“Gender roles are the way people act, what they do and say, to express being a girl or a boy, a woman or a man.” –Planned Parenthood
Gender roles are taught at an extremely young age.
Childrens toys are a great example of how society teaches stereotypical gender roles.
Girls have dolls, dress-up clothes and kitchen sets. These toys encourage girls to take care of children, clean and wear dresses.
Boys have trucks, balls and tools. These toys encourage activity, manual labor and movement.
I remember when I was a child, I loved Matchbox cars. However, I would always have to go to the boys section because they weren’t available for girls.
Today, companies have started to make toys for girls that have typically been for boys.
However, if girls do have “boy” toys, they are always pink or purple. And, never are “girl” toys — like makeup or dresses — advertised to boys.
In the video below, Riley explains that she doesn’t think it’s fair that all of the girls have to buy princesses and all of the boys have to buy superheroes. See? Even children get it!
Colors are another great example.
When searching for girls clothing, you will see a lot of pastels. Boys usually have much bolder colors.
The divide becomes even more apparent when you shop for baby clothing. The majority of clothing for baby girls is pink, while boy clothing is blue.
Gender roles are prevalent in every aspect of our lives. They determine what is acceptable to wear, how you can act, if you can work outside the home, where you can work, what positions you can hold in your church and even what emotions you can show.
Those who follow the gender role given to them are praised, while those who break from their gender role are punished.
The video below shows how early children begin to develop gender stereotypes.
I believe our society is slowly becoming more accepting of those who stray from stereotypical gender roles; however, we have a long way to go.
The women’s and gender studies program at Simpson College hosted a faculty panel entitled “What Feminism Means to Me” on March 15, 2012.
Assistant Professor of History Judith Walden, Assistant Professor of Religion Maeve Callan and Chaplain Fritz Wehrenberg gave their take on feminism and answered audience questions.
The panelists discussed sexism, racism, religion and other topics. The event was just one of many occurring at Simpson to celebrate Women’s History Month.
What does feminism mean to you?
For some, spring break is a time to relax and recuperate from long, painful nights of studying. For others, it’s a time to get plastered on the beach, take off all of your clothes and make mistakes with strangers you may or may not remember.
Regardless of which option is chosen, most students will agree that spring break is a much-needed separation from school.
Every year, a portion of college students return from their spring break trips with exciting tales to share. What’s interesting to think about, however, is how these experiences can vary depending on gender.
Simpson College student Ethan Hess visited Panama City Beach for his spring break trip. Like many students, he enjoyed meeting other students from across the country and sipping the occasional alcoholic beverage.
“We drank beer, went to a seafood restaurant, drank some more beer, played games on the beach, drank more beer, went to the bar,” Hess said. “That’s about it really.”
Still, what did Hess say he spent most of his trip doing? Looking after the girls in his group and preventing “extremely drunk and touchy-feely” guys from grabbing them.
“I feel like girls have to be completely defensive the entire time because if they’re just sitting on the beach with their group, there are guys constantly coming up to them the entire time,” Hess said. “One after another, whether just to talk to them or looking for beads or just doing something constantly.”
Hess said he also had trouble talking to girls while on the trip.
“You could hardly talk to a girl because they were like ‘Oh, creeper,’” Hess said. “You had to be really careful how you approached them because they were like ‘Okay, who is this person?’”
While girls have to worry about being touched, guys have equivalent troubles, Hess said.
“They’re always looking for a fight or doing something or they’re too forward with girls,” Hess said.
Simpson student Katie Sullivan, who traveled to Orange Beach, had quite a different experience during her trip. Highlights included playing drinking games, visiting members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon and “watching them walk around in diapers.”
Sullivan said a major difference she noticed between the men and women in her party were their daily activities.
Sullivan said that while she never felt unsafe during her trip, girls do have to worry more.
“Guys don’t have to worry about anything,” Sullivan said. “Like say they have a girlfriend, they have to worry about cheating on them. Say they have sex unprotected, but like that’s it.”
While it seems that many would rather cut off their appendages than bring their partner on a spring break trip, Simpson student Becca Mohnike chose to travel to Florida with her boyfriend.
“Instead of the constant ‘crazy party’ spring break it was more of a relaxing spring break with its moments of craziness,” Mohnike said.
Having previously gone on a spring break that was a “crazy party,” Mohnike said that while everyone has different expectations, “the general idea of spring break is mostly to enjoy the sun and drink alcohol.”
“Beyond that I think that girls may just want to do that with their girlfriends and then possibly meet a great, cute guy,” Mohnike said. “Guys may want to chill with their bro’s and try and hook up with lots of girls.”
Women must be wearier on spring break trips because they can easily be taken advantage of when alcohol is involved, Mohnike said.
Others disagree that women have to be more careful.
Simpson student Tyler Utzka, who visited Gulf Shores, said it’s not about gender but rather the decisions being made.
“You make your own problems in spring break and make your own decisions,” Utzka said. “It’s important for both [men and women] to be safe.”
One difference Utzka did see?
“Single women get free drinks easily, fact.”
So, what did we learn here? If you’re a woman on spring break, you might get a free drink; however, you must give up any rights to your body.
If you’re a man, you will more-than-likely be seen as a “creeper” before you even utter “hello” to a girl or you will get in a fight. But hey, you can always drink more to numb the pain.
Welcome to Gender University – the site for all of your gender-related news, views and entertainment!
I started Gender University because I’m extremely passionate about gender-related issues. As a multimedia journalism student with a specialization in gender and women studies, I love the idea of discussing gender issues with my fellow students. I believe many gender issues are distinct to college life, which makes this site – and its followers – unique.
Gender University’s mission is to promote the discussion of gender issues within college communities by offering an empowering outlet for those without voices and educating all members of college communities on issues related to gender.
When you visit Gender University, expect to see gender-related news that is occurring on campuses throughout the United States. However, this site is not just about telling news. It’s about sharing stories, complaints and interesting information.
Are you curious about the opinions of a different sex concerning a certain topic? Do you have a professor that sits just a little bit too close to you? Are you annoyed that you can’t go out on the weekend without someone grabbing your behind? Are you currently going through any gender-related transformation and want to share your story? Are you in a gender-specific organization and want to encourage others to join? Gender University allows you to do all of these things!
Because the goal of this site is to create a community through connections within colleges and universities, it relies heavily on your opinions and comments. I would love to receive suggestions on what to feature on Gender University. I would be ecstatic if you would like to contribute to the site by telling me your story.
Once the conversation starts, the community will form!