O level Notes : Food Technology Design - Gender
Every culture, society and ethnic group throughout the world has a set of ideas or beliefs about how they expect men and women to dress behave and present themselves. These beliefs can be diﬀerent from group to group. They can also change in the same society overtime.
These cultural beliefs and ideas have an inﬂuence on the learners' choice of carrier, learning areas, the way they dress and how they interact with opposite sex.
Gender and gender roles
Gender refers to our biological sex, whether male or female. Gender roles are societal expectations for appropriate female and male behaviour. Gender roles are learned by individuals as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms and values. They propose how males and females should think, speak, dress and interact within the society. They are adopted or learnt during childhood and normally continue into adulthood.
In most cultures girls and women are raised and expected to be soft spoken, gentle, sensitive, care givers, shy, submissive, passive and understanding while boys and men are expected to be competitive, forceful, dominant, independent, and athletic.
The problem with gender roles is that it prescribes how an individual should behave rather than recognising who the individual is. A person should be a true self without the weight of gender roles. Society should move from traditional sex typed roles to androgynous roles.
The word androgyny comes from the Greek word “andro” meaning man and “gyny” meaning women. Androgyny therefore entails an individual possessing a combination of masculine and feminine roles. Masculine and feminine are terms
describing traits or characteristics, behaviors and attributes more likely to be demonstrated by one sex or the other. Androgynous people show both gender roles and have no speciﬁc gender identity neither are they controlled by gender stereotypes. Androgyny drifts from identifying males or females with gender roles but it encompasses masculine and feminine psychological traits, behaviors, attribute or characteristics.
Men are now seen taking up duties such as caring for the family and doing household chores while women take up duties once prescribed for men such as driving buses, building and many more.
Importance of androgynous roles
Androgynous roles are a result of transformation from traditional sex typed roles. Embracing androgynous roles plays a pivotal role in allowing ﬂexibility and creativity, empowering and improving socialisation of both males and females.
- Androgynous people escape the rigid gender roles stereotyping. They tend to be more creative, ﬂexible and less anxious. They can take up any learning areas and carriers with conﬁdence. Their choices are not limited, people who have expanded their behavioural repertoire feel better about themselves, they have a bigger bag of tricks and more options available to them.
- Androgynous people are happier, better adjusted and independent.
- Androgyny fosters development of natural talent for example women now train to be pilots a job once seen to be for men only. Also men now take a leading role in the nursing and textile industry.
- Women of the extreme femininity often exhibit dependency and self-denial. They may fear taking the initiative that may be risk-averse, while male with masculinity may be arrogant. They may exploit others and even tend towards violence. However, androgyny men can be gentle and women can be independent, self- conﬁdent.
- Androgynous traits enable women to have more power traditionally associated with masculinity. Women now take up powerful positions and careers previously dominated by men e.g. top government positions.
- Androgyny women take up initiatives in entrepreneurship. More and more women have become entrepreneurs and now own very successful businesses.
- Women have become more competent in subjects such as maths and science which were once seen as challenging learning areas reserved for men only. This has resulted in the increase in women taking up science based career opportunities such as engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy.
- Embracing androgynous roles has enabled women to be much more assertive and openly aggressive than what women are brought up to be in society. Women can now stand for their rights and speak out on issues that seem to be infringing into their rights.
- Androgyny roles do not segregate or support bizarre assumptions that men are better that women in the society.
- Androgyny people are fully aware of and can adapt to another person's needs. They tolerate and accept others. They are not deﬁned by stereotypically male or female behaviours.
- An androgyny person can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities. They interact well with others without fear of prejudice.
- They appear more familiar to the opposite sex which increase comfort levels and allows sharing diﬀerent experiences from both sexes.
Here is what we discussed in this topic
- Every culture, society and ethnic group throughout the world has a set of ideas or beliefs about how men and women should dress, behave and present themselves in society.
- Gender refers to our biological sex, whether male or female.
- Gender roles are societal expectations for appropriate female and male behaviour.
- They prescribe how an individual should behave rather than recognising how men and women should think, speak, dress and interact with the society.
- Androgyny entails an individual possessing a combination of masculine and feminine roles.
- Androgynous roles are important in that
- They encourage creativity and ﬂexibility.
- They foster development of natural talent.
- Women have power traditionally associated with masculinity.
- Androgyny do away with male domination.
- They do not segregate based on gender (whether male or female).
- Encourages interaction between male and female.