Social Expectations Behavior of Women (Essay Example)

The idea that females must be feminine and males must be masculine is outdated and should not exist in today’s society. Humanity has established a recurring theme of dividing and labeling certain groups of people, and gender expression is no anomaly. These stereotypes contribute to a harmful hierarchy and competition between those who contribute to these expectations being seen as “superior” and those who do not as “inferior.”

Society has pressured females to satisfy the expectations and standards of existing as fragile, helpless, and weak. At extremely young ages, girls are taught that being seen as feminine should be prioritized. However, girls should not be obligated to be feminine simply because of their birth sex, and nobody in general should be forced to conform to a certain gender expression at a young age. Propaganda promoting (young) girls to act feminine can be seen everywhere. For example, Source H pictures a girl who is appealing to the ideology that girls must dress and act in a “sexy” way by posing in a way that suggests such. The picture is captioned, “I don’t even like boys yet,” implying that she is too young to understand and process romantic feelings, yet is forced to dress maturely only to please society. The text in the corner, #StopTheBEAUTYMadness, is making a call to action for all to stop forcing the stereotypical roles and expectations of femininity onto young girls. These misogynistic standards have gotten to the extreme where young girls are told to venerate inanimate objects, as long as they depict feminine characteristics and qualities. This is shown as Source F depicts a little girl posing and imitating next to mannequins captioned, “Like this Mommy?” This source is implying that at a young age, girls are told to impersonate and idolize feminine characters. Young children are susceptible to absorb any information, since they have not developed critical thinking skills; therefore, bluntly telling girls that they should mimic and imitate feminine characters is brainwashing and damaging to not only children but also the general society. Ultimately, society is implying that femininity is what “makes a good woman,” which is completely deleterious and should not exist in modern society.

Similar events occur with societal expectations of masculinity where certain activities and objects are labeled as masculine; hence men are pressured to engage in these certain activities. However, that should not be the case, as a person’s personal interest in an activity does not make one more nor less masculine. For instance, Source D shows a man wearing the advertising brand’s clothes captioned, “Cheat on your girlfriend, not your workout.” The message that this source is trying to develop is essentially that men should only concern themselves with their outward projection of masculinity, nothing more. This ad insinuates that workouts are far more important than your personal relationships, since working out gives the impression that you are masculine, and supposedly the more masculine a man is, the better. The gender hierarchy in society makes an appearance in this scenario: whoever is more masculine is ‘superior,’ and feminine males are ‘inferior.’ This sort of hierarchy is completely pernicious; it implies that there is a ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ gender expression, since masculinity somehow equates to power. As formerly stated, not only are certain activities labeled as masculine, but also the use of specific objects. This is shown by Source G, which provides a graphic of a muscular man drinking the advertised drink captioned, “Milk for real men.” The ad is trying to say that by drinking their milk, men will be seen as more masculine; supposedly the more masculinity a man emanates, the better. Once again, the injurious hierarchy is distinguished. Firstly, there is no such thing as a ‘real man,’ as the statement, once again, reinforces the toxic hierarchy and competition between males in society. Secondly, drinking the given product will not make anyone more or less of a man. It’s ridiculous to think that this ad associates drinking a milk-like substance with how much of a ‘man’ someone is and the magnitude level of masculinity. 

Then, logically speaking, if men and women should not be forced to act masculine and  feminine, respectively, then they only have the choice to be feminine and masculine, respectively. Either way, men and women in society will have masculine or feminine standards forced onto them. This thought process is incorrect; gender is not black and white but rather a spectrum of all colors. This is shown in Source A, where Perrin states, “Even at sixteen, I had the sense to see that the compilers of the test were using rather limited criteria—maleness and femaleness are both more complicated than that—and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.” Perrin is trying to voice that gender expression is fluid and versatile. Since the development of society, humanity has established the difference of sex and gender: sex refers to the distinction between birth-given maleness and femaleness whereas gender refers to the range of characteristics between masculinity and femininity. Therefore, the division of males and females into separate gender expressions should not and does not need to exist. Furthermore, in Source A, Perrin states, “Men who are not 100 percent red-blooded Americans—say, those who are only 75 percent red-blooded—often fail to notice their freedom. They are too busy trying to copy the he-men ever to realize that men, like women, come in a wide variety of acceptable types.” Once again, the toxic competition and hierarchy has appeared. Perrin is attempting to say that masculine men are not bad, per se, and nor are feminine women. It’s the ideology that men and women should be conformed to only being masculine and feminine, respectively, that is harmful. Hence, gender expression should correlate to individual desire of representation and not the outdated gender roles imposed by society.

Although it is unfortunate that such gender expression division exists, change is slowly being made. The continuation of these stereotypes of gender division will only torment and further sever the connectivity between communities in society. The stigma associated with feminine males and masculine females is not applicable in modern society and overall detrimental, thus the idea that males must behave in a masculine manner and females in a feminine manner should be eradicated.