Sociology research papers on gender norms can focus on one specific norm or an overview of the concept of gender norms. Get specific research on cultural aspects such as gender norms.
Nearly every society has expectations they apply to men and women; these gender norms dictate what is socially deemed as acceptable and appropriate for either men or women. These gender norms are reinforced in overt ways, such as the use of gendered colors for children's clothes and toys, to more subtle variations, such as the use of almost exclusively female actors in commercials for household cleaners. While there can easily be variation on these norms, it is often met with resilience or hostility from the general public.
In western cultures, gender norms dictate what is "normal" for males and females. At a young age, these norms are more flexible, but they are pervasive nonetheless.
- Girls are dressed in pinks and yellows while boys are clad in blues and greens;
- Girls are given dolls and toy cooking sets while boys are given action figures and sports equipment.
- As children mature, expectations of behavior are prescribed to their respective genders;
- Girls are expected to be ladylike and non-combative while boys are expected to be more aggressive and protective.
By the time one reaches adulthood, any variances from these gender norms can feel altogether unnatural. A man wearing jewelry, for example, can be strange or generally take some getting used to. Interestingly enough, though, if a woman wanted to wear her boyfriend's shirt or hat, she would not meet the same criticisms as a man would if the roles were reversed. It is clear, then, that gender norms are not only socially constructed, but socially reinforced. The dominant culture of any given society determines what is appropriate and acceptable for either gender, and any variance from these norms is deemed worthy of criticism or challenge.
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