Gender Roles In African American Culture

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The Impact of Culture and Gender Roles Heather Richardson-Barker Drexel University Society has clearly defined boundaries between what is considered to be male or female. The development of an individual’s gender role is formed by interactions with those in close proximity. Society constantly tells us how we should look, act and live based on gender, as well as the influence of family, friends and the media have a tremendous impact on how these roles are formed and the expected behavior of each gender role. The term Gender, as defined by the United Nations, includes the psychological, social, cultural, and behavioral characteristics associated with being female or male. It further defines acceptable …show more content…

In a 2010 study that measured gender role belief in nearly 400 African American women, it was noted that the traditional gender role that is ascribed to white American women may not be relevant for African American women (Nguyen, et al., 2010). The cultural experience of African Americans in the United States from slavery to the civil rights era has an impact on their gender role views. The economic, political and social history of African Americans in the United States contribute to gender roles that are not clearly defined between male and female as African Americans men and women were made to perform in both gender roles at times. This has led to the belief that African American women hold character traits that are more masculine in nature and are viewed as being stronger, reliable and independent; while African American men display feminine traits and are seen as the weaker sex with negative characteristics such as undependable and unemotional. It is understood that there is a greater sense of egalitarian gender roles amongst the African American community in comparison to whites in the United States. With African American men having a more liberal view towards the gender roles of women more so than white Americans (Kane, …show more content…

One reason is that measurement lacks validity as self-reporting is the main method used. Societal roles may deter individuals from responding truthfully or even participating in the research. While the feminist movement has championed in pushing the agenda for equality for women not only in the United States but in societies across the globe, feminist theorists seek to challenge the masculine and feminine gender roles that are formed by societies and conform to role that are not gender biased.

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