Gender is a social concept that identifies culturally prearranged responsibilities and roles that both sexes are expected to follow. Men assumed superiority over women and preserved it through domination across the centuries. Consequently, women have perpetually maintained a lower status to men in the United States. But the degree of disparity between the sexes has changed across time and currently women are closer than ever to being somewhat equal to men. However, there are still detrimental theories and ideals in society that preserve the unequal treatment of women.
There is no doubt that men and women are physically different. The distinction between the secondary sex traits can be easily seen and measured. Unfortunately, a number of other differences between men and women are distorted through a stereotypical lens. Women have traditionally been viewed as possessing nurturing and caring characteristics. Therefore, their main focus in life ought to be watching over the home and children. This designated occupation is associated with domesticity and as a result their work is economically undervalued.
Men on the other hand hold the role as the breadwinner and are thus more valued.
This domestic view along with the Hunter-Gatherer model and women’s physical and psychological differences are among the least convincing theories and ideas that attempt to explain women’s lower status. Man the Hunter Woman the Gatherer theory is based on the evolutionary perspective that men acquired nutritious meat for their group. Also, they learned the importance of cooperativeness while hunting which is tremendously important in modern day society. Women, on the other hand, took care of the children and because of that obligation they gathered vegetation.
The theory suggests that women did not bring home more nutritious food then the men. Therefore, gathering came second to hunting and women came second to men. According to the model, “all advances in human physical and cultural development were led by men” and without their contributions the group would not survive. A number of findings suggest that this theory is very inaccurate and is easily disproved. Contrary to the Hunter-Gatherer model, women played a very important key role in the development of human behavior.
Studies found that there were no divisions of labor in the early times because there were little to no easily recognizable physical differences between males and females. In addition, researchers weren’t even sure meat was apart of the early human diet. They suggested that their meal mainly consisted of vegetation foods and the little meat that was eaten in the earliest stages was not even hunted it was scavenged. As a result, the vegetation the women gathered played a tremendous part in the early human diet and hunting wasn’t an important factor in survival like the theory said it was.
Women had more of an impact in prehistory than the Hunter-Gatherer theory described. Due to women’s inferior physical capabilities they are not allowed in certain positions in the military that require an immense physical ability and are frowned upon for even wanting to fight for their country. There are no doubts that on average men are physically stronger, taller, and heavier than women. “Military studies document that men have advantages in upper body and leg strength, cardiovascular capacity, and lean muscle, which make men more fit for physically intense combat”.
Nonetheless, some women are capable of meeting the same standards created for men. In addition, a number of women surpass men in strength. The Military uses the protection myth to support the physical strength argument by depicting women as being the “weaker sex” who needs to be protected from the “risk of being raped and physically violated at war”. Unfortunately, women don’t need to go off to war to be treated in this illegal manner and men are just as likely to be treated in this despicable fashion. These are among the few examples that try to attempt to explain women’s lower status.
These are all unsatisfactory as well as bogus ideas that are easily overturned. Women might not be as big or as strong but they do have strong characteristics that make them great at something. Many people believe that across time and in different cultures men have perpetually been the key provider for the family and the leader in politics and economics. This idea is solely based on the fact that men are biologically stronger, more aggressive, and naturally more dominate. Findings in the Vanatina, Agta, and Tuareg cultures prove that elsewhere in the world there are civilizations that have a relatively equal division of labor.
These three cultures are strong examples that demonstrate that women are just as valuable as men in a society. Vanatina is an island in the southwest Pacific with a small population that has not been influenced by western beliefs and ideals. The men and women in this culture were rather close to being equal. In fact, women and men gained status alike by “successfully exchanging ceremonial valuables. ” Women and men could both host large-scale feasts commemorating the dead that included hundreds of visitors. Vanatina is a horticultural society that depended on extensive gardening techniques.
Everyone could own property to grow their gardens but it was a “senior woman, or women, who got everyone organized. ” The sexual division of labor in this culture was divided up by certain tasks that were thought to be appropriate for each sex. Interestingly, this way of division overlapped immensely. Both men and women in this culture were considered equally important and women contributed just as much as men. Agta is a hunting-gathering civilization that is located in eastern Luzon, mostly along the western Pacific coastline.
Women in this culture are significant suppliers to their families well being and hold a significant amount of authority in decision making within the group. Also, women participate in all the same survival measures that men do. They trade, fish, gather plant foods, and hunt when it is necessary. The Agta women that are located near the Malibu River are “expert bow and arrow hunters” and “seek the full range of prey animals. ” Field research suggests that women participated in black smithing, a predominately seen male activity, and produced their own arrows.
In this culture there are specific male and female activities but there is a considerable overlap between the two. Each person does what he or she are best at and contribute to the fullest. Tuareg nomads live in and along the borders of central Sahara. Even though there are varying degrees of this culture woman typically possess significant rights and privileges. While Tuareg men must veil their faces women do not. Also, women in this culture are not sequestered and have a substantial “social and economic independence and freedom of movement”.
The division between the sexes is at a minimum and because of this they meet in common areas and socialize. In some Tuareg groups Islamic scholars attempt to control women somewhat more by placing a huge importance on virginity. But even then women are still allowed to own property and are not secluded. The Vanatina, Agta, and Tuarge cultures are all specific examples that disprove the belief that in every culture men are the main providers for their families. In each of these civilizations there is a relatively equal division of labor and women contribute a substantial amount of effort to make sure their families survive.
Each of these cultures doesn’t trouble themselves about woman’s physical differences. They do what needs to be done and work as a team to hunt, garden, or fish to put food on the table. Gender ideologies are specific views about roles and responsibilities that attribute to both men and women in society. These prevailing views have shaped biological, archaeological, and cultural explanations of gender difference by driving us to look for evidence that only supports our cultural views of gender differences. The differences in gender build human identity and social relationships.
However, biology is not the determining factor in the development or progress of the contrast between both sexes. Also, biology does not justify the inequalities in men and women’s positions in life. Over the past several decades the disparity in women’s opportunities in society has changed immensely, but customary stereotypes remain roughly the same. The main idea that women’s main task in life is to nurture and the inequality in the work force is due to the incapability of women to keep up with men is solely based on an incorrect gender ideology.
There is a popular belief that all females instinctively know how to care for their young. If this were true then all females would have a natural maternal instinct without learning it from someone else. On the contrary, every female on this planet does not have a natural maternal instinct. If every woman did there wouldn’t be an enormous problem with child neglect and abuse in the world. Therefore, a maternal instinct it is not a biological it is a false belief that is imposed on women. Women must be taught or showed how to care for young children.
Archeology is an important field because it is suppose to supply an objective perspective on the era before organized writing. Archaeologist’s main goal is to deal with “empirical facts in a way that avoids distortion caused by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations”. Since archaeologists cannot see the people centuries ago in action, communicate, or know what their rituals were like of course there will be biased opinions about the men and women’s roles and the differences of gender in the past.
It is easier to inflict your own view upon another culture than it is to dig deeper figure out how life in prehistory was really like for both men and women. Archaeologists are tasked with finding tools or artifacts and they must determine which gender made it and how it was used. More than archaeologists would like to admit they misinterpret the use or attribute the artifact to the wrong gender based on preconceived notions. At the Indian Knoll dig interpreting the use of tools was a very perplexing task. Men are usually associated with hunting, fishing, and making tools while women gather food and take care of the children.
This stereotypical view steers archaeologists into misinterpreting what tools were actually made for and by whom. In our culture there is a huge double standard against women. It is unacceptable for women to do some of the same dirty work that men do. If a man is sleeping around with different girls he is seen as cool but when a woman does the same thing she is seen as promiscuous. When a woman is the CEO of a company and is strict she is seen as a female dog but when a man is being harsh he is just doing his job. There is a double standard that has been going on for so long in this culture it may never end.
Thankfully women have overcome these obstacles that society has put before them and has become stronger. Gender ideologies have influenced and shaped societies view on the way that both sexes should carry on with their lives. These views have influenced biological, archaeological, and cultural explanations for specific gender differences. But these explanations for gender differences are not satisfactory. They are based on old ideologies that need to be upgraded. Society today is breaking new ground and there are many men and women going against popular beliefs and stepping towards new territory.
Cite this Gender Difference in Society Today
Gender Difference in Society Today. (2016, Sep 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/gender-difference-in-society-today/