Gender roles are based on norms, or standards, created by society. In the United States, masculine roles are usually associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles are usually associated with passivity, nurturing, and subordination.
Gender socialization starts at birth, and occurs through four major agents of socialization: family, education, peer groups, and mass media.
The attitudes and expectations surrounding gender roles are typically based not on any inherent or natural gender differences, but on stereotypes, or overgeneralizing about the attitudes, traits, or behavior patterns of women or men.
Gender stereotypes form the basis of sexism, or the prejudiced beliefs that value one sex over another.
The drive to adhere to masculine and feminine gender roles continues later in life. Men tend to outnumber women in professions such as law enforcement, the military, and politics. Women tend to outnumber men in care-related occupations such as childcare, healthcare, and social work. These occupational roles are examples of typical American male and female behavior, derived from our culture's traditions. Adherence to these roles demonstrates fulfillment of social expectations but not necessarily personal preference.
Source: Boundless. “Gender Roles and Differences.” Boundless Psychology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014.
This statement, along with the novel Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, makes arguments about the roles of men and women in society. Using these works as a basis for contrast and comparison, write a 2000-word paper that makes an argument about gender roles in society.
This is a very broad topic that you will narrow down by formulating your own research question. Issues to address might include:
How are gender roles transmitted in society?
How are expectations about gender roles communicated in Sense and Sensibility and in today’s media? What happens to people - or characters - who rebel against the roles society intends for them? What are the consequences of that rebellion?
How are gender roles defined differently in America than they are in other countries?
How have gender roles evolved from a historical perspective?
Are the lives of men or women more influenced by gender expectations?