Gender is simplistically defined as the social differences between the sexes. Generally, in our culture today, the roles have been mixed and matched allowing anyone to take on characteristics of either role. In the past, the role of the male has been the head of the family, financial provider, spiritual leader, and the go-to for anything concerning politics. The female, on the other hand, was characterized as the domestic care-taker. Her duties involved bearing children, caring for the children, attending to the house, and providing daily meals for her family. In retrospect, this was an efficient way for society to be conducted, but society has changed. Our culture has changed.
From birth, we are brought up to act certain ways and do certain things based on what our parents’ view as our gender role in society. As we grow, we begin to find our place and purpose in society. “Simply stated, the mind matures through interaction with the environment” (Lindsey 1994: 53). At a young age, we tend to take on whatever roles our parents have. More often than not, a young girl will mimic her mother, and a boy his father, until the child is sent to school to interact with others. This is normally the stage in life when children figure out where they fit in society, and how they want to be seen as a part of society. For society to function properly, gender roles must be filled. There are less limitations on gender in our culture today than ever before.
The shift in our culture regarding gender roles is immense. Men have evolved
from being the family’s primary source of income to also having the option of being the
(Lindsey. 1994. HQ1075 .L564)
domestic leader in some homes today. In addition to that, women have gone from spending almost all day, every day, in the home, to being corporate leaders and some of today’s greatest minds. “Western society’s values legitimate gendering by claiming that it all comes from physiology—female and male procreative differences” (Lorber 1994:17). This is not true of today. Today, it’s psychological. Gender is limited within each separate culture.
The role of each gender in today’s society has shifted. “That men are more knowledgable and more capable is a control myth of enormous influence” (Lipman-Blumen 1984: 50). Women are out in the workforce working just as many hours as men while some men stay home and take on the role of domestic care-taker. In the last century, women have overcome gender-linked barriers to become more apart of what some consider “a man’s world”. This can also be seen in the different roles taken on by gay and lesbian relationships. In these cases, both the men and women must take on both roles to provide stability. It can be argued that males typically take on more leadership roles in society than females. Looking back at American history, males have dominated politics, and governmental positions for far longer than females have been allowed to be incorporated into the political realm. We have never had a female president, but in the last decade we have seen that it is a possibility that that may not always be the case. In contrast, England has been lead by many female monarchs with great success. In the Philippines, women are the primary source of income to their families. This goes to show how much things have changed and are still changing in
world culture today.
(Lorber.1994. HQ 1075 .L667) (Lipman-Buman. 1984. HQ 1075 .L57)
Sports is another area where we see that gender is no longer a boundary. Both men and women alike compete worldwide in events such as the Olympics, whereas not long ago that was deemed socially unacceptable. Men have always been and will always be physically superior to women, but regardless of this fact, women have proven to be competition to men, nonetheless, and earned their spot in the public eye as athletes.
In the Twentieth Century, sports and athletic entertainment were done by the male. Only in the last two-hundred years were females allowed to participate in athletic competition. Most all of the world’s sporting events originated as a “male only” sports. As Feminism has grown to more of a world-wide standing, women have been able to participate and, in some cases, dominate a large portion of the athletic world.
As much as the roles have been reversed and inter-mingled between the sexes, the roles themselves are still set in stone. Someone needs to be the leader, and someone needs to be the help-mate. Without the harmony of these two roles, society would crumble. Gender is a social choice that has to be made for civilization to continue. You can lead, or you can follow.
Middle Earth will have consists of a two different types of genders. First, there are those who go to work and are the main providers for the family. This type tends to be more analytical while working outside of the home. Second, there are those who stay home and care for the family. This type is characterized by their nurturing tendencies and their focus on the importance of relationships. They work inside the home to care for the children and keep the house. In doing this, the different genders are able to co-habitate to provide a stable home-life for the family.
When meeting someone for the first time, the people of Middle Earth approach one another face to face and play rock-paper-scissors as a sort of ice-breaker. After this initial meeting takes place and a sense of friendship has been formed, the two friends may then stand side by side to signify this bond to the public. This is what distinguished strangers from friends on Middle Earth.
In the culture on Middle Earth, the participation in events or entertainment is open to both genders. There is no discrimination in this area.
Concerning political power, there is what’s called a “Big Mama” who is the both the political and spiritual leader. She is brought to power based on the respect she receives from others and her wealth. She is makes executive decisions and leads her community with her years of experience and the wisdom she’s gained. When problems arise, the Big Mama is called upon to be the mediator in the situation. This is how problems and arguments are solved on Middle Earth. She is looked up to a revered as a mother-figure of the community.
Having these two different genders makes it possible for families to live successfully both as individual family units and as a culture. While one gender works, the other tends the home. In this way, the people of Middle Earth have stable family relationships and are supported financially and emotionally.
Lindsey, Linda L. Gender Roles: Sociological Perspective. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1994.
Lipman-Bluman, Jean. Gender Roles and Power. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1984.
Lorber, Judith. Paradoxes of Gender. New Haven: Yale UP, 1994.