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What does it mean to be your gender?


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#21
WereWolf

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@ gardening and sewing:  I thought that the masculinity or femininity of actions didn't have to do with the tasks themselves, but with the approach to them.  I.e. work to maintain a system was often considered feminine, while that exact same work would be considered masculine if it was seen as changing the system.  I.e. tending to a garden is considered feminine/motherly, whereas engaging in a gardening project is often considered masculine/enterprising.  At least that's my explanation of the notion that 'ambition is unattractive in a woman,' and how most of the heavy gardeners I know are male (though granted, the latter's mostly due to my circumstance)
UPDATE #1:  Werewolf now has a cape.  A little raggedy, and suspiciously like a torn up burlap sack, but it does provide some protection from the elements.  It also smells like potatoes, and thus causes a slightly higher encounter rate with some types of monsters.

#22
Adrea

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Well I think you're talking about building a garden or pond in contrast to actually maintaininig a garden. You could arguably do both simultaneously but that requires craftsmanship/carpentry skills or building skills of some sort along with gardening skills, which don't necessarily come in the same package. Though, I was also talking more about personal hobbies rather than professional career  though, which are usually generalized since they are more of a personal endeavor; but in a professional career what you said would be true, because it's a business endeavor, and  men, in the past, have always been painted as the leaders and women the followers.

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#23
WereWolf

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View PostAdrea, on 03 March 2014 - 06:24 AM, said:

Though, I was also talking more about personal hobbies rather than professional career  though,
At my university, a hodgepodge group of graduate students (of various disciplines) get together to work on a garden.  It's been a long lasting hobby for many of them (2+ years that I know of), and they tend to gardens at their personal homes as well (the joke is that they work with real plants, while I work with virtual plants).  That's sort of the group I had in mind when I wrote what I wrote.  They're at most "semi professional".  The distribution of sexes and genders is pretty even (between male and female), and I suppose I'm grasping at whether or not there's a stylistic difference between the men and women.  And I suppose there's some of the obvious stereotypes, i.e. the men might be a little bit more proactive in conversation, and the women a bit more laid back.   But the work's pretty evenly distributed.  I personally just do heavy labor because I don't want to worry about what's a weed and what's not a weed, but I'm an oddity. A random visitor wouldn't be able to tell that the guys do X, and the girls do Y.

And so I'm really hard pressed to find an *actual* difference (among my very specific  peer group) of how men and women approach the crafts (like gardening and cooking) differently.  It seems mostly to boil down to personality differences, and how they express themselves.  You know the stereo type of how guys man the grill during BBQs and cookouts?

And of course there're mild sexual interests at play too, so the guys want to appear as guys, and the girls as girls. Which is why I hypothesize we're moving away from gender roles, and towards gender "styles."  But I'm just guessing.  These are topics I'm only tangential to, and I wouldn't really be thinking about them unless other people brought them up (so thanks for that).

View PostAdrea, on 03 March 2014 - 06:24 AM, said:

... but in a professional career what you said would be true, because it's a business endeavor, and  men, in the past, have always been painted as the leaders and women the followers.

I know that I'm *still* surprised to come across figures like Limor Fried of Adafruit, and I often forget that... The head of Paizo Publishing (who handle the PathFinder RPG) is a woman, right?  I don't think there's any clear mention of it on the site, and so many of the artists and writers appear to be male, that I often forget that women play a prominent role too.

The point is that that perception still somehow seems to persist, and I'm not particularly sure why.
UPDATE #1:  Werewolf now has a cape.  A little raggedy, and suspiciously like a torn up burlap sack, but it does provide some protection from the elements.  It also smells like potatoes, and thus causes a slightly higher encounter rate with some types of monsters.

#24
Adrea

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Other than I was generalizing certain activities, rather than behaviors, to be feminine or masculine I am actually really not terribly astute at the whole "men should do it like x" and "women should do it like x" things, and I just listed arbitrary activities to illustrate a point rather than declare certain activities are inherently gender-specific. But I will try to give a shot as to why certain perceptions might exist.

Essentially I think you are heading in the right direction in that it comes down to behavioral expectations, but those behavioral expectations then can easily be related to certain activities and thus certain activities are deemed to be gender-specific. For instance, I had watched an episode of Duck Dynasty the other day and one of the brothers was trying to lose weight. His wife suggested attending a yoga class with her, to which he scoffed at her and said that "men's yoga" was called stretching, but resorted to it anyway. When their daughter was dropped off at the yoga class by the dude's father the father seemed rather disgusted his son was doing yoga.

Now, obviously, men and women do yoga equally, and I don't really see anything inherently feminine about the activity. So I am inclined to believe that this gender-assignment was brought on by social attitudes towards yoga (relative to their community) and possibly how yoga is portrayed in movies, the media, and etc, or that there is more focus on women to stay in shape through a larger variety of workout routines in contrast to men. So, I think, in terms of how society and media treat men and women differently, or tend to focus and market things towards one gender moreso than the other, that we come up with a lot of unconcious social expectations for different genders.

Now, from a much more biological standpoint, I do believe that, historically, men and women act differently as a way to attract the other gender by trying to show off traits that might be attractive to a potential mate. Also, we also emphasize falling in love and getting married as the end all be all goal after we accomplish all our other goals, and so I think "gender roles" and expectations arise to accomplish those goals. However, every person nowadays is just so unique, and similar interests can vary so much from one person to the next. Nowadays, mating isn't our driving motivation for living. Some people would just prefer to be themselves no matter the situation, some may feel the need to impress someone new and thus they may act differently, some people may just become competitive and try to outperform others, and some may just want to be accepted a certain way or among a certain group of people--the list goes on. But, I think Patsy sort of mentioned it in the original post when she mentioned gender being synonymous with sex is outdated, but I think a lot of people try to follow certain behaviors because they may perceive them as "safe" in regards to achieving a specific social goal.

However, a lot of things about how people think one gender should be x and the other should be y is outdated nowadays, in my opinion. What one person may think is feminine may be masculine to someone else and vice versa to another person. I think the important thing is that people self-identify though. I think when it comes down to someone wanting to be a certain gender or identify as a certain gender that they figure out what that means to them. Which, obviously, is the point of this whole thread. My being a woman, to me, is really just relative to my accomplishments and pride as a woman relative to women in hisotry, relative my pride and confidence in being comfortable in my own body and appearance, and relative to my attraction of men and how I may act differently towards one if I'm attracted to him. To me it just really boils down to sexuality and how people want to express that--some people like to display it proudly, some are indifferent, some just want to be like 'hey I'm an x!' and others like it to be more of a private matter.

However, rather than congratulate them and give them a pat on their back, people often get shamed if they don't exhibit an expected behavior, or a behavior that someone may perceive as "wrong", and thus I think the persistence and prominence of gender roles also has a lot to do with peer pressure and a lack of acceptance. Even when this is done in regards to little things I think this has a huge effect on people and allows gender roles to persist even if someone thinks they shamed a behavior because they thought it was "wrong."

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