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Has the Study of Gender Illuminated Men's Lives as Much as Women's - Essay Example

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Has the Study of Gender Illuminated Men’s Lives As Much as Women’s? Gender studies have become prevalent in studying society’s regard for men and women. Changing times bring about changing roles to meet changing expectations. Over the course of history, men and women have lived through the whole gamut of gender stereotypes that stem from society’s expectations…
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Has the Study of Gender Illuminated Mens Lives as Much as Womens
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Has the Study of Gender Illuminated Men's Lives as Much as Women's

Download file to see previous pages... John Tosh1 chronicled how manliness and masculinity have thrived in the eyes of society in various times in history. He says that in the prudent Victorian era, gentlemen were expected to be more cerebral than physical. The times called for a “mingling of the ethical and the physiological”, however, manliness was heavily influenced by concience than by animal insticts that may sometimes overcome a man. Victorian code dictated manliness to emphasize self-control, hard work and independence. Tosh claims that boys were prepared for more competitive and demanding roles as husband, father and breadwinner. Men were expected to provide for their families a comfortable home and food on the table. Inability to do so earns him a lowly place in society. Women, on the other hand, had to struggle to be recognized as being contributory to society. A woman is romantically viewed as the heart of the home, the primary nurturer of the family, the source of emotional support, however, she has evolved into something much more than a homemaker. Traditionally, women have been assigned to care for her family and home while men were tasked to go out to seek livelihood for his family. The mother’s role in the family is a powerful one for women even if men insist that they are the heads of their households. Tosh explains that although fathers talk to their sons about the challenges of adult life and gives them advise accordingly, it is the mothers who had control over a large area of moral education, which, odd as it may seem, include the area of ‘manliness’. 2 The seemingly stronger influence of the woman over the raising of the family may be unsettling for men, hence such is underplayed. John Stuart Mill became intensely unpopular due to his statement divulged in conservative circles truths that people wittingly repress in polite society. He announced that “the generality of the male sex cannot yet tolerate the idea of living with an equal”3 and this statement was met with much fury, defensiveness, as well as quiet illumination. Tosh contends that middle class men in late Victorian Britain faced a difficult dilemma regarding their own masculinity. They realized that their own manliness has been filtered through the feminine sensibility of their own mothers.4 Joan Scott analyzes how gender studies explain the roles of men and women. She claims that gender is a way of denoting “cultural constructions” of subjective identities of men and women.5 Weisstein contends that gender is a most complex and intricate phenomenon, but at the interpersonal level, a good portion of the oppressiveness of gender arises from the fact that one person has enormous power over the other6. No other time has such conflict of power been more felt than during the previous world wars. Men felt power in being called out to defend their families and their country while the women they left behind felt empowered being given the responsibility for their families and home while the men were away. Historically, the trend of women joining the work force was felt more strongly during war time. Historians have differing views of the changes women have undergone in the two world wars. Arthur Marwick’s stand is that the wars brought about women’s realizations of their rights and innate potentials that were put to the test when they were called out of their home duties and into the workforce7. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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