Gender Expectations As far as anyone is concerned, boys and girls have always been different. From the well-known immaturity of a boy and the maturity of a girl to the actual differentiation of sex, it is obvious the difference between the two. Masculinity vs. femininity, the learning process when growing up, and responsibilities are the differences the stories “Boys” by Rick Moody and “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid illustrate very well. And as society has its role, it uses these differences to set standards for each gender as for what is expected by them.
These standards that are set are very stereotypical, making expectations and gender stereotypes go hand in hand. The learning process for a boy and a girl as they grow up is very different. In the story “Boys”, how boys learn is illustrated very well. Throughout the whole story, the boys are about doing things and learning from their mistakes. No one teaches them anything, but they learn from life on a trial and error basis. They were left alone to learn by themselves through what life had to offer for them. But the girl from the story “Girl” was taught completely different.
She was taught everything by what seemed to be a mother figure. She was taught what to do at a young age while being taught what she would have to do in the future at the same. From how to fold clothes to “…how to bully a man” (Kincaid 201) there was always some one teaching her. And due to this learning process for each gender, responsibilities are set. Responsibilities are probably the biggest part of growing up. The responsibilities for each gender differentiate greatly. A woman seems to have more responsibilities because she is taught what she must do, and especially if she is maintaining a household.
But she knows what to do when it comes time that she has to do it. As for a man, he never stops learning. Life seems to continue going on that trial and error basis. And the responsibilities for him are not that hard until he begins a family. Once he starts a family, he must take the full-blown responsibility for caring and providing for them. But a boy does not become a man because of age, but because of what he learned from life. In the story “Boys”, the boys are seen to be in their teenage years but are still considered boys.
Not until their father dies are they considered men, because that is when they learn what they need to actually be men. A woman has no need for this type of lesson, because they were taught everything they need to become since they were young. These responsibilities are thought to be because of one idea: masculinity vs. femininity. Masculinity vs. femininity has always been a great factor for what is expected from each gender, and is generally stereotyped. Men are thought to always be strong and to be leaders, while women are thought to be fragile and helpful.
This greatly influences the expectations, as women are thought to be weaker and more vulnerable. This is why women are thought to have to stay home and take care of the household while the man goes out to work. For a man, it is expected that he lead the household and take care of it. Also, because a man is generally thought as being strong, he must go out and work in order to provide for his family. And though times have changed, this idea seems to remain. Men can stay home while the woman works, but then others look down on them.
It’s just what is expected from a man and woman based on their responsibilities and their learning process. It seems that most ideas and expectations concerning men and women are very stereotypical. Maybe it is because of masculinity vs. femininity and the expectations that come from that. Maybe it’s the learning process that boys and girls have as they grow up and the expectations based on how they learn. Or maybe it is because of the responsibilities that are expected from man or woman. Maybe it’s a combination of these reasons. But whatever the reason may be, the stereotypes are there. They are stereotyped expectations on gender.
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