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Gender Stereotypes In Karen Horney, And Margaret Mead

Powerful Essays
Genders tend to be perceived as two clear-cut categories: Females and Males. Females are known to be fragile and dainty, growing up in dresses and playing with dolls. Males, on the other hand, are prided on being burly and strong, providing and protecting their family through hard labor. These stereotypes are just the tips of the iceberg in today’s society. From birth, humans are given guidelines to a life defined by their identity. Authors Judith Butler, Karen Horney, and Margaret Mead dive into the gender issues and stereotypes of identity, distrust, and temperament to open the door into a gender-neutral world filled with acceptance, originality, and equality. Philosopher and feminist Judith Butler is a well-known leader and promoter for…show more content…
As a professor of Rhetoric and Comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, Butler writes to try and change society’s attitude towards gender stigmas, diminishing limitations and false perceptions, making gender more flexible. In her book, Undoing Gender, she writes about the Joan/John case where twin boys were born and one of them, David, accidentally had his genitals severely burned during a procedure when he was a baby. His parents saw a television ad with John Money, a transsexual and intersexual surgeon, who eventually persuaded the parents to change David from male to female and became Brenda. Brenda grew up as a girl and began having problems in school around the age of nine when she realized she was not born a girl.…show more content…
Mead, an anthropologist with research in women’s sexuality and socialization, dissects the temperaments of each gender. She specifically focuses on the “cultural assumptions that certain temperamental attitudes are ‘naturally’ masculine and others ‘naturally’ feminine,” (241). Mead considers that society may eventually learn to tolerate and accept the natural diversity, “It is a two-edged sword that can be used to hew a more flexible, more varied society than the human race has ever built, or merely to cut a narrow path down which one sex or both sexes will be forced to march, regimented, looking neither to the right nor to the left,” (242). Today, gender molds are slowly being broken with the increasing use of gender-neutral bathrooms, toys, and clothes. This can be an issue for some, manipulating families who recently had a baby boy or girl into thinking it is not okay for them to have gender-segregated items in fear of ruining the baby’s upbringing, or those who do not feel comfortable conforming to these gender-neutral spaces feel they are now unwelcomed. Mead stressed the need to overcome the idea that, “Men and women are socially differentiated, and each sex, as a sex, forced to conform to the role assigned to it,” in order to get past this barrier that segregates us as genders
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