Gender Roles In History

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Gender Roles in History

Thesis Statement

“In pre-industrial and industrial society "battle of the sexes" was at the individual level, but the social frameworks of this competition were firmly fixed.”


Historians argue that in the area of industrialization, the ??labor and industrial relation is accelerating the destruction of traditional gender and division of labor system, the weakening of dichotomization and polarization of male and female social roles of production, employment and activities. The weakening of the polarization of gender roles does not eliminate the sex and gender differences in the social sphere, especially in such sensitive areas as the ratio of social work and family functions.

In the preindustrial society, the men and women had to "conquer" each other, through the centuries spent gender-specific tools and techniques, but relatively rarely compete with each other on the macro-level. Rival male was another man, and a rival woman was considered as another woman. Each society develops from gender systems of sexual difference between men and women. These "features" are seen as "natural", but in reality are socially constructed. By the rules set by society, everyone learns to play its part male or female. There are no gender roles in the human race, every age creates and transmits its own, depends on the time and place, although there are always persons of either sex who are happy and others who hate their roles (Laurel, pp.12).

In the preindustrial society, most people do not think that men and women are very different, but ideas about the ways in which differences are manifested. These convictions are based on an oversimplification or poor critical thinking called as stereotypes. It is designed masculinity and femininity as two antagonistic elements that are mutually exclusive, is now accepted that in many individuals coexist features of both kinds (Ric, pp. 5).

The 20th century due to the heavy industrialization in particular brought changes in assumptions about gender roles and the deconstruction of prevalent gender stereotyping. These changes were often brought about by activists who voiced dissent with the way that women's experiences were often structured in ways that were assumed to be naturally subordinate to men.

For example, in ancient China, the birth of a son was considered a great joy because it guaranteed the continuation of the paternal line. By contrast, the birth of a girl living as a happy child, if there were any. In fact, the widespread female infanticide in China was a phenomenon that is explained largely by the position of women within the family, the woman was the member most likely to be discarded (even it was often the sale of girls in times of economic crisis).

Similarly, in ancient Greece males spent majority of the time outside their home. Hence, their family life was controlled by the women of Greece. Besides the decisions of rearing, weaving and sewing clothes for the family; the women were in control of other activities and decisions in family. The women of Greece used to look after the everyday consorting of the house. Inside an economic system ...
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