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Guadalupe Jaimes
Professor Ditch
English 113A
27 September 2014
Prescribing Gender
Gender roles play a big part of our lives. In fact, each and every one of us act upon the
social construction and do gender every day. In the essay, From Women, Men, and
Society by Claire Renzetti and Daniel Curran, gender roles is mentioned along with parenting.
In No Way My Boys Are Going to Be Like That by Emily W. Kane, the same claims are made
throughout the text. Society has a lot of involvement when it comes parents and how they
prescribe gender roles to their children. Parents, whether male or female, develop a clue as to
what theyd like their children to be perceived as. In both texts, the authors demonstrate the ways
in which parents contribute to their childrens gender performance, specifically, when forming
their sons into a masculine being that society expects them to be.
Gender socialization begins as early as in the womb stage or as soon as the child is born.
Color is what gives any object life, however, according to society, color is something that
distinguishes gender. For example, the color blue and pink determine the gender, a boy or a girl.
Of course, everybody knows that pink is a color used by girls and it should only be used by girls
otherwise it would be a nonconformity part by males. The color blue is for boys, but we are so
used to that conformity that it would be misleading if guys wore pink clothes. Why is it that
society makes a big deal when males wear the opposite sexs color? It is because pink is a color
that signifies femininity. Therefore parents follow societys norm and try their best to guide their

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children in the right direction to what is normal in society. Renzetti and Curran state that boys
are typically dressed in dark or primary colors, such as red and blue. Girls are typically dressed
in pastels, especially pink and yellow (Renzetti and Curran 76). The color of clothing depicts
ones gender avoiding confusion and not mislead people into thinking that their children are
the opposite sex.
Parents demonstrate femininity and masculinity to their kids by the way they decorate their
rooms. From decorations, to color, small simple objects are what parents utilize to teach their
kids about their gender. I remember when my mom was at the doctors, about to find out the sex
of her baby. My dad was really excited and nervous at the same time because we hadnt had a
girl in the family for a while, so he really wanted it to be a girl. My dads face was priceless
when the doctor said its a girl. After, we went to Wal-Marts paint aisle and my dad went
directly to where the different types of pink were at. I found it interesting how he didnt think of
other feminine colors such as purple or even yellow. I blame society for being the cause of this
and for being the ones that make us determine what is and whats not appropriate for our
gender. Moreover, it seems that parents want to constantly remind their children about their
gender, sort of forcing them to fit in with societys expectation of gender. Renzetti and Curran
did a big research on the different genders room and concluded that their comparison of boys
and girls rooms is a study of contrasts. Girls rooms reflected traditional conceptions of
femininity, especially in terms of domesticity and motherhood (Renzetti and Curran 81). This of
course leads us to another topic, but first I want to talk more on the conceptions of femininity.
Without really realizing it, parents are prescribing gender since the early years, if not, infant
stages, of their childs life. Teaching their kids about femininity ideas just proves the point that

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society really has an effect on us, especially since its making parents influence their kids and
basically letting society raise their kids.

A common thing also found at the early stage would be the way parents talk to their kids. In
utero, many parents talk to their kids differently depending on their sex. For instance, Renzetti
and Curran claimed that gender socialization actually may begin in utero by those parents
who know the sex of their child before it is born (Renzetti and Curran 76). From personal
experience, girls are talked to in a more sensitive way than boys. From the start, parents are
already educating their kids about their gender performance. Me being the middle child, I had the
chance to see my baby brother and sister be born. When my mother was pregnant with my
brother, my dad would talk to him in an assertive tone of voice. It would be playful, but at the
same time we had a sense of how my dad was going to raise him. When my sister came along,
my dad would talk to her in a softer, gentler, tone of voice while even rubbing my mothers
stomach. Its interesting seeing the ways society influences parenting.
Society puts upon us this thought where we see males as the dominant and emotionless
gender, therefore, we treat them as such. Males are the tougher gender whereas females are
seen as the delicate gender. As mentioned earlier, males arent expected or even supposed to
do feminine things such as crying. In No Way My Kids Are Going to Be Like That, passivity
characteristics in boys are a big concern to parents, mostly the father figure. Kane explained
...the work many parents are doing to accomplish gender with and for their sons in a manner
that distances those sons from any association with femininity (Kane 95). Parents are afraid that
society will judge or torment their kids because they arent following their gender norms. My
dad is one of those concerned parents. However, I could see where he was coming from. My

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father was always proud of his name and raised my brothers in a way that he thought the
Jaimes should present themselves as. He wanted the Jaimes men to be strong and fearless.
My brother Diego was really nurtured a lot by my mom, therefore, he became a very sensitive
boy. My dad doesnt really like that side of him because he easily cries. I thought of my father
when Kane mentioned a male parent who said that he doesnt want his son to be a sissy, he wants
him to be strong, proud (Kane 94). The male parent, including my dad, feel responsible for
crafting that masculinity side of their sons.
As mentioned before, toys also play a big role when it comes to guiding kids to their
corresponding gender. Parents rely on toys to educate and shape their kids in the right direction.
A range of activities and attributes considered atypical for boys were met with negative
responses, and for a few parents, this even included the kind of domestic toys and
nurturance. But more common were negative responses to items, activities, or attributes
that could be considered icons of femininity (Kane 92).
Toys which society creates and makes seem important for a boy to have doesnt include toys
such as Barbie dolls. Rather boys who dont follow societys expectations suffer the
consequences that come with it. Parents also may be judged or even blamed for the childs
nonconformity. Shockingly, however, when girls express a masculinity side of them they arent
judged, in fact, they are sometimes praised. Maybe since females are known to be the weaker
gender, people become enlightened by the idea of a female having a masculine side. Society will
always portray males as masculine and nothing else.
To conclude, as a parent, prescribing gender in the appropriate way is very important. Parents
want their children to fit in and be normal in todays society. What people think of you and their
judgments towards you seem to be the most important thing in life. We dont want to be the

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outsiders so we try to our best to not become one. With the help of our parents and their parental
guidance we all became who we are today and thanks to them we fit accordingly to societys
norm.

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Works Cited
Kane, Emily W., No Way My Boys Are Going to Be Like That: Parents Responses to
Childrens Gender Nonconformity, 91-97
Renzetti, Claire, Daniel J. Curran, From Women, Men, and Society, 76-84 Report of the Task
Force on the Sexualization of Young Girls (American Psychological Association), 268279