Gender Roles in Our Society

I personally believe that heterosexuality is the original to homosexuality,despite Judith Butler’s Arguments. I think that men and women were the originals, and homosexuality is a “copy”. I think that the fact of procreation alone speaks to the question of which came first.. If homosexuality came first than why are homosexuals not able to procreate? I think that our society has built up some ridiculous constructs around what it means to be a man or a woman, straight or not.And, I could be wrong..but this is just the opinion I hold to.
On another note, I understand the concept of gender- neutral clothing for children, so that parents don’t feel that they are forcing an identity on their children that they may not want. However, I must ask a question relating to this. If parents don’t teach their children gender roles, won’t that burden fall on the media and peers and other people? If kids are learning who to be from people that are a far cry from being their parents, doesn’t that put them in an even more vulnerable role than if the parents are teaching them these lessons? It sucks that this is the case, but if we don’t take into account the influence our society and media have on our children I feel we’re being a bit naive. I could be way off base with this though- as I’ve never had children and I have no earthy clue as to how I would deal with any of these gender role topics as a parent.
After reading both Butler’s chapter and Jonathan Swift’s poems, it was very clear to me that both of these authors seem to agree that gender is a social construct; something that we are taught from an early age and have the ability to “put on” and “take off” in a way.
Butler talks about how terrible gender roles are for our society, and how “Masculinity” and “Femininity” are things that shouldn’t belong solely to a man or to a woman. She Asserts that “There is no ‘proper’ gender, a gender proper to one sex rather than another, which is in some sense that sex’s cultural property.”
In “A lady’s dressing room” and “a beautiful nymph going to bed,” Swift describes the ritual that two different women go through in order to get ready, and at the end of the day all of the masks are taken off, and underneath is a disgusting, horrid creature. In
A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed” Swift writes
“Now, picking out a Crystal Eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.
Her Eye-Brows from a Mouse’s Hyde,
Stuck on with Art on either Side,
Pulls off with Care, and first displays ‘em, [15]
Then in a Play-Book smoothly lays ‘em.” Swift is describing some of the acts that a woman is going through in taking off the “mask” and revealing her disgusting, dirty self underneath.
Butler’s book helped me understand Swift’s writing in that Butler went into great detail in describing the gender roles in our society, which transitioned to Swift’s poems very smoothly- because they were merely vivid examples of the gender roles in which Butler is referring to- the “masks” that women put on.
In terms of gender roles, i’m torn. In a way, they can be frustrating to me. I’m an avid kayaker that works at a kayaking and camping store, which can be perceived as something that’s masculine, or belonging to men. So when I tell people about where I work, some people can assume that I’m masculine or or something, which is considered an unattractive quality to many people. As a straight individual that loves the outdoors, that’s often hard for me.
Yet, I enjoy going out, wearing makeup and getting dressed up. I enjoy the ability to “feel like a woman” (thanks Shania Twain) sometimes. I think that Butler has some correct ideas in terms of gender roles in our society, but I also infer that she would like to eradicate all “gender roles” and I think that pushes the concept a little too far. I think that as a society, we should be less expectant of gender roles and embrace differences, but I also think that some things about gender and sex differences are important and should remain. I think that our society has loosened up compared to that of the 18th century in terms of gender role expectation; especially in our generation. I think we’re more open minded and accepting than any other generation before, but there’s still a lot of room for change.

Jonathan Swift, “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed”

Judith Butler, “ Imitation and Gender Insubordination”


3 thoughts on “Gender Roles in Our Society

  1. Christianna,
    You did a very good job explaining and I liked how you incorporated examples from your own life. To be fair I need you to answer the question, is “heterosexuality” the original of “homosexuality”? After that question is answered I can give you the “S”.

    Grade: U


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