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Who We Are Case

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Who are we? Most of us spend the majority of our lives trying to figure this out. Our Parents raise us the way their Parents raised them, teaching us our gender roles in today's society. We learn the way our genders should act in our cultures and how the society we live in feeds on our insecurities. Where we grew up and how we were raised determine the roles we portray in our daily lives. The Roles of Gender are portrayed by the cultures and customs we grow up learning. Our cultures, customs, and the media shapes the roles each gender must play.

One way myths of gender shape who we are or who we ought to be is by customs. Girls and boys both have different ways of doing things based on myths. For example, in our society girls wear make up to be considered beautiful while men do not. One reason girls wear makeup is because their mothers do, so by custom they make their daughters wear it too. It is the custom and beliefs of Mothers if their daughters are beautiful it will help them find a man to marry. Men on the other hand do not have to wear makeup because their custom is not to wear it. This shapes how women and men have to be because some women should not have to wear makeup if they do not want to; the way men should have the freedom to wear it if they chose without being judged. There are many customs that shape who we are. Another example is in the poem Girl; Kincaid describes how customs are shown in the world. "Don't squat down to play marbles-you are not a boy you know." (526) This shows gender roles where a girl is squatting down to play marbles which is not acceptable for a woman to do because that's what men do not women.

Women should stay home, take care of the house and raise the family while Men should be the breadwinners; going to work to provide for the family and taking care of the family finances. This has always been the way of the gender roles. From a very young age girls are taught to be in the kitchen with Mom baking and learning how to cook to ensure a hot meal is on the table when a Man comes home from a hard day of work. Girls are groomed to keep a clean house and know how to do basic household chores from grocery shopping to laundry to party planning and entertaining while keeping themselves in shape and attractive for their spouses. Women also have the responsibility of taking care of the children, getting them to school, participating in their after school activities, assisting them with their homework. Men, generally will have little to do with the child rearing if it is a girl. Customs dictate he will leave the girl stuff up to the Mother. On the other hand, if it is a boy, a Father will take charge making sure his son is raised as a manly man, active in sports, taking the right courses in school to promote his success, being accepted in the right colleges, making sure his son is driving the right car showing his status in the male gender world, but not very often promoting or encouraging his son in emotional health or allowing them to show their emotions.

The traditional family is slowly fading. Women are returning to the work force to help support the family. It is not uncommon to have a two income household. The stress of raising a family while working outside the home can cause some gender conflicts in the home. For instance, women may not be cooking as much and relying on the man to participate more in the meal preparation. The children may have to help with household chores, risking their gender reputations of doing 'woman's' work or man's work. It may be difficult for each gender to cook, clean the house, wash dishes or do laundry depending on how they were raised by their Parents. Older generations may not find this acceptable of their children and will say, "That is not how we raised you". However, the male gender culture is shaped by Fathers, brothers, coaches, grandparents, uncles-basically any male involved in the boys' life. Understanding the rules and the layers of "Guy Code" may explain why guys appear distant towards females. This code starts almost the day a male is born and is known as the "boy code". The rules are pretty basic and upheld by same gender peers. So what is the "Guy Code"? It is a list of gender rules created by men to determine their masculinity.

Show no weakness - "Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that is what little boys are made of". This nursery rhyme shows an example of the guy code, suggesting that boys are tough, always getting into mischief, doing things that are far from being considered feminine or girly. Boys cannot be weak or show emotions for fear of appearing or being considered feminine. At a young age, boys start separating themselves from their mothers trying not to be a mama's boy. Fathers start the gender training as young as five years old forming their young sons into what they believe is a man based on the way they were raised by their Fathers and brothers.

Peer pressure and the gender police are one in the same. How a guy acts, dresses or behaves around others is constantly under scrutiny by their peers. The male gender culture does not leave much room for error. There is such a fine line between masculinity and femininity in a young man's world that they are always making sure they are living by the code. They are expected to act and behave in a certain gender way that may not make any sense to a female who is also expected to act and behave in a certain gender way that men do not understand. The tough macho act is just that; pretending to be someone they are not just to fit in and not risk being ridiculed. To avoid being tagged "gay" or being put down by peers, guys will start trying to prove their manhood by becoming a little reckless, showing some aggressive behaviors and challenging others. They will start taking some risks and living life on the edge vying for acceptance and approval in the male gender world. This kind of behavior is displayed on a daily basis in school which could explain why guys are always in trouble. It is accepted by their peers and considered to be cool to misbehave, mock authority, or to be the class clown causing a disruption in the classroom.

A man's family will base his status of success in the male gender world by his masculinity which is measured by his wealth, power and status. A young man's status could be something as simple as making the Varsity squad on the Football team versus only making the Junior Varsity squad. There is a lot of pressure in the male gender world to be a man. This is not always easy for guys who may not have any male influences in their daily lives or are expected to be the 'man of the house' since



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