Gender can be viewed as distinct personal traits that are used to differentiate men and women, basing on the biological orientations. Gender identity on the other hand denotes an individual self-identity and is not essentially determined by one’s biological sex, rather perceived by the individual perceptions. Gender and gender identity play a significant role in the definition of gender roles (Kiger 48). Therefore, gender roles can be viewed as the combination of the behavioral attributes that a society deems suitable for persons of a particular biological sex. Gender roles are subjective to different cultures of different societies. The subject of gender roles has been under contention for a long duration. Considering the current nature of the society, it would be appropriate if gender roles were based on biological sex rather than gender identity and an individual self-identity. This argumentative essay attempts to analyze the pros and cons of gender roles.
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Proponents of gender argue that gender roles were primarily based on biological sex, rather than societal perceptions towards the specification of behavioral and social aspects towards a particular sex. This means that assignment of gender roles are predetermined by ones biological orientation and therefore gender roles can be said to reflect the ways that some roles in the society ought to be done. For instance, the domestic set up was a distinctive reserve for females in a given society, on a similar account; the men were also responsible as sole breadwinners in the family. It can be argued that such distinctions play a pivotal role upholding the masculinity and femininity of individuals. Specifying gender roles with a consideration of biological sex is essential because people are awarded social roles and behavioral characteristics that suitably match them. Consider a case whereby there are no distinctive gender roles in the present societal context, there will be no well-outlaid structure in the domestic set up concerning the allocation of roles at the various levels. Picture a man taking care of the household, while the woman is out fending for the same family; it just does not seem right under every measure (Lee 102).
In such a case, the man is more likely to be subservient to the women, which under any account is not justified. The biblical principles and the societal settings cannot allow the occurrence of such as scenario. This outlines how it is significant to uphold gender role depending on biological sex orientations. Opponents to gender roles are of the view that, despite such justifications, there are scenarios wheeby such norms are not justified, depending on the societal context and the nature of the domestic set up. Consider a case where the man is not capable of fending for the family, yet the woman has the capabilities to do so. It would be totally unwarranted not advocate for the reversal of roles in the domestic setting. In such a case, the man has no alternative but to assume the roles of a woman, and so the woman takes the role of a man. In addition, the reversal of gender roles in such as case eliminates the theory that is normally argued that gender discretions favor the males at the expense of the women. There is also a number occasions whereby women are compelled to play the roles of men. Cases such as of single parenthood warrant the relinquishment of specification of gender roles. Therefore, rendering the customary gender roles void in that context (Lindsey 126).
Those who support gender roles perceive the increase of the same-sex marriages because of ignorance of gender roles in the present times. Such marriages are deemed unethical basing on any principles that govern the relationships in s society such as the constitution, religious backgrounds and the societal customs. Same-sex marriages are because of lack of adherence to the stipulated gender roles that distinguish men from women and vice versa. Despite same-sex marriages being unacceptable in the present societal context, it is increasing primarily due to ignorance of the gender roles. People engaging same sex marriages do not take heed the need to put into consideration the distinctive roles of a man and a woman. In itself, same-sex marriages serve as a way of undermining masculinity and femininity because, in such marriages, there are clear distinctions concerning who assumes the feminine roles and who assumes masculine roles. According to the gender role theory, there should be differences in physical characteristics that are used to differentiate the two sexes. Basing on these, roles are assigned depending on the physical body orientation, for instance a woman has the biological ability for child bearing, therefore, compelling limitations in their participation in most social activities (Kiger 45).
Same-sex marriages do not put into consideration such physical differences, and there are no assigned gender roles basing on the physical orientation of the human body. Consider a case of gay marriage, there is no clear distinction between who has to perform gender roles that are based biological capacities such as child bearing. This implies that laying emphasis on gender roles is valuable in cases of marriage, towards the elimination of the same-sex marriages. In due course, the society expects that both man and women conduct themselves in a manner that depicts their biological sexes and according to their gender roles. Contrary to the stipulated views, opponents to gender roles argue that despite the society upholding and advocating for gender roles that are based on biological sex, its effectiveness in the elimination of the same-sex marriages is questionable. Same-sex marriages have been argued to be one of the ways through which gender disparities in the domestic and societal context can be reduced. Same sex marriages can also be justified basing on a number of biological theories that attempt to explain attractions towards the same sex. In addition, gender identities are usually based on a person’s self-identity rather than biological orientation. Therefore, same sex marriages can be justified in some cases provided the self-identities of the couples are different, and they have different gender roles basing on their identities (Lee 90).
The current dynamic societal context requires distinctive gender roles that are not based on the changing cultures and modernity. Gender roles are diverse and are primarily influenced by culture, dressing, personal relationships and other factors. It is crucial to categorically state that gender roles that are not socially constructed tend to place a given sex in a social context that is deemed effective for that particular sex. It is arguably evident that gender roles reveal the most ideal and desirable social and behavioral behaviors for both sexes at any social position as per any activity that either a man or a woman undertakes. This implies that gender roles prescribe social behavior that is determined by the biological sex orientation. Simply put, gender roles perceive both men and women as social beings that have to conform to the social norms of the current society, therefore, gender roles places them appropriately in the societal context. Despite such placements in the society, gender roles are subject to criticism such as focusing more on male domination compared to their female counterparts basing on correspondence bias. Men are always viewed as superior beings compared to the females under any social and political context (Lindsey 89).
Having viewed the pros and cons of gender roles, it would be illogical to say that gender roles does not play a decisive role in upholding societal norms that conform to the biological sexes of individuals. Gender roles effectively differentiate men from women and vice versa, and place both the sexes on the required position in society.