Femininity, like masculinity, is a social construct that varies across cultures and time periods. In sociology, femininity is often defined as the behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics that are associated with women and girls in a particular society. These characteristics may include traits such as nurturing, emotional expressiveness, and a focus on appearance and physical attractiveness.
Femininity is often contrasted with masculinity, which is the set of behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics that are associated with men and boys in a particular society. Masculinity and femininity are not fixed and unchanging, but rather are culturally and socially constructed and can vary across different societies and time periods.
In some societies, femininity is highly valued and seen as a desirable trait for women to possess. In these societies, women may be encouraged to be emotional, caring, and nurturing, and may be rewarded for conforming to traditional gender roles. In other societies, femininity may be seen as less valuable, and women may be encouraged to be more independent and assertive.
Femininity is often shaped by cultural and social norms, and may be reinforced through socialization, media, and other cultural influences. For example, girls may be taught to be more emotional and nurturing, while boys may be taught to be more independent and assertive. These gender roles can be harmful, as they can limit the choices and opportunities available to women and men and contribute to the perpetuation of gender inequality.
It is important to recognize that femininity, like masculinity, is a social construct and should not be used to judge or limit individuals. Everyone should be free to express their gender in a way that feels authentic and true to themselves, regardless of their gender identity or expression. By challenging traditional gender roles and expectations, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.
Gender Sociology: Definition, Roles & Education
Feminists of the 20th century started to challenge the biologically deterministic ideas of functionalists and fought against the reinforcement of stereotypical gender roles and ideologies. In Sault, Nicole ed. These social restraints are amenable to change—but not easily. Direct and indirect aggression during childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic review of gender differences, intercorrelations, and relations to maladjustment. Within the group, girls tend to be more cooperative and play people-based games. Men who go into nursing tend to specialize in the more lucrative specializations and become administrators. Gendered power imbalances, which are usually based on the ability to amass and distribute material resources, change with rules about property ownership and inheritance.
Peers Peer influences also encourage gender socialization. Although women have fought in wars and are entering police forces and fire departments, the gender arrangements of most societies assume that women will do the work of bearing and caring for children, while men do the work of protecting them and supporting them economically. To the extent that gender is indeed shaped by society and culture, it is possible to change gender and to help bring about a society where both men and women have more opportunity to achieve their full potential. The increasing normalization of cosmetic surgery in many Western countries is also an area that requires more scholarship with regard to its role in amplifying feminine beauty standards among women of all ages. Journal of Men's Studies.
A radical effort at restructuring government has taken place in France—a proposed program for mandating equal numbers of women and men representatives at the national level of government. For a long time, women have fought — and are still fighting — to overcome gender roles and expectations. Archived from PDF on November 6, 2016. Gender and Breadwinning in Dual-Earner Marriages. Muriel Cantor, a pioneering sociologist of popular culture, concluded that all genres portray women as essentially traditional in their desire for romance and marriage and that happiness depends on having a heterosexual relationship 1987:210. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. What we traditionally mean by masculinity is captured in the adjectives, again both positive and negative, our society traditionally ascribes to men: strong, assertive, brave, active, independent, intelligent, competitive, insensitive, unemotional, and aggressive.
What is a normative gender role? The assumption is that the skills, competence, strength, and other qualities needed to do a job are tied up with masculinity and femininity, but gendered identities as workers are constructed in the gendered organization of the workplace and reinforced in training and organizational sociability, such as company golf games and sports teams. In sum, biological evidence for gender differences certainly exists, but its interpretation remains very controversial. To a profound degree, it has changed public thinking and social and economic institutions, but, as we will see coming up, much gender inequality remains. Categories of sex, gender and sexual orientation are very diverse. Professor of English Tara Williams has suggested that modern notions of femininity in English-speaking society began during the :4 After the In 1949, French intellectual Scientific efforts to measure femininity and masculinity were pioneered by psychologists M—F model was adopted by other researchers and psychologists.
What is the definition of gender roles in sociology?
Boston, MA: Beacon Press. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Men, Gender and Development. Anthropologists since Mead and Murdock have continued to investigate cultural differences in gender. Go into a large toy store and you will see pink aisles of dolls and cooking sets and blue aisles of action figures, toy guns, and related items. Furthermore, some research reports a double standard of aging in which women view aging negatively in terms of its impact on appearance, while men are either neutral or positive about the impact of aging on appearance Halliwell and Dittmar 2003. For example, Komter 1989 found that while in most couples both partners claimed that decisions were made jointly, egalitarian relations were in fact very rare, and stereotypical feminine and masculine roles played out by husbands and wives perpetuated gendered inequality in marital decision-making processes.
Polygendered and Ponytailed: The Dilemma of Femininity and the Female Athlete. Gender Inequality Gender inequality takes many different forms, depending on the economic structure and social organization of a particular society and on the culture of any particular group within that society. The SAGE handbook of gender and communication. Feminism, Femininity and Popular Culture. New York: John Wiley. In the Arapesh, then, different gender roles did not exist, and in fact, both sexes conformed to what Americans would normally call the female gender role.
New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education. Their reluctance to self-identify as feminists underscores the negative image that feminists and feminism hold but also suggests that the actual meaning of feminism may be unclear. The Rise and Fall of Communism 1st U. . The Lived Body: Sociological Themes, Embodied Issues. New York, NY: William Morrow. If you are like the majority of college students, you disagree.
At her trial a year later in Canandaigua, New York, the judge refused to let her say anything in her defense and ordered the jury to convict her. However, this correlation does not necessarily mean that their testosterone increased their violence: as has been found in various animal species, it is also possible that their violence increased their testosterone. On a more personal level, some people have structured their families to be gender-equal on every level—domestic work, child care, and financial contribution to the household economy. Thus when we say that a girl or woman is very feminine, we have some combination of these traits, usually the positive ones, in mind: she is soft, dainty, pretty, even a bit flighty. Several studies find that this is indeed the case. The persistence of the Beauty Myth? Between Femininities: Ambivalence, Identity, and the Education of Girls.
The process creates a false consciousness of gender roles being naturally assigned to people. Washington, DC: American Anthropological Association. Femininity and the Life Course The myriad ways that femininity is constructed, manifested, and altered throughout the life course has been the focus of much sociological research. Basic Books, New York. These conceptual problems make it difficult to determine the extent of homosexuality.
Conflict theorists of recent decades argued that women needed to get involved with paid work outside the home to gain power and divide domestic work more equally between themselves and their male partners. Culture and Gender Some of the most compelling evidence against a strong biological determination of gender roles comes from anthropologists, whose work on preindustrial societies demonstrates some striking gender variation from one culture to another. Aimar, and Kerrie J. When women and men work in nontraditional occupations, gender typing is often maintained symbolically, as when policewomen view their work as social work and men nurses emphasize the technical and physical strength aspects of what they do. Religions legitimate the social arrangements that produce it, justifying them as right and proper.