Social Norms and Traditional Gender Roles

Social Norms and Traditional Gender Roles


SocialNorms and Traditional Gender Roles

SocialNorms and Traditional Gender Roles

Genderdifferences are observed in the society based on the roles that menand women play. According to Xenitidouand Edmonds(2014),the differences in the traditional roles emanate from differentsocial norms acquired by the men and women. The social norms for menare guided by the rules of behavior that define whether a man isacting in an acceptable way or not. The social norms for men contrastwith those of women, and the difference shapes how the two gendersembrace gender roles. The discussion will illustrate differences insocial norms for men and women impacts on the persistence oftraditional gender roles.

Oneof the most conspicuous social norms for men is the belief that theyare the stronger gender, and should withstand challenges. A goodexample is the view by some societies that men do not cry, and it isunacceptable for them to. This norm shapes the behavior of mentowards taking the masculine roles like construction. Men take thetough roles in order to portray their “manhood” as expected byother men or the larger society (Xenitidou&amp Edmonds,2014).On the other hand, women are believed to be of lesser mental strengthto withstand tough situations. In this case, it is considered normalfor women to cry. This norm shapes the perception that women shouldwork in soft roles like housework, clerical and less physical jobs.

Anothersocial norm is that of provision for the family and the society. Inthis regard, men are expected to be the providers in the family, andthe caretakers for women. They are expected to generate economicresources for the family and sustain their women(Hechter,2005). This shapes the traditional gender role of men as thebreadwinners of every family. On the other hand, women are consideredto be the caregivers in the family. This shapes the traditional roleof women taking the domestic works in the society (Xenitidou&amp Edmonds,2014).The expected social norm for women is considered acceptable by thesociety when women fulfill their domestic duties.

Anothersocial norm is in regard to the maintenance of authority in thefamily and the society. In regard to this social norm, men areconsidered to be the head of the family and to take control of thesociety. It is considered to be acceptable for men to be the onesmaking decisions in the family and not the ones being controlled(Kendall, 2015). This shapes the gender role of men as the keydecision makers in the family. On the other hand, women areconsidered to be followers of the decisions about me, which is not afair or rational norm. This shapes the role of women as the second incommand in terms of authority and doing what men decide in thefamily.

Thetraditional gender roles are shaped by different social norms thatare embraced as the acceptable rules of behavior for both men andwomen. The social norm of men being the stronger gender shapes theirtraditional role masculine and physical roles in the society, whilewomen take the contrary. While men are considered to be the providersin the society, women are considered to be the caregivers in thefamily. This has significantly shaped the gender roles of men beingthe breadwinners, while women take the traditional domestic roles.These instances in the gender roles illustrate that the differencesin social norms for men and women impacts on the persistence oftraditional gender roles.


Hechter,M. (2005). SocialNorms.NewYork: RussellSage Foundation

Kendall,D. (2015). SociologyIn our Times,10th edition. Connecticut: Cengage.

Xenitidou,M., &amp Edmonds,B. (2014). TheComplexity of Social Norms. Berlin:Springer