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ENEOTU MACLEAN JACOB CUFP (ENGINEERING) GROUP A 02/08/2010
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS ARE MORE IMPORTANT IN SHAPING GENDERS ROLES THAN BIOLOGICAL FACTORS.

The issue of gender roles have arguably become rigid in our society today and this inability to change has created gender inequality in the society. Differences between men and women have become excuses for one gender to be considered or seen as superior to the other, but what rea lly is responsible for shaping these differences? Nature (biology) versus nurture culture (culture and socialization) has been an ongoing debate in our society as to which one really shapes gender roles more. While some believe that biology plays the larg est factor in shaping gender roles, I think that social and cultural factors are more important in shaping gender roles.

First, in many cultures boys are encouraged in the acts considered to display male traits; and girls vice versa through the toys given to children ; guns for boys, dolls for girls, the kind of discipline meted out, the jobs or careers to which they might aspire and the portrayal of men and women in the med ia. The process of differential treatment of girls and boys begins the minute children are born. Adults describe infant girls as ³delicate,´ sweet,´ or dainty´ and hold them carefully. By contrast, boys are perceived as more active and are described as ³bouncing´, ³sturdy,´ or handsome´ (qtd. in Hamilton McCubbin an d Barbara Blum Dahl, p 26) . Children learn their gender roles from birth. They learn how they should behave in order to be

the Mudungumor and the Tchambuli by Margaret Mead. all three of the tribes or societies would have had similar gender temperament amongst them. In some culture. One of such mass media is television. in the Arapesh tribe. like the Arapesh. the Mudungumor and the Tchambuli´ (Hamilton McCu bbin and Barbara Blum Dahl. on the other hand. while men are nurturing. providing a framework for what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. and themselves. some . For example. peers. adventurer . Both men and women were aggressive and violent. The Mudungumor. women are more aggressive than men.perceived by others. culture and society. According to a study about the Arapesh tribe. rogue. then how can one explain the vast differences in the lives of people in some culture . 11) . controlling and were not nurturing. teachers. p 20). as either masculine or feminine. a cultural anthropologist. For example. the role of the mass media as an agent of socialization can not be overemphasized when it comes to how the media shapes gender roles. They were caring. men and women were gentle in nature. had gender roles been biological.with heavy doses of violence´ (Barbara Kantrowitz and Claudia Kalb par. Throughout their life this is reinforced by their parents. Television presents to its audience a certain image of the world. there were vast differences in these three cultures. even though there may be a biological factor as to why women are nurturing as argued by those who believe that biology plays the major role in shaping gender roles. The men were dependent and emotional. ³If biological distinctions dictate our behaviour .warrior. it can be inferred that. The women of Tchambuli were dominant. were quite the opposite. The cultural ideals boys are exposed to in movies and on television still emphasize traditional masculine roles . Second. Furthermore. cooperative and responsive. From this study.

I still believe that these arbitrary factors are more important in shaping gender roles compared to those continuous factors. emotional.television programmes still adheres to sex-role stereotypes presenting women as dependent. domestic care -givers. discontinuous and sporadic. even though the innate drives of mankind plays some role in shaping gender roles because innate biological drives are continuous while cultural and societal forces are arbitrary. Depicting a society in this way has disturbing implications of what kind of world children believe they are living in. Portraying the sexes in such traditional roles can influence what opportunities children see for future work and what sense of self respect and pride they have . . In conclusion. while men are the supporting 'bread winners'.

Kalb Claudia and Barbara Kantrowitz . ." Newsweek magazine (1998): 11. "Sex Roles. 20-26. "Boys will be boys . 1985.Works Cited Dahl Hammilton McCubbin and Barbara Blum." Marriage and family: Individual and Life Cycles.

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