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Angelo Del Rosario

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Professor Turner

ENG 114A

8 November 2016

Del Rosario 1 Professor Turner ENG 114A 8 November 2016 Social Construction: Gender “Rosie the Riveter”was

Social Construction: Gender

“Rosie the Riveter”was originally created to encourage

women to take wartime jobs in defense industries while men

were off fighting in World War . When World War was

over the poster lost it’s meaning, it was later re-used to

symbolize women’s rights. This picture on the left is a mock of

the famous “Rosie the Riveter”, Rosie is replaced by a man

holding a baby and a dustpan with the words “He can do it”

instead of “She can do it”. This visual text shows how men could and are able to do so called

housewife things. In western society, it’s hard to see men actually taking care of children, instead

it’s more common to see women take care of their children, the visual pokes fun at this topic

implying that men should and could be able to to what women are set to do, vice versa. In

Catherine Cucinella article, “Introduction: The Funny Thing about Humor is that It is Really

Really Funny”, she says “we laugh at situations, actions, or behavior we find illogical,

unexpected, or inappropriate” (Cucinella, P.5), meaning that we find this visual text to be

unexpected because we usually see more women taking care of “house chores” and children. I

argue that in western society people are judged based on their gender, for example if one is a

male western society assumes that they would be in charge of the family's income while the

woman is a “house wife”. I believe that society has put a social construction form on gender that

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currently damages our society. Social construction are images or concepts developed by the

society’s thoughts and

ideas. For example if society finds it easier to have females have lower pay than males, then it’s

going to be difficult to understand when someone finds a female that makes more money than a

male. Although gender roles in western society are continuously improving, I believe that the

social construction of gender is slowing the process down.

Once a child is born it is set into a specific gender, meaning they are raised according to

gender. For example, when a male is born it is taken to the nursery with blue blankets, and when

a female is born it is taken with pink blankets. The social construction of gender is a process

right from birth, from picking their toys to favorite activities. Parents are also sucked into the

social construction of gender, with their kids they serve as roles models. Once the parents find

out the sex of their child they go out and buy clothes that go with their child’s gender. For

example, girls get dresses while boys get a shirt and pants. Their toys are even gender related

boys get action figures and girls get dress up dolls. These items that parents buy aren’t for just

them to notify their gender but it is also helpful to reinforce the gender identity for the society.

Some parents even further the gender socialization by the use of different activities. Once their

child gets older they sign them up for extra curricular activities like basketball for boys and

gymnastics for girls to also help reinforce their gender identity.

In the article “Night to his Day: The Social Construction of Gender” by Judith Lorber,

“As a process, gender creates the social differences that define “women” and “man”


learn what is expected…” (Lorber, P. 60), this shows how gender is a process from birth.

Throughout their lives man and woman are continually growing of how to deal with certain

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situations to remain the gender they are supposed to be playing. Boys are taught to be

masculine, like play sports, but since western society has constructed this for boys to naturally

play sports when boys do other social activities that don’t represent their gender or masculinity

they are judged. Girls are taught to do feminine things such as cheerleading, if they do something

masculine like bodybuilding they are portrayed as a tomboy. In “Humor Styles, Peer

Relationships, and Bullying in Middle Childhood”, by Dana Klien and Nicholas Kupier, says

make “

aggressive jokes against the victim's back, to both damage the victim's reputation, and

entertain the crowd, thereby gaining social support.”( Klien and Kupier, P.72), this shows that it's

okay to poke fun at this topic because it is supported by society. When others see something

different other than seeing what they are normalized to see they get confused and judge the part.

These gender roles that men and women have to act upon are forcing them to separate

themselves and label themselves as different from others.

In western society we have seen so many improvements on gender. For example we see

more women being the “big bosses” in some of America’s 500 largest companies. According to

an article “The Percentage of Female CEOs in the Fortune 500 Drops to 4%” by Valentina

Zarya, women since 2014 have taken over to become “The Big Boss”. We typically see men on

the top never women. Also now in the current presidential campaign, which is usually consisted

of male competition Hillary clinton, a woman, is in the race to become the first female President.

The changes that are being made in western society about gender roles are constantly growing. In

an article “Mom Teaches Her Son That Chores Aren’t ‘Just For Women’, Gets Criticized


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by James Gould-Bourn he shows a recent tweet from a mom showing pictures of her own kid

doing the dishes, laundry, and other chores. The mom explains how “chores” aren’t for just

women but it’s also for men, and she claims that her kid is not only going to be a man but also a

productive man of society of outside and inside the home. When the mom posted this she was

being harassed by others saying how inappropriate it is for making your kid a “slave”. It’s due to

social construction that this happens. If boys were taught at a young age to cook and clean at a

young age society wouldn’t be so weirded out by this. Society sees young boys to be active and

playing video games they don’t see them do “chores”. As the gender roles of society are

continually growing, the social construction of gender is still at play and will slow the pace that

is growing at.

Gender has always been a topic that had to be talked about and needed help creating

stable connection between the two genders. Due to the social construct of gender, the differences

of gender roles will not be enhanced as quickly as they could. I believe that if the western society

has an open mind about change it can definitely help out the differences. As a society we

shouldn’t be afraid of change, we should be considering change as change may be good for us.

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Works Cited

Klein, Dana. Kuiper, Nicholas. “Humor Styles, Peer Relationships, and Bullying in Middle

Childhood.” Handout.

Zarya, Valentina. Fortune. 6 June 2016.

Gould-Bourn, James. Bored Panda. 31 October

Lorber, Judith. “Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender”. pp.54-66.