. Often times if a child is taught this, they will grow up to teach their kid and this cycle will continue. Not only does this effect the child of the adult who is teaching but the kids who are potentially at the same school or on the same soccer team could be venerable to the same negative teaching, thus spreading the idea of women being inferior. Learning is not only from adults. In some cases, the media can influence the thoughts of people, especially in children. The objectification of women in magazines and television is still a large problem. It is easier to look in a magazine and see a woman in little to no clothing than it is to see a woman working in business or science. This is not to say that the empowerment of women is an overall negative movement, but it is just an observation that a child may see and believe this is what women should be looking to do with their lives. There is not as many positive influences for young women as there is for men. Although there are certainly more constructive influences now than there was before. This is not only a problem in the united states, this problem extends throughout the world with a lot of ideologies promoting inequality between genders. According to Michael Ross in the article “Oil, Islam and Women”, “In the middle east fewer women work outside the home, and fewer hold positions in government, than any other religion in the world.” (Ross, 2008, 107). Ross says this is due to the fact that women are less likely to work outside the home because the oil industry reduces the number of women in the work force. He goes on to conclude that the key to finding equality for women is getting more women into the workforce. This makes sense with the improvements we have made in the United States because of the fact that the gap between the amount of men in the united states work force and the number of women in the work force has decreased. There are still more men than women working outside the home but the difference between them is not as significant. This improvement can also be seen with the change in the number of women leaders we have in politics and other mainstream areas such as media and sports over time. However, there are still some injustices in how women are treated in the workplace and how women are paid relative to how men are paid. Men and women have different social expectations in acting feminine or acting masculine. It is obvious that we as a society have agreed that men are supposed to be masculine and women are supposed to be feminine, but most people find themselves somewhere in the middle displaying both masculine and feminine traits. Masculine traits are usually associated with being tough, strong and not showing emotion. While feminine traits are being kind, loving, and soft overall. With these traits there are social norms that are supposed to be displayed depending on which gender you belong to. For example, a man is supposed to work and make money to support his family and a woman is supposed to stay at home to cook, clean and take care of any children. This was more common in the past, but the idea is still held by some today. Although as touched on previously there are many more women working out of the home now. Another example of this is how female children are expected to play with baby dolls or “Barbies” while males play with toy cars or nerf guns. The expectation is that males will like something mechanical or something that is “cool”, but females will lean towards playing with something they can care for and show love too. These norms are practiced by most in society and are reinforced by society and institutions. In society women and men are expected to do different jobs and same jobs are considered feminine or masculine. For example, the position of a nurse is typically female with 92.1% being women according to the United States department of labor (US Department of labor, 2003). Another example would be the construction worker who is typically a male with women only making up 11% of the construction work force, with most of these jobs being behind a desk and not actually on a site (Williams, 2005). This goes back to what was previously stated about how men generally will work with their hands and women will prefer to provide care. In the profession of nursing men are discouraged by society to pursue this career because it is seen as a feminine one. According to an article written on Nursing Times Brian Owens, an ex-nurse, said he faced some “doubts” form people. He goes on to say that this is due to the lack of knowledge about what nurses do. For women it would seem the answer why women are not in construction is because they do not have the physical strength to perform the required jobs. Unlike nursing, construction is a job that requires a level of strength that on average women do not have. This is not to say that women cannot do construction, because some do and I’m sure they do a great job. This is just noting that the male and female body are built differently, to complete different goals. This is a gender norm that can be seen in almost any physical activity from power lifting to tennis. In the united states these masculine and feminine traits previously discussed are radicalized by the reward system in place for following them. For example, as a male we are encouraged to be strong, emotionless and fearless. In other words, we are told to be “alpha males”. An alpha male is the idea that humans are pack animals such as wolfs. In every pack there is an alpha who is considered the leader. The alpha is in charge of protecting the group as a whole and keeping the pack growing. This makes males strive to fill in these stereotypical male roles. Therefore, men will try to be ultra-strong or ultra emotionless to fit into the stereotype even if this is not who they actually want to be. The social reward of being judged as a strong man and leader is seen too be to great to pass up. Females also suffer from the same type of radicalization of traits. For females these traits can be physical in what is socially considered to be attractive. Females are exposed to high beauty standards and are told to try to live up this standard. With the way women are presented in media, such as television or magazines, it is hard to live up to this standard because the girls in these forms of media have the access to money and photoshop. Therefore, women often will change or exaggerate feminine features of their body by undergoing surgery or using makeup. For example, in 2018 the top cosmetic procedure according to the American society of plastic surgeons was breast augmentation with 313,000 procedures. That is 55,000 more procedures than the runner up which is liposuction, a surgery that can reduce the risk of lots of illnesses including death.The divide between the sexes is not helpful in improving society. Especially because it causes tension and disagreement where there should not be problems. It is an overall negative when any part of society is treated unfairly. The division of us as a people can contribute to all negative aspects of life, because we are forced to pick a side. When as side is chosen the focus is not how we can improve life for all. It is shifted to how can I improve the lives of the people I agree with. We as humans have the responsibility to treat all with respect and when this responsibility is neglected it gives room for other areas of inequality. This means that the implementation of sexism can lead to the acceptance of racism, and the implementation of racism can lead to sexism. The two go hand and hand along with all types and forms of discrimination. This cycle is an unfortunate one but the divide between males and females only makes this worse.In conclusion, gender inequality is something that is still dealt with by women every day. The problem is multiplied by the teaching of old ideologies and the practices of institutions that are built to keep a divide between men and women, including us as a society. The setting of gender norms and formation of gender stereotypes also helps to widen the divide while also creating teams for each gender to be apart of. Thus, creating the normalization of discrimination that encourages all forms of inequality including racism.
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