Is ‘Gender Roles’ an outdated term?

In the 21st Century, is it time we ditched the stereotypical roles that are expected of our genders, or are they a necessary tool to represent the differing sexes?

What is a gender role?

A gender role is a set of societal norms dictating the types of behaviors which are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality.

If I say pink, most of you will automatically think ‘girly‘, or strong to represent the male sex, as society and the world around us has taught us to think as such. Even my choice of colour for the words was a reflex based on what I have been taught all my life. But there comes a point when gender connotations can instead become damaging, and maybe it’s time that we realised it isn’t so easy to distinguish an individual purely by their sex.

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If we look back in history, prior to the 1920’s colour held no place in determining whether something should be suitable for males or females. And yet in today’s society it is the norm to view something as unsuitable if it is not decorated in the right colour for your gender. But this is more than a merely materialistic statement – there is a deeper rooted issue, and that is whether trying to mould an individual to fit their gender norm is stopping them from reaching their full potential as a person. Expecting an individual to fit into a box is exactly the thing that stops them from being individual, it gives the impression that anything that is considered to not be the ‘normal’ way of that gender somehow leads to them being questioned for their choices.

When you really take your time to consider certain gender expectations, they often don’t hold much weight. Boys can cry, girls can be astronauts, none of these things make you less of a person, in fact they make you more of a human. If we strip away these generic expectations, we can encourage more people to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

We are the youth that should be demanding more, more equality, more opportunities and more respect – regardless of who we are. Gender roles are based on historical views, but it’s time to create your own future, and live up to be the person that you want to be, not who you ‘have’ to be.

Give us your view – is it a necessary part of society? How much impact to gender expectations have on you? Or should we rid our society of the idea that we can only fulfill certain objectives?


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