Social Construction Of Gender Roles Essay

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Gender roles are a social construct that cultures depend on in order to differentiate between males and females in society. Females are more obviously negatively affected by these gender roles. Susan Bordo examines how these roles have an effect on notions of control as well as mental disorders such as Hysteria, Agoraphobia, and Anorexia. Bordo states that a person’s body works as a ‘medium of culture’ in that “the bodies of disordered women offer themselves as an aggressively graphic text for the interpreter” (Bordo 2017: 80). These women show with their bodies, sometimes unconsciously, what words cannot. The symptoms of Hysteria, which was common in women in the nineteenth century, are heightened versions of traits that were associated with the ideal woman of the time. Male theorists described a normal, mature woman as “delicate, dreamy, sexually passive, temperamental, and charmingly labile” (Bordo 2017: 80). Women with hysteria were on the extreme side of these traits, however the fact that…show more content…
Agoraphobia became more widespread in the nineteen fifties and sixties when a working woman was frowned upon and the social norm was a housewife who was content with nothing more outside her house and family. Bordo comments that, “Agoraphobia, as I.G. Fodor has put it, seems ‘the logical-albeit extreme-extension of the cultural sex-role stereotype for women’ in this era” (Bordo 2017: 81). Agoraphobia is a resistance to the expectations of women to only leave the house to parade their children around to school and extra curriculars as well as being an attractive object to accompany her husband at events, or be seen in a wifely manner to attract a man. With this disorder the woman takes control by isolating herself from society, effectively shutting out all responsibilities that are expected of women, allowing them to break free from the some of the control they were suffering

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