Running Head: Gender Norm
Changing Gender Norm
Jerrell Scott Johnson
SS260-03: Gender and Society
I suspect that the 1950’s have a quaint, if not bizarre, ring to them, especially for those who have no direct experience of living in the United States during that time. It reminds me that gender norms are hardly forever, no matter how endless they seem to be at the height of their influence. Only recently, however, has this lack of constancy been recognized, not the result of shortcomings in our ability to distinguish true femininity and masculinity, but rather our coming to see that gender itself is socially constructed: historically, politically, and economically. There is no way to predict those that will still be around 5 years from now. Instead, we try to establish gender, particularly in the form of "gender relations," as a necessary category in exploring, understanding, and even changing, human experience and behavior.
We have to acknowledge that gender norms, as we have come to understand them in the predominantly white American culture, have been changing in the last 30 years with unprecedented speed. At the same time, we recognize the need for more radical change as we continue to challenge ourselves and our cultural views about gender and other far-reaching cultural distinctions. We interweave both meanings of the term changing. Therefore, the title, "Changing Gender Norms," is about what is and what still needs to be. Talking about gender reminds us of other areas of difference, such as race, ethnicity, and class that punctuate our conversation and our lives. Our emphasis on gender is not to say that it is more important than these others are, but that are an analysis of gender its presence every aspect of our lives is crucial to understanding who we are and hope to become. There are some problems though. In attempting to talk about gender, we tend to universalize, as if gender means...