Gender Review in History, Essay Example

Women constitute half the world’s population. The differences are obvious however; one thing truly makes a woman different from a man. It is not often mentioned, it is not her sex, which makes the difference, for we all have genitals. The monthly cycle makes her truly different some would say it makes more in tune with nature and the fact they nurture our young and have a special kind of kindness that only a woman knows. (DiQuinzio.p45)  the victor as it is said always writes history. The victim never gets to be included in a good light in the narration. (Scott.p45) Women have been completely written out of history. The premise of this paper is that women in the labor force have professions that are viewed as feminine and there are other professions are viewed as masculine. Furthermore the professions are traditionally viewed as feminine is due to the perceived nature of women as a sex.

The few mentions that are found about women are in a singular observation of women. In a sense, she is a property, a prize with a price. She is not separated from her sex as human being. (Scott.p68)  Her role is seen in the light of the kitchen not the revolution. History has looked at her as a sexual object as opposed to a person with value and having important contributions.

Think of the agrarian revolution, the industrial revolution and even the more recent democratic revolutions of the Middle East. Mainly men have written history. This meant that history focused on the things that were thought to be of most importance mainly military conquest and political decisions that changed the world. However in the 1900 has everything changed when historians looked at a wide variety of topics including women in history. The feminist movement brought the analysis of women in history to the forefront especially their contribution to the most important events in economic history.

The very first division of labor between men as women is the very word labor. A woman will go into labor and bear forth children. This has many implications in terms of her time allocation, which makes it impossible to have a rigid criterion for both sexes. She must have time to recover after childbirth. This inequality is not a human institution but a natural one. However, there are certain sociological effects she must be modest, faithful and reserved, to her husband her society and her community. ( DiQuinzio. p78)   This is how Jean- Jacques Rousseau viewed women. Society as a whole including him saw that man’s physical strength made him master over her and the earth. He lived in brutish time where strength of arms and force ruled the day. It is in this world women were truly powerless. To him women were by in large ‘domestic slaves,’  to console, soothe men and please men. (Scott.p69)

Rousseau had a view that has proved enduring to this day. Men were men some of the time and women were women all of the time. When looking at three inter linking arenas work, home and association something interesting can be observed. Nursing, fashion, hairdressing just to mention a few are seen as a female pursuit. (Tosh, p77)  Because it lends itself to the specific nature of women as nurturing and caring, and not because of men cannot do it. Any work that required physical strength and high levels of intellectualism were seen as male pursuits. This follows that men dominate these fields. There is a view that gender is a social construction. (Brenner.p90) this has meant that women are encouraged through socialization to pursue these particular careers. A tension occurs when women enter men’s jobs so to speak. It will mean that it will deny men these jobs say in the military or in construction. This is due to the view and social construction that men are the breadwinners, not only that they are the only breadwinners. A woman working is largely viewed as a bonus income for the household.

Attention is turned to associations of males and females as socially distinct groups. This is where the notion of patriarchy is reinforced. (Tosh, p67) It applies when associations such as the masons or the skull and bones or even in the political arena reinforces women’s confinement. Historians and ignored this and these associations had little to do with work and more to do with bonding arenas for men. It has been correctly viewed by women as contributing to the exclusionary power man have created via these institutions (Brenner.p34), How many women only clubs exist in comparison to men. This reinforced women gender roles among the working class and social critics constantly ignoring its impact on women is testament to this.

In conclusion, it is through cultural influences and the psycho-dynamics of masculinity that gender roles and views have been reinforced over time. (Tosh, p71)  Socialization of both genders and peer group pressure has largely kept each group in its place. Masculinity and femininity is inseparable from peer recognition due to the associations as stated earlier and acts as a reinforcing mechanism for both sexes. (Tosh, p81) The popular assumption of male superiority, combine with popular notions of where women belong due to their sex and it perceived nature has meant that the social construction of their place has translated into their pursuits professionally. Combine this with the tension created when they leave the mold and the association’s man has created lends credence to the thesis. (Tosh, p79) Women are in fields that are viewed as feminine and men in fields that are viewed as masculine.



Work Cited:

Joan W. Scott, ‘ Gender, a useful category of analysis.’ American Historical Review, Oxford University Press. Print.1986

John Tosh. ‘ What should historians do with masculinity?’ History workshop journal 38, Oxford University Press Ltd. Print. 1994

Johanna, Brenner, Women and the Politics of Class, New York: Monthly Review. Print. 2000

DiQuinzio, Patrice, ‘ The Impossibility of Motherhood: Feminism, Individualism, and the Problem of Mothering.’ New York: Routledge. Print.1999