Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gender Roles

I was talking to a coworker today about one of my most favorite-est topics, gender roles. We were comparing how we were raised, and how our genders affected assignment of household chores. For instance, she was raised with the idea that doing laundry is a woman's job, and so girls should do the laundry for the family to train them for motherhood. I was raised with the idea that laundry is a life skill that both boys and girls needed to learn to do. We both took a moment of silence to imagine each other's lives. Interestingly, she is younger than me by a good 10 years.

I naturally feel most comfortable with how I was raised, but sometimes I wonder...what would it be like to have very structured ideas about what each gender "does?" Is there comfort in that? Is there confusion when all people can be all things? I guess this issue will keep coming up as long as there are still arenas in which women and men are not equally represented (hello, US Presidency and politics in general).

It's interesting to hear what people say on this topic (hint hint). Also, I think that culture plays a huge role in how gender roles are defined. And generation, and religion, and on and on... So I guess another question is, is it possible to separate the concept of gender role identity from that of culture and generation and family environment, or are these strings of identity eternally intertwined?

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