Today we focused on the topics of “doing gender” and “undoing gender” both from the articles West, C., & Zimmerman, D.H, (1987). Doing Gender. Gender and Society. and Deutsch, F. (2007). Undoing Gender. Gender and Society. If you have not read these articles already, I highly suggest it. They are a good read, and there is interesting information to consider.
In West and Zimmerman’s Doing Gender article, they focus on how gender is reinforced based on social interaction. Gender is not based on what one is, but on what one does. So for example, I am a female, each morning I put on some mascara, do my hair, find clothes that are typically more fitted for my body, sometimes I wear earrings, but one thing I never forget is my ring. These are typical female things to do. ‘Doing gender’ is fitting into those stereotypical routines etc that are looked at to be feminine such as wearing makeup, shaving your legs, wearing high heels etc. On the other hand, ‘Undoing Gender’ is when individuals not necessary resist these stereotypes, but do tasks, or routines that are considered to be more of the opposite sex, because there are stereotypes for gender as a male as well. Males are known to be strong, to fix things, to play sports, etc. So when we see females fixing a kitchen sink, or playing basketball or hockey it may seem a little odd because we would assume a male would perform these tasks because of the gender stereotypes. Gender is when we teach our children the difference between men and women, that men are strong and play sports, fix the car and things around the house. While women do all the domestic responsibilities, they cook and clean and nurture their children. However now we are starting to see a blurred division line as men have been taking over some of the domestic roles, while women are interested in sports and fixing things. Women are wanting more equality so they are beginning to take on tasks that some would assume is a male role. I also believe that men are realizing this and able to take over some of the duties that are seen as feminine such as cleaning, laundry and cooking. I believe that relationships should be equal, that the woman can pay for dinner too sometimes. I believe relationships are give and take. I do not believe in the old tradition of men always opening a door for a woman, and the woman shadowing and doing everything for the man. I love cooking a meal for my boyfriend, but let’s be real… he is a much better cook than I ever will be. Yes he may be the cook in the relationship, but that does not mean it is always that way, that he constantly provides for me. I help him with prep, and cleaning. I am much better at baking which I take after my dad, so I provide that side. One day when I do own a house with my boyfriend, I do not mind doing both of our laundry. I am doing my laundry anyways, so I might as well add his in and do bigger loads. I believe part of relationships between a man and a woman is doing things for each other but also to help the other out. My boyfriend is pursuing the career of a mechanic, so if he needs my help in the garage I do not mind helping him. Just like I know he will not mind helping me brainstorm ideas for my lessons as I am pursuing the career of a teacher. I would hate to be in a relationship where I am treated significantly different just because I am a female. My boyfriend treats me amazing, however, he knows I believe I can open a door for myself, and he knows when I know what I am talking about, he never degrades me and says “you’re a girl you don’t know”.
I think it is important to raise our children to at least try all these duties and see what they are good at. It helps them understand themselves more, you never know your daughter might like playing hockey or building a bird house, while your boy might like to cook or learn how to sew the hole in his shorts. I believe that boys should be taught to always respect women, just like the old days.. but also to allow women to grow in their individual ways. Couples should support each other in what they enjoy, and work together as I believe a relationship is about becoming one and equality, not having a separated line between the duties and tasks each individual does in the relationship.
- Breaking Barriers (equalgains.wordpress.com)
- Occupational Gender-Atypicality and Housework Hours (psychologytoday.com)
- The Social Construction of Gender (wordcount: 595) (gsangha.wordpress.com)