“… but you’re a girl” by Brigham Larimer

My topic from chapter 5 is that of gender roles. A gender role can be defined as the way a person is expected to behave, speak, think, etc. based on his/her sex. The saying “boys will be boys” clearly reflects that such expectations not only exist, but are well known among our society. For instance, boys are generally expected to be more competitive than girls, while girls are expected to be more nurturing than boys.

An interesting example of this effect comes from the life of my friend, whom I have always known to be very competitive, determined, and independent. With these qualities in mind, however, this friend is actually defying her gender role (yes, it’s a girl, did you assume otherwise?). As a result, she feels much more comfortable hanging out with guys than with girls, and identifies with them much more than she does with girls in general. In fact, she just told me the other day that a concern she has about getting married someday is that she will be expected to not be so close to her guy friends anymore (just as her husband will be with his female friends), and that this will be especially difficult for her as her closest friends are, for the most part, male!

I offer this example as an interesting piece of evidence that gender roles, with all their stereotypes, actually do make a difference in outcomes. It shows that at least in this case, by adopting some stereotypical male characteristics and therefore fitting a more male gender role in a sense, my friend identifies more closely with males and therefore falls into their social group more naturally than she does a female group, whom she cannot identify with as easily or naturally.

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