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GENDER AND ITS CONVENTIONAL NORMS

GENDER AND CONVENTIONAL NORMS

Firstly,it is no secret that we live in a patriarchal world where everything goes according to a certain set of rules and if one fails to adhere to these then they are frowned upon. However, it has been so deeply etched in our system that we don’t even realize it. Most importantly, gender as a term has evolved over the years. Moreover, in olden days, there was a considered notion that only two sexes existed in the society i.e. female and male.

In fact, we realize that something is wrong only when we see it happening to others. Further, this might either be on screen, in books or in real life. It is very likely that the same might be happening with us in our life and we may not be aware. 

So what do I mean when I say all this? However, the answer is simple: society and how it has been gendered since time immemorial. Likewise, there are different codes of conduct for men and women. Both are to behave according to the roles and norms assigned to them. 

In addition, there are several parameters which create a gendered society. Let us have a look at some of them.

Language and its use

Since childhood we are taught how to use language. However, i use the term ‘taught’ very lightly in the sense that we learn from what goes on around us. Still,we use language in the way of the upbringing that we receive. 

Meanwhile, it happens that children are taught that you shouldn’t say a particular word of line because that is a word which has a usage by the opposite gender. Consequently for years, the language that we use has been phallocentric. 

GENDER AND CONVENTIONAL NORMS

Indeed Language contributes vastly to the creation of a gendered world because words have power. Still there are some things we say which are insulting to the opposite gender. This is because we have been taught what is derogatory and what is not. Hence, it is essential to be aware of what we say because we never know what might be hurtful. 

Let us look at a very common example. When we say ‘Man has evolved over the years’, we mean humankind as a whole. This includes men and women both and the literal meaning of ‘man’ is not to be taken into account. Consequently, this shows how language has been gendered. 

Traditional norms

In the same way, the gendering of society began more or less with the establishment of civilization itself. The way of life changed from hunter gatherers to that of farming and agriculture for survival. During this time that men went out to work in the field while women stayed at home and took care of the house. 

It has been thousands of years that these set norms are being followed blindly. While it is true that today women are working shoulder to shoulder with men but the percentage is very less. Again a lot of women are still restricted to home while the men work. Among them, the percentage of women who willingly stay at home is really low. Even most of them are forced by some situation or the other. 

With time, there has been a positive change. Now we as a society have realised our faults. With time, more and more women are taking up work outside the house. 

GENDER AND CONVENTIONAL NORMS

Work and gender

Most importantly, the world is opening up for women to work wherever they want. Though it is a welcome change, it does not come with its share of problems. In addition to the work done by women in the house is termed as “not real” work because there is no money involved in it. 

Moreover, the work done by women in corporate offices, multinationals, etc is looked at as being inferior to that of the work done by men. As a result, we have problems like unequal pay for the same value of work done. Workplace harassment is another issue that has been there for quite some time now. 

There are several problems like these when it comes to work. We should work more to eradicate the traditional beliefs that may be harmful for the people. 

Some problems with gender today

Society is becoming increasingly sensitive to gender issues. People have realized the problems when it comes to women’s oppression. As a result, movements and protests have gone up over the years. This is definitely a good thing and takes us closer to gender equality. 

Sadly, here comes the problem. Today, the world has become so involved with women’s rights that a majority of people think that the man must’ve done something whenever there is a problem. Due to this, we have cases where men have been falsely accused of the crime they did not commit. 

This is only one problem. There are many more like this one existing in society. It is necessary to take notice and create a balance.

The concept of 2 genders

Gender as a term has evolved over the years. In olden days, it was considered that only 2 genders existed in the society i.e. female and male. As the time passed people started to realise that such is not the case. 

In this day and age, we have transgenders as well. Society has developed a lot. Earlier, while applying for jobs, education, etc only 2 options were given regarding gender. This has changed now and a third option is made available for people as well. 

We see how we have grown as a society. Our tolerance levels have increased and we have become more accommodating of each other. 

The notion of sexuality 

The gender roles even apply to a person’s sexuality. In the past, a man was supposed to get a woman and vice versa. However the idea that a man could like a man was unthinkable and was frowned upon by society. 

Presently, with the emergence of LGBTQIA community, the idea of various sexual orientations is getting normalized. However,we still have a long way to go because even today, a majority of people are not comfortable with the idea of same sex relationships. 

What should we do about it?

Wrapping up, we see that there are a lot of problems related to gender. Even though we can’t solve all of them at one time, it is possible to work towards a more gender neutral world. In other words ,this means that all people would get equal opportunities in life to do whatever they want. 

In short, as soon as we recognize and correct what’s going on around us, the better it would be for the society as a whole. This is because we only grow when we are united. Contributing even a little might prove to be a lot in the longer run. 

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