• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and evaluate the effect of cultural influences on gender roles

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Outline and evaluate the effect of cultural influences on gender roles (24) Differences in gender roles, identities and practices have been found across many different cultures throughout the world. Gender is affected by culture in various ways. One aspect of gender roles, which can be argued to be culturally dependent, is the division of labour amongst different gender types. Division of labour refers to the work, tasks, and behaviours, which are traditionally assigned to men and women. Children are socialised into recognizing what is a stereotypically ?masculine? role and what is a ?feminine? role. For example, in western cultures, stereotypically roles such as being a builder or a policeman are predominantly male gender roles, whereas other careers such as nursing and dancing are seen as predominantly female gender roles. Therefore gendered labour division shows how culture defines our gender roles. There are also 3rd and 4th genders in cultures such as South America and Thailand, for example the Thai Kathoeys have male genetalia but dress in women?s clothing, and are considered a third gender. ...read more.


the gender roles differed greatly, therefore supporting the role of culture on gender. Another study, which supports the role of culture on gender roles, is Hargreaves (1986). He observed that in some cultures, men weave and women make pots, whereas in others, these roles are reversed; women are the major agricultural producers in some, but prohibited from agricultural work in others. Although women are sometimes not physically strong enough to perform agricultural work, this study shows the gendered division of labour varies considerably between cultures. Hargreaves work supports the influence of culture on gender roles as in different cultures, individuals had varying roles in division of labour showing that such roles were not culturally universal, therefore supporting the theory of cultural influence on gender roles. A study, which contradicts the influence of culture on gender roles, is Barry et al. (1957). He performed research across many non-Westernised cultures, looking at which qualities were deemed important for males and females. ...read more.


This can be seen in Mead?s research, which demonstrates the differences in how gender roles are divided cross culturally in Papua New Guinea communities. Conversely, evolutionary theory argues that gendered behaviours developed because they were advantageous mutations to each sex and thus gender roles and divisions of labour are argued to be universal. Evolutionary research, such as Barry?s (1957) study, therefore presents an issue for the argument that gender is culturally relative. As much research has shown there is some universality to gender roles and behaviours throughout the world, this would suggest there is an evolutionary basis to gender, which cultural research fails to explain. Overall, the debate into whether gender is universal, with roots in evolution, or culturally relative, is complex and the research is varied. The best approach would be to consider the complex phenomenon of gender as a combination of both evolutionary traits, which are shaped by cultural experience. In this way, an approach can account for all research and argument into the causes of gender around the world. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. COnformity and gender

    found that women conformed more than men. This was explained by the idea that women worry more about social relationships than men. In the experimental situation, they have different short term goals so they appear more conformist in the experiment than they appear in the real world.

  2. Critically discuss evolutionary perspectives on essential gender differences and human sexuality

    or lesser chance to attract women who seek a long-term mate because of his reputation as a womanizer and the risk of being attacked by a jealous husband whose wife he seduced and copulated with. Women who pursue a short-term strategy meet similar costs as men, with a difference that

  1. conjugal roles

    Gershuny also found that between 1974 and 1987 the proportion of men doing domestic work had increased in relation to the increase of women in employed work and that husbands with wives in fulltime employment had doubled the amount of domestic work they did at home.

  2. A study was conducted to see if there are gender differences in how aggressive ...

    It is essential that researches remain objective. The biggest disadvantage of a case study is that it includes retrospective material, from the past. There is no way of knowing if this information is correct because it happened such a long time ago. Adults may not accurately remember childhood experiences.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work