Does our society allow women to assume masculine roles more readily than it allows males to assume roles traditionally called feminine?

Traditionally, in our society, males are viewed as assertive, tough, and more focused on material success than females. Females, on the other hand, are expected to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life (Hofstede, 2001). There is a tendency in most societies to stereotype these roles, possibly due to reinforcement of perceived natural differences between genders throughout the history. Most of us, unknowingly, begin to experience it early in our lives and we carry on being exposed to these socially accepted stereotypes, often without consciously challenging them.

An example of stereotyping gender roles would be the differentiation between boys and girls through the kind of toys they are given; one of innumerous small ways of conditioning children into complying with the stereotypical gender norms assigned to them by society. However, what happens when children challenge their assigned role and behave in ways that are expected from the opposite sex?

A fitting example would be the expressions we use to describe such children. A girl behaving in manner expected from boys is referred to as “tomboy”, a term without major pejorative meaning. A boy who is exhibiting behavior expected from girls is often called “sissy”, suggesting non-masculine boys and men to be gay. An expression describing such boy in a non-demeaning manner simply doesn’t exist.


The author believes that despite the recent gradual changes in our perception of gender roles, the transgressions of males and females against expected behavior of their respective gender are not being treated equally. It seems it is more acceptable for females to take more masculine approach to life than it is for males to behave in ways that are traditionally seen as feminine.

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