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Masculine And Feminine Roles In Relationships

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2828 words Published: 10th May 2017

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The transformation of masculine and feminine roles overtime is due to society, genetics, and families. Gender roles stand for the attitudes, behaviours, values, that cultures define as proper for males and females. A change in masculine and feminine roles has altered the perception of relationships in the 21st century. Masculinity and femininity determine the quality of relationships. According to Thornton, Axinn, and Xie the change of perception in gender roles in relationships is due factors such as the level of education, lifetime earnings, religious beliefs, and family history. Thornton, Axinn, and Xie observe that there are emerging cases where couples prefer cohabitation to legalised marriages based on their personal experiences, circumstances attitudes and family history (Thornton, Axinn, and Xie 36). Masculinity and femininity are socially determined components of gender. They define behaviours and characteristics observable in either male or female beings. Many times masculinity is associated with maleness while femininity is associated with femaleness

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Masculinity and femininity being a component of gender is a complex issue. According to Lippa, the concepts surrounding the subject of masculinity and femininity transform over time. Some of the factors responsible for these changes include family influences, biological influences, social influences, cultural influences, peer influences and individual feelings and influences. There is proving that parental socialization of boys and girls in interaction with biological predispositions defines how boys and girls interact with their peers. These interactions determine the femininity or masculinity characteristics that children adopt during their development (Lippa 187). There has been a transformation in the social perceptions of what it means to be feminine. Traditionally femininity entails being nice, submissive, unengaged and reliance. Masculinity and femininity determine the interaction among peers. Masculinity and femininity has also been associated with personal interest. According to psychologists individuals who exhibit masculine characteristics tend to show interest in mechanical and scientific subjects whereas individuals exhibiting feminine characteristics enjoy cultural and art related subjects (Lippa 44).

Lippa argued that there are arguments that femininity is considered good for men and masculinity is considered good for women. This concept stands to explain the evolving nature of masculinity and femininity into instrumental traits and expressive traits. Instrumental traits include independence, dominance, assertiveness, and leadership abilities whereas expressive traits include sympathy, warmth, sensitivity and compassion. The instrumental traits define masculinity whereas the expressive traits define femininity. The instrumental traits explain why there are women who take up huge roles like taking care of the family, pursuing competitive such as managerial positions and politics. Individuals with expressive traits are considered feminine (Lippa 45). Men who possess expressive traits tend conform to feminine roles. Men who possess expressive traits taking up careers that are considered feminine such as nursing, teaching, and art related careers. Men with expressive traits have no problem raising taking care of the family while their women work to provide for the family.

Roughgarden states that culture and society are responsible for imposing on individuals the appropriate way of expressing their sexual identity. According to Roughgarden masculinity and femininity defines appearance, and behaviour humans. Roughgarden states that masculinity and femininity determines how an organism carious out a sexual role. Biologically masculinity and femininity differentiates the the characteristics possessed by males and females. However, Roughgarden points out the cross gender manifestation and behaviour is acceptable (Roughgarden 28). Roughgarden states that masculinity defines the physical appearance of male species as well as their behaviours. Roughgardens idea of cross gender manifestation suggests that if a female possesses male characteristics it is acceptable to refer to her as a masculine female. On the other hand, if a male possesses feminine characteristics it is acceptable to refer to him as a feminine male. The idea of cross-gender challenges the biological definition of gender based on male and female gametes (29).

Bennetts looks at feminism in the traditional marriages where the role of a woman in the relationship was child rearing and taking care of household duties. The man on the other hand provided for the financial needs in the family. According to Bennetts, giving up ones career ambitions for motherhood is a feminine mistake. Bennetts explains that economic dependency is bound to hurt or destroy the relationship (Bennetts132). Bennetts explains that relationships suffer immeasurably in the event of a divorce, a spouse’s retrenchment, illness, or widowhood especially when one party was dependent on another. It is evident that there is an evolving social phenomenon of masculine and feminine roles in relationships. The transformation disregards the traditional concepts of gender roles and adopts an egalitarian structure to explain masculine and feminine roles in modern relationships.

Roughgarden considers the responsibility of masculinity and femininity in facilitating gender sex roles. Roughgarden mention that social selection theory explains the success of sexual interaction among and between sexes. Roughgarden states that an effective social interaction depends on sexual play among or between sexes. According to Roughgarden behaviours such as promiscuity, cheating, competition, are all part of social selection. It is evident that cases of separation, divorce form part of social selection.

Lippa explains that parents serve as role models to their children. According to Thornton, Axinn, and Xie children tend to marry early if their parents married early. It is evident that children cohabit if their parents at some point did cohabit (Thornton, Axinn and Xie 55). These observations point out the transformation of the western marriage. The rise in divorce cases, acceptance sexual minority group all point to the transformation in the society that explain the change in masculine and feminine roles in relationships. For example, the divorce cases result in a rise of single parent family structures where we have a single mother who takes up the feminine as well as the masculine role in the family. The woman becomes a caregiver, decision maker and financial provider in the family. On the other hand, if we have the father taking up the full custody of the children the father assumes a feminine role of being the caregiver, nurturer and at the same time, he retains his masculine role.

Cultural models in the 21st century are transforming and homosexuality has gained acceptance in different societies. The gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups have societal support as well as federal protection that protects them from any form of harm. Desjardins considers same-sex marriage in the United States. According to Desjardins, the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the United States is evident from the wide support the issue has received from the public and politic figures. Desjardin states that there are states, for example, Maine where sex marriage is constitutionally accepted (Desjardins “Snowe supports same-sex marriage”). Lippa explains that the traditionally the feminine role in relationships involves the nurturing activities. Lippa considers masculine and feminine roles in homosexual relationships. According to Lippa, research shows that gay men exhibit feminine characteristics than heterosexual men. On the other hand, it is evident that lesbian women show masculine characteristics when compared to heterosexual women (Lippa 41). According to Lippa, parents and the society are responsible for teaching children on gender roles and behaviours.

Goldberg, Smith and Maureen state that same-sex marriages tend to shift the perception of masculine and feminine roles in relationships. According to Roughgarden, the existence of same sex relationships deviates from cultural conformation of gender relationships. However, Roughgarden mentions over 300 cases homosexual behaviours existent among animals. Roughgarden explains that competition in the animal kingdom explains the rise in cases of homosexual characteristics. It is due o such finding that we note that society has widened its definition of sexual orientation. According to Roughgarden the western society, acknowledge bisexualism, homosexuality and transgendering as normal sexual orientation. The acknowledgement of other forms of sexual orientation has led to the redefinition of masculine and feminine role in relationships. In some cases, men take up feminine roles and women take up masculine roles. In same sex marriages, adopting children to raise a family is a way of experiencing a normal life (Goldberg, Smith and Maureen 814).

Research studies indicate that gay, lesbian; transgender, and bisexual parents adopt children to experience normal relationships like heterosexual families. Studies also show the same sex parents, for example, gay fathers’ exhibit better nurturing qualities than heterosexual fathers do. The same sex marriages provide good example of egalitarian family structures. Goldberg, Smith, and Maureen explains that same sex parents’ value equality and both parents work together, share responsibilities for the benefit of the family (Goldberg, Smith and Maureen 815).

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Lippa explains that there are women who take up masculine roles in modern relationships, for example, the case of single mothers, widowed women, lesbian and transgender relationships. In other cases, involving heterosexuals, lesbians, gay, transgender, and bisexuals’ egalitarianism plays a significant role in the definition of the masculine and feminine roles in the relationship. In such an arrangement, there is an equitable division of roles involving house chores, child rearing and income generation. Children learn marriage, social, and education values from their parents. Thornton, Axinn and Xie explain that studies confirm children learn and adopt values from the family, school and society (Thornton, Axinn, and Xie105). Children who grow up in a family where parents adopt egalitarianism as a means of raising their families will end up raising their families in the same structure.

Bennetts explains that children who have both their parents working benefit from having a secured future in terms of finance and career (Bennetts 98). Bennetts criticises the decision of professional women to give up their careers for their traditional roles as nurturers, home keepers. According to Bennetts, women who give up their careers for the family end up suffering. On the other hand making a career come back is a greater challenge they face later in their lives (Bennetts 102). Traditional marriage set-ups required women to submit to their husbands wishes. However, this has changed with the empowerment of women society now produces women who have a better education, women who compete with men for top paying positions, and women participating in influential activities such as politics. Feminine roles change when women decide to pursue their career. Studies show that women who pursue careers have less time for relationships and families. Those who manage to raise families struggle to balance their careers and being there for the family (Bennetts 125). Although the family benefits from financial security, the mother faces health complications resulting from stress especially if her husband is unsupportive in the provision of primary care giving.

Research shows that women who take up masculine roles like providing for their families influence their family structures. Women who dedicate their time to build on their careers influence the size of their families. Bennet states that it is impossible for a woman to take care of a large family and at the same time pursue a successful career. According to Bennetts, women opt to sacrifice their careers to raise a family (Bennet 32). On the other hand, the role of fathers in the modern families has changed. The masculine role of aggressiveness has evolved to a compassionate and nurturing role. This is evident especially in same sex marriages involving gay adopting parents. In modern families, fathers desire to spend more time with their families. There is the evidence where fathers alter their work schedules to make them flexible in order to create time for their families. Another example of a change in masculine role is depicted in the media where we get examples of male resistance to job relocations this is to avoid separation of fathers from their families. It is common to families where the mother is the breadwinner and the father takes up the role of taking care of the home and rearing the children.

Roughgarden offers a different perspective on the matter of family size form an evolutionary standpoint. According to Roughgarden, the female determines the family size depending on the parental investment she expects to provide. In this case, the female does not consider the male investment. This view deviates for the traditional view where a controlling male determined the family size. Roughgarden explains that a cooperative solution provides a reasonable means of determining family size (Roughgarden 119). A cooperative solution seeks to establish mutual trust among individuals in relations rather that display the masculine qualities of the controlling male. Modern families determine family sizes depending on a mutual understanding between the persons in the relationship. The mutual understanding evident in determination of family size proves the change in masculine and feminine roles in relationships.

When women take up their positions in the work force, their children suffer. The masculine and feminine role of imparting social qualities upon their children is interrupted. It is important for women to perform their role of providing continuous affection and nurturing children at their early stage of development (Lippa 124). However, the women’s fight for equality has rather reversed this role. Children in modern families tend to be left in the care of baby sitters. Lippa explains that parental rearing is important for children to understand socialisation and the differences regarding masculinity and femininity (Lippa 124). The absence of parents during the initial stages of socialisation the children can suffer from mental distress.

Since 2010, there has been a rise of men’s right movements in regions around Europe and the United States. These movements seek to advocate for the rights of fathers, and support the changing masculine roles in relationships. According to research studies, the women have outnumbered men in high paying jobs; it is evident that in the modern family set ups a large number of men are taking up the feminine roles. Women in modern relationships have become assertive and a significant number of men exhibit feminine characteristics. Goldberg, Smith, and Maureen mention cases of transgender who struggle to express their identity. Transgender male or female who get into marital relationships without confirming their identity suffer from the stress of struggling to lead a normal life in their secretive life. Disclosing ones identity enables once to take up the roles that conform to their identity (820).

It is impossible to ignore the societal transformations that play a big role in transforming relationships. The concept that same sexuality destroys a couple’s role in breeding it is evident that same sex sexual orientation promotes friendship. Although sociologist consider homosexuality as a complex social behaviour they view that homosexuality, heterosexuality, transgendering and bisexuality represent diverse forms of human interaction. The modern family set ups provides a perfect example of the changing masculine and feminine roles. However, it is important to note that the masculine and feminine roles both play a significant role in the growth and development of children. Therefore, even with the changing roles it is important for families to maintain their roles as role models for their children. This prevents cases of mental instability that may arise when parents priorities their careers instead of their children’s needs. Goldberg, Smith and Maureen mention some positive parenting qualities that GLTB exhibit society can embrace this and learn on how to merge their masculine and feminine roles to benefit the family.


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