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Josue Benavides
English 113A
Professor Ditch
8 December 2015
Growing Up Gender
Rethinking Womens Biology by Ruth Hubbard and Becoming Members of Society:
The Social Meaning of Gender by Aaron Devor, claim that, gender roles affect the developing
characteristics between parental influences, men, and women. In "Rethinking Womens
Biology", Hubbard focuses on the idea that women's biology, is socially constructed through
characteristics and differences; clothing, inequality, and growth patterns. In "Becoming Members
of Society," by Devor focuses on the idea that when individuals grow up and begin to see gender
construction, they see which characteristics appeal to them, and eventually pick what gender
appeals to that particular individual. I will be explaining how gender roles affect developing
characteristics between men and women, and the parental influences that play a role when
children are growing up.
Parental influences play a big role when children are raised to be feminine or masculine.
InRethinking Womens Biology, Hubbard states that, One isnt born a woman, one becomes a
woman. This means that the concept, woman or man, is socially constructed one that little girls
or boys, try to fit as we grow. Parents play a role in this because if the parent's child is a girl, they
will show their child how to perform like a feminine child. When the child is introduced to
feminine characteristics, it will be their job growing up to follow what their parents taught them.
The majority will follow what society has ruled out. I mean ruled out by how society wants male
and females to act. Society wants them to fit in that specific category they belong to. Females

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follow in the category feminine and male in the masculine category. American society has a way
of drawing people into the gender roles without giving them time to think if they really are
feminine or masculine, regardless of what their sex is, but rather on what they want to become.
In Becoming Members of Society, Devor basically says that, when children grow up and begin
to see the gender construction, they see which characteristics appeal to them. When growing up,
boys are given boy toys such as superheros, cars and trucks and sports. Little girls are given
Barbie dolls, princesses and cooking toys. That right there is separating the gender between
them. Boys are introduced to play sports while girls are introduced to feminine stuff like ballet,
painting their nails and other stuff. Generally when babies are born, doctors will wrap the baby
boy in a blue blanket while baby girls are wrapped in pink. Thats to not confuse what sex they
are because many people think its the same as gender, which is not! Also the parents like
dressing their child to their appropriate gender color. A parent wouldnt dress their son in pink
because that would make her son look like a sissy. Parents would teach their children how to
act. Girls get taught to be nice and very respectful, whereas boys are taught to be responsible, to
act like a man. Both articles share a common idea on how parents play a big role when
children are choosing between masculinity or femininity, or they are already taught to be
masculine or feminine by the way their parents taught them to be.
In both articles, it goes into depth talking about the developing characteristics in males
and females. In Devors article, he goes into depth talking about the body postures that define a
masculine person and a feminine person. Hubbard stated, Body postures and demeanors which
communicate subordinate statuses and vulnerability to trespass through a message of no threat
make people appear to be feminine. This means that feminine people keep their arms close to
their bodies, their legs closer together, and their torsos and heads less vertical than do masculine-

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looking individuals. Masculine individuals tend to be loose by being slouchy; legs tend to be
wide open when they sit, basically more comfortable. In Hubbards article, she talks about the
growth patterns between males and females. For example, she begins to talk about the obvious
ones, such as height, weight, and strength. She states that, Until early adolescence, girls, on
average, are taller than boys, but girls growth rates tend to decrease after they begin to
menstruate, whereas, boys continue to grow throughout their teens. This means that girls were
taller than men at one point. For example, there is about a two-foot spread in difference in height
among people in the United States, but a difference of only three to five inches between women
and men. Strength is another example. American society has it claimed that men are physically
stronger than females. Which is true but, now females are starting to go to the gym and workout.
Little by little they begin to get stronger. I have personally seen a young female squat 300 pounds
like nothing. Im a male and I cannot do that. In conclusion, both articles share a common idea.
They both go in details about developing characteristics.
Ruth Hubbard writes about these ideas because American society has many
misconceptions about male and female developing characteristics are very different from each
other when in reality, the differences is not much at all. For example, when Hubbard began
talking about the growth patterns between males and females, she began to talk about the
discussion that is brought up a lot; height, weight, and strength. What people dont know is that
in a time period, girls were taller than boys but when they began to menstruate their growth
begins to decrease, whereas boys, when they hit puberty, they grow taller than girls. Hubbard
addresses the idea of parenting because parents play a big role when their children grow up to
become men or women. Parents will show their daughter or son to become feminine or
masculine by teaching the children the appropriate roles they should follow and off course

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society has the power to make these rules when applied to gender roles. According to Becoming
Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender states that Gender identities act as
cognitive filtering devices guiding people to attend to and learn gender role behaviors
appropriate to their statuses (35). Thus, the parents have learned and mastered the socially
constructed gender roles, and now are passing them down to their children to follow those social
norms. Aaron Devor writes about this idea because he thinks that, when children grow up and
begin to see the social norms, they see which gender identity appeals to them. The majority of
children tend to follow the characteristics that seems right to them. Devor talks briefly about the
idea of body postures, developing characteristics that both male and females have. He writes
about this because he explains how body postures and demeanors define whether that individual
is feminine or masculine. More importantly, both authors talk about these ideas because they
want to state the real facts, not what society says. Society has a way of doing things and if that
individual does not fit on what society says, they will be marginalized. An excerpt from Devors
article states that As we move through our lives, society demands different gender performances
from us and rewards, tolerates, or punishes is differently for conformity to, or digression from,
social norms (35). This basically states that if you dont follow the gender roles that society has
created, you will not be part of the social group, and therefore marginalized.
The common idea can be applied to my life by thinking before I make a decision. For
example, I wouldnt teach my daughter to be feminine. Ill let her decide for herself. I would
introduce feminine to her but not force her to join that category. When I was growing up, I
played dolls with my sister. There was nothing wrong with picking up a doll and playing with
your little sister. My parents did not mind at all, they simply enjoyed it because I was spending
quality time with my sister. Although I am masculine, I also have a feminine side. According to

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society, I am doing gender very wrong by not following the socially constructed gender roles.
Also I wouldnt think that I have more power over a female just because Im taller than her.
Believe it or not, its only a few inches of difference. That is not a lot. I truly believe gender
should be equal for both masculine and feminine people. Just imagine how much we can
accomplish if both genders worked together without being discriminated or marginalized. Not
only will it change the world but also it will change the society we live in.
In conclusion to my argument, I have briefly analyzed both articles and explained how
gender roles affect the developing characteristics between men, women, and how parental
influences plays a role when parents are teaching their children to follow the socially constructed
gender roles.

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Works Cited
Devor, Aaron. Becoming Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender, and
Hubbard, Ruth Rethinking Womens Biology. Groner, Rachel, and John F. OHara. Composing
Gender: A Bedford Spotlight Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2014. Print.