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Gender Roles

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Gender roles play an important part in society. However, I think that traditional gender roles change all of the time. For instance, men are to be looked at as the "breadwinner" on the family, while the wife is depicted as the "homemaker." Nowadays, women are out in the workforce making money and are spending less time in the house. My parents, for example, work hard at their fulltime jobs. Yet, my father has been working at the same place for twenty-two years, while my mom is flexible with the doctors that she assists. Both of my parents are away from home equally. As I was growing up, I started seeing my father more at home and doing the domestic work. He would do the dishes, laundry, and scrub the toilets. When my mom would get home from work, dinner would be ready for the family to eat. I always thought that it was odd that my father and I aren't as close as we should be, considering all of the time that we spent with each other.

I wouldn't necessarily call this my very first peer group, but this is one that I can remember vividly. The playground at my elementary school was divided; kindergarten through third grade had one, and fourth through sixth had their own. When I was in the fourth grade, there was a kickball field on our side of the playground. However, all of the older boys played on it. I had a group of ten or so friends that were all girls. We had been together since kindergarten. We had asked the boys many times if he could join them or at least alternate days to have the field. Of course we couldn't come up with a compromise, so the group of girls and I made up our own field. We used sweatshirts and books as bases and we provided our own ball.

For the remaining time in elementary school, we used that field everyday of the school year. I remember towards the end of sixth grade, we challenged the boys to a tournament. By that time, we had practiced everyday and we were ready to face them. It seemed like a big even because all of the sixth grade teachers were there to support us, as well as the other kids from the playground used by the fourth through sixth graders. It was a very intense game. But we did notice that we played together as a team. We didn't yell at each other for making mistakes, and most important, we never gave up. At the end of the game, the girls had won and we weren't just known as "those girls" anymore. We were the "Power Kickers."

Growing up, my parents tried to socialize me with many different groups. I don't really understand why they tried so hard, considering I don't like to be around big groups of people. From the age of two until I was twelve, I was enrolled in dance class. I did ballet and jazz. It was weird because there were about eight girls and only one boy. Being that young, I never thought that I would see a boy dancing. But sure enough, there he was, right next to me wearing the same exact sequence leotard that I had to wear for recitals. We looked ridiculous. I figured that this boy wouldn't be that good because he was a boy and not like me. But he was just as good as any other girl out that, if not, he was even better than most. My older brother, who is six years older than me, made fun of the boys in my dance class behind their backs. He would refer to them as being sissy and queer. I never really thought anything of it until I reached junior high and high school. There, I could see that the "real" boys played "real" sports, like football and basketball, not dance. Within a blink of an eye, my childhood friend from dance class disappeared from my very own eyes. I remember asking him one day why he wasn't in class one day. He explained to me, in a very harsh manner, that dancing was for dorks and that he was too tough to be in that class. He had decided to play football instead.

Soon after, sports because then next big thing for me to be involved in. I've always enjoyed the water, so I started out on the swim team at the age of eight. Obviously something clicked because I stuck with it through high school and even became captain. When I was four, I was in tee-ball and played that until it was time for softball. With softball came time for me to join the travel team. I stuck with that for a few summers, but not too long. I was exhausted. But I wasn't done yet. At the age of nine came basketball. I was on three different teams for basketball until the age of thirteen. After that, I was only on two teams, but one was a year-round travel team. By the time I was in high school, I was enrolled into all of these sports. But I knew that time was nearing down and that I needed to concentrate on my academics to get into college. So I dropped all of the sports except for swimming.

When I was in the third grade, I started to play an instrument. I played the viola until I graduated. Every

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