What We Think On: Gender Roles

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Gender roles is an issue that has once again taken the spotlight in our society recently. For those who may not know what gender roles are, they are the role or behavior learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, as determined by the prevailing cultural norms. An example of this is the traditional: women are expected to stay at home, take care of the children, and have dinner on the table by 5:00 while the men are expected to be the breadwinners for the family.

I decided to see what students at Lincoln East had to say about this hot topic. As I went throughout the cafeteria asking a variety of people about their opinions,  an unsettling amount of students said, “I don’t have an opinion” or “Gender roles? What’s that?” It is our responsibility to educate ourselves of the issues in our society. Thankfully, there were also students who responded with great passion.

Hunter Guru (12)said “Masculinity is a power structure that prevents how women are able to move within society…It’s a giant paradox that needs to be addressed.”

Aleah Miller (11) posed this question, “Why should half of the population be subjected to something completely different than the other half?” She added, “We have such an inherent gender bias.”

We not only need to acknowledge the issue of gender roles, but we also need to strive to find a way to combat it. Many of the students I interviewed agreed that we must start with our youth, by teaching them from a young age that men and women are equal and not to conform to the roles that have been set out for us. Though this solution wouldn’t have an immediate effect, it could make a drastic change in the future.

One student said, “Children should be able to explore what they enjoy most.” She went on to describe how boys should be able to do the activities that society has deemed feminine and girls should be able to do what has been established as masculine.  

Our student body overall seems informed on the topic of gender roles and have exposed themselves to our society’s hottest topics and have given them thought in how to solve them. Continuing to pursue change and to challenge set gender roles that are present in our society is crucial for us as students to do as we prepare to head out into the world that will be ours to shape in the coming years.