Gender in Society Psy5007

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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 09/30/2012 09:30 AM

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Explain how gender role legacy evolved from an historical perspective and discuss how the theme manifests itself today.

Roles of women and men are changing in Western society, but have been difficult to achieve. How far do we have to look for the beginning of the change, it is uncertain, but looking back, we see many different viewpoints of how gender roles evolved. In prehistoric and early historic time, people revered goddesses as all important. In many places in the world, female deities were portrayed as healers. Goddesses such as Demeter and Isis were invoked as lawgivers. As time progressed, religions such as Christianity, began to put women in a more submissive role, this lasted throughout the middle ages. During this period emerged two contradictory images of women; Mary the virgin and Eve the evil temptress. This contradictory view of women lasted well through to the witch hunts in the late fifteenth century, and lasted 200 years.

Although Queen Elizabeth had given an elevated status to women, the progressive views of women did not last. During the Victorian age, women had a more defined role. Duties such as fulfilling spiritual needs and providing a comfortable home for their husbands after work, were just a few of the responsibilities that women had during this time. Men in the Victorian age had more “freedoms”, they were allowed to drink, smoke and were allowed to lay aside morality for business and political interests. Prostitution was on the rise during this era, men were allowed to “joke” with the women that turned to prostitution out of economic necessity.

As you can see, there are many different ways that gender was perceived over time. Over time, women’s roles went from being superior to being subservient to men. Today, we have seen the progression of gender roles, women come out of that subservient role and becoming more in touch with their role as equals in society. An important aspect of this is in the nineteenth century,...