Pre-determined gender roles
- Bhavti Shah
The Toxic Presence in The Struggling Society
It is unsurprising that even in the 21st century, there are still predetermined gender roles immensely
rooted in our culture. Traditionally, males are the breadwinners of the family while the females are the
ones nurturing the family and taking care of their offspring. Turn on any discovery channel and the
chances are that they are most likely talking about how the female awaits and feeds her cubs while the
male goes out hunting for food.
By having these gender roles, society categorizes traits as feminine and masculine, and while doing
so, puts more importance and value in the masculine traits. In a professional setting, women are
expected to have jobs as secretaries or do administrative jobs while men are construed as leaders at
managerial positions. This not only undermines the ability of women, but this also discourages them
for pursuing highly successful careers as they have to go through a lot more social barriers to ‘prove’
others of their abilities despite their gender while the males are given the subconscious clearance due
to their gender.
Additionally, These gender roles seem to provide a restrictive and conforming framework for how the
members in the society should work and that is precisely why they are toxic. It constructs an outline
where the females and males are socially prohibited to act out of their designated bubble of behaviour.
As a society, we don’t encourage male children to play with dolls. In fact, according to research, it has
been observed that toy sellers push feminine toys towards female children and vice versa. The kitchen
sets are always bought for girl children to encourage them and attract them towards cooking while the
boys get a first aid kit to persuade them of the ‘fun in helping’.
Furthermore, these gender roles are the root cause of toxic masculinity. The society has embodied a
certain unsaid set of rules for men and formed a distorted structure of masculinity which men adhere
to in order to fit into the norms that are so strictly guarded by those with traditional and conventional
beliefs. Men don’t cry, men don’t feel pain, men are supposed to be strong, men are responsible for
their family, men are supposed to financially support women. All of these phrases that are heavily fed
to men from childhood render them to be inept of open and free expression. The pressure put on them
to be ‘masculine,’ to mask their pain and to perform their duty puts an extreme psychological pressure
on them which causes pent up frustration. Statistically, men are less likely to consult a psychologist
than women and they are more likely to commit suicide.
It is no doubt that society is slowly evolving and that the current generation is beginning to see the
many faults with the traditional roles that put genders into tightly shut boxes. A stay at home dad is
just as discouraged and undermined as a successful business woman. The problem remarkably persists
due to the vast majority of the population still falling prey to the traditionalist and toxic view of how
men and women should be operating in this dysfunctional society which has a warped concept on how
the men and women of this society are supposed to function and contribute to the society.