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Women And Men Are Nestled Into Predetermined Cultural Molds When It Comes To Gender In American Society

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Women and men are nestled into predetermined cultural molds when it comes to gender in American society. Women play the roles of mothers, housekeepers, and servants to their husbands and children, and men act as providers, protectors, and heads of the household. These gender roles stem from the many culture myths that exist pertaining to America, including those of the model family, education, liberty, and of gender. The majority of these myths are misconceptions, but linger because we, as Americans, do not analyze or question them. The misconception of gender suggests that biological truths no longer dictate our gender roles as men and women; they derive from cultural myths. We, as a nation, need to do severe critical thinking about this delusion of gender, how has limited us in the home, media, and education, how it currently limits us, and what the results of the current and future changes in gender roles will be.

Throughout history, the roles of men and women in the home suggested that the husband would provide for his family, usually in a professional field, and be the head of his household, while he submissive wife remained at home. This wife's only jobs included childcare, housekeeping, and placing dinner on the table in front of her family. The roles women and men played in earlier generations exemplify the way society limited men and women by placing them into gender specific molds; biology has never claimed that men were the sole survivors of American families, and that women were the only ones capable of making a pot roast. This depiction of the typical family has evolved. For example, in her observation of American families, author Judy Root Aulette noted that more families practice Egalitarian ideologies and are in favor of gender equality. "Women are more likely to participate in the workforce, while men are more likely to share in housework and childcare (apaÐ'...)." Today's American families have broken the Ward and June Cleaver mold, and continue to become stronger and more sufficient. Single parent families currently become increasingly popular in America, with single men and women taking on the roles of both mother and father. This bend in the gender rules would have, previously, been unheard of, but in the evolution of gender in the family, it's now socially acceptable, and very common.

What is even more common is the change in gender in primetime television, and film. In earlier decades, shows featuring couples such as Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, Mike and Carol Brady, and Samantha and Darrin Stephens predominantly held primetime slots on television. The uprising of gay and lesbian entertainment in shows such as "Will & Grace," Showtime series "Queer As Folk" and "The L Word," has overthrown the former cookie cutter husband and wife TV series. Gay and lesbian affairs in the media emerged quickly after the coming out of Ellen Degeneres in her hit sitcom, "Ellen." The comedian now has her own daytime talk show, achieving mainstream popularity for obvious reasons: she's funny, down-to-earth, and openly gay. In earlier decades homosexuality was previously limited to a closet of taboos, where no one knew about it, and no one admitted to it. Primetime programming would never house a show in which gay men and lesbian women openly discussed their sex lives and sexual preferences, nor a show that based its entire plotline on gay and lesbian couples.

On the same cable networks that act as the home for gay and lesbian television series, America finds its new woman for the new millenium: she's smart, independent, gainfully employed, sexually confident, and, usually, she's single. Television finally has room for a woman to fly on her own, without her minivan, Cub Scout den-mother meetings, or workaholic husband to feed and clean up after. The prime example for TV's new "wonder woman," is found in the four women of HBO's Emmy Award winning series, "Sex & The City." These characters are successful, single Manhattan women who never hesitate to be outspoken, particularly about their sexual endeavors, opinionated, and possess no apprehension about living the single life. Some may call them promiscuous due to their numerous conquests, some of them one-night-stands and relationships with married men, which was completely unheard of in television of earlier years. These women are high paid, successful, fashionable women who have broken through the cultural myth of gender into a class of their own without an apron or husband to protect them.

However, in sports media women have yet to catch up. Sociologist Michael A. Messner, after researching through over 23 hours of sports media, identifies a set of recurring themes of masculinity in sports media, which he calls "the televised sports manhood formula." In his formula, Messner asserts that men dominate televised sports media and the commercials that surround it, and that women either play the role of "castrating @#%$Ð' be avoided" or "sexy props or prizes for men's successful sports performances or consumptions choices." (Messner, M.A. (2002) Center of Attention: The Gender of Sports Media). In televised sports, the male athletes and commentators are shown for over 99% of the event, and female athletes and sportscasters are lucky to receive 15 seconds of camera time, and even luckier to be aired in the broadcast. Was



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