Margaret Mead's Role Of Gender: Gender Roles In American Society

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In the United States, one of the largest contemporary issues is conflict between genders. Many believe that women are being actively suppressed in American society, while others believe men and women are completely equal. Meanwhile, others maintain that there really is no such thing as males and females in nature, but rather they are social constructs that are no longer necessary and must be shed in order for society to continue to evolve. In reality, gender roles are a very complicated component of society, and this complexity leads to the well-recognized intensity of the debate about gender roles in American society. However, a key to equality between men and women that has been neglected in light of this enormous gender conflict in society …show more content…
Although her argument for gender equality is strong, her examples are also very isolated. These tribes all practice hunting and gathering, which itself is a very egalitarian way of life, and so it is fitting that it is possible for a society to be egalitarian when it practices hunting and gathering. This is why Mead’s argument is in reality rather weak, since it relies on the basis of small, simple hunter-and-gatherer societies. Within a small hunting and gathering society, many varying factors are introduced that can easily influence gender roles within the society. For example, a small community of people is much less likely to create unfair gender roles than a large society as whole like the American society. Essentially, any advancement towards agriculture and stationary lifestyle, which greatly increases the population of a society and causes to grow in complexity exponentially compared to a hunter-gatherer society, quickly dispels this equality. This inequality that comes with civilization can be seen clearly in Leslie Silko’s “In a Combat Zone.” Silko describes universities and city streets, where culture is thriving and places that are the result of mankind’s advancements of society, in which she feels women “are prisoners of violent strangers.” In general, the larger a population becomes and the more anonymous someone becomes in a city because of the sheer amount of people, the more likely there will be crimes against women and crime in general. This pattern can be seen in almost every civilization around the world and throughout time. Essentially what Silko is describing in her essay is her experience with this pattern. Silko mentions how a man chased her around in his car, which he would not do this had they known each other. It is also within these large

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