Malaysia Gender Roles Essay

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Gender Role Attitudes among Ethnic Malays and Indians in Malaysia Recently, a court ruling in the Putrajaya Court of Appeal, Malaysia, ruled the ban on cross-dressing as unconstitutional. The court stated that this ban was “degrading, oppressive, and inhuman”. This ban was under the Islamic Sharia law, a law that is enacted upon ethnic Malays and Muslims of other ethnicities in Malaysia (Human Rights Watch, 2014). The lift of the ban in question leads us to question how do Malaysians perceive gender roles? And since Malaysia is rich in diversity with various ethnic groups, are there differences in how Malaysians of different ethnicities think of gender roles?
Gender can be defined as the patterns of behaviours that societies and cultures see
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This theory may be relevant based on the results of this study because it was postulated by Kane (2000) that the stronger one’s social class identity is, the more traditional their attitudes towards gender roles become. ‘Ketuanan Melayu’, or “Malay Supremacy”, is a term that has been propagated by local politicians and the media for decades. The crux of this term, ‘tuan’, which directly translates into “master” or “lord”, suggests someone who is in control and the usage of this term does not appear to encourage harmony among ethnic groups but rather as an effort to put this ethnic group in a privileged position over others (Muzaffar, 2010). This term that has been widely used throughout Malaysia’s history, and perhaps has had some effect on the way the Malay community in Malaysia perceive their social status throughout the years. This may have made them value their perceived superior social class and identify more strongly with it in comparison with the ethnic Indians in Malaysia, which can explain why they may hold stronger, more traditional attitudes towards gender roles, according to Kane’s theory

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