In every society, individuals are expected to behave in a certain way. Men and women are expected to behave differently, depending on their gender. Gender is the social and cultural aspects regarding characteristics, roles and traits that are assigned to individuals depending on their sex (Matud, Bethencourt & Ibanez, 2014). Gender is a social construct that reflects the idea of femininity and masculinity, and this idea varies from one society to another (Koenig & Eagly, 2014). Gender studies examine the traits, patterns, and norms that the society considers feminine and masculine and the reasons, the stereotypes developed in the process and their impact, as well as the changes taking place in the society regarding feminine and masculine roles. In this paper, I present my gendered story. My gendered story is a reflection of whom I am and how I do gender, how I exist as a gendered being, and how I got here.
I am a female aged thirty-eight. I was born and grew up in a complete family, with a father mother and three children. I have an elder brother and a younger sister. I worked very hard all through my education. However, it is my qualification as a registered nurse that is most outstanding. This is because I attended college to attain a degree in my 30s. Currently, I am a full-time registered nurse and a single mother of two. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is kneel beside my bed and thank God for a new day. I also pray for my children to have a successful day. In y society, it is expected that a woman should be prayerful because she is the custodian of the welfare of her family. As a single mother, this is a role I hold dearly. After the prayer, I prepare breakfast, then wake the children up after laying the table. It is the work of a woman in my society to prepare and serve breakfast. After serving the children, I finally serve myself, and we take the breakfast together. I then prepare my children and see them off to school. However, if I am on duty, we get out together. I go to work as they go to school, then a certain lady comes to take care of the cleaning for a small fee. If I am off duty, I get back to the house and begin my household chores as expected of a woman. I do the laundry and all the cleaning, and by the time I am through, the children have come back from school. The need to take a snack, take a bath and be helped with their homework. As a mother, I do ensure all is fine before I begin preparing supper. I then retire to bed last. As a gendered being, I do not complain. I just do what is expected of me and ensure that my children are well taken care of. Koenig and Eagly (2014) state that in some societies, children are the responsibility of their mothers. In my society, this applies perfectly, and I am used to my existence as a gender being in this context.
I consider myself a gendered individual. My job as a registered nurse requires a lot of features associated with women such as compassion, care, and understanding (Miller, Eagly, & Linn, 2015). These are characteristics that I possess, and this makes me a good nurse; at least by the standards and expectations of the society. My society believes that women make better nurses due to their compassionate nature. Perhaps, this is what compelled me to study nursing. Due to my compassionate nature, I can relate very well with my colleagues, friends, patients and family members. If any of them is unwell, I get very concerned, pray for them and even take care of them where possible. When my younger sister broke a leg a few years ago, she stayed in my house, and I took care of her for three months. As soon as she was back on her feet, she was very grateful to me.
My grooming also portrays me as a gendered person. I never wear dark-colored clothes. In fact, my favorite colors are pink and yellow. Also, I cannot get out of the house without applying make-up and checking myself repeatedly in the mirror to ensure that I look outstanding. If I, for example, fail to apply lipstick, I normally experience a very dull day at work. I feel as if everyone can notice my dry lips even when nobody takes note of that. I also ensure that my hair is well done and my clothes well pressed and perfectly matched. This makes me feel feminine. I also watch my weight very closely because I want to maintain a desirable feminine figure. To cap it all, I need a handbag. I do not walk around without a handbag. After all, I will need it to have my assortment of makeup reachable anytime I want a replenishment. Such are the gendered things that I do, and they help boost my confidence anytime I go to work or anywhere else.
When I was growing up, my mother taught me a lot of values. Children learn their roles at an early age depending on the amount of exposure they get (Croft, Schmader, Block & Baron, 2014). I remember when I was growing up, my mother, whose kindness I highly admired, often woke us up early in the morning to pray. Although we would only pray for less than five minutes, she would go on for about thirty, much to the consternation of my father. Nevertheless, nothing discouraged her, and she often reminded us of the benefits of prayer and encouraged us to present memory verses in Sunday school and church every Sunday, which I did faithfully. After prayers, she would embark on household chores. Although my brother and patriarchal father did not help her due to their gender, my younger sister and I would be very helpful with the cleaning. So, from the very beginning, I knew that household chores are for women. Additionally, my mother always dressed my sister and in bright clothes and said that they made us look brighter and more beautiful while my father and brother always wore dark jeans and shirts. This made me believe that dark clothes were for men. Women needed to look beautiful and bright.
We were a closely-knit and religious family, at least by the standards of those days and I often wished to have such a family. Religion and the family institutions thus really shaped whom I am today. They greatly influenced my existence as a gendered being.
Croft, A., Schmader, T., Block, K., & Baron, A. (2014). The second shift reflected in the second generation. Do parents gender roles at home predict childrens aspirations?. Psychological Science, 25(7), 1418-1428. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797614533968
Koenig, A. M., & Eagly, A. H. (2014). Evidence for the social role theory of stereotype content: Observations of groups roles shape stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(3), 371.
Miller, D. I., Eagly, A. H., & Linn, M. C. (2015). Womens representation in science predicts national gender-science stereotypes: Evidence from 66 nations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(3), 631.
Matud, P. M., Bethencourt, J., & Ibanez, I. (2014). Relevance of gender roles in life satisfaction in adult people. Personality and Individual Differences, 70, 206-211. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.046
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