We are taught from a young age that men and women must have different interests, act a certain way, and achieve different goals. For example girls are taught to like pink, and to “act like a lady”, while boys are taught not to cry and to “man up”. In society it’s okay for a girl to express her emotions but is seen as gay if a guy is emotional. This is all so wrong because we are all really just the same.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman would refer to this as gender socialization. Gender socialization is how individuals learn to observe gender norms, to behave in “gender-appropriate” ways, relative to a given culture. This promotes gender inequality. Gilman states that the traditional family roles (stay at home mom / working dad) only promotes women’s economic dependence on men. Luckily in todays society, it is becoming more and more normal for women to branch out and support themselves. Women are beginning to realize they don’t need a man to support them.
The YouTube video we watched in class, “Shrinking Women”, also demonstrated more ways that men and women experience gender differences and inequalities. She spoke personally about her family at home but these norms stand for most Americans in todays culture. First she stated that the women shrink while men get fatter as we age. This is because women are always pressured not to eat a lot. Women are taught to absorb and be quiet while men are taught to shout and speak their mind. When she asks questions in class she always apologizes for asking, which is a huge sign that she was taught not to ask questions. She also stated that women are taught to cook and clean for their man and to do whatever they ask.