Whatever the case the main point to understand regarding male gender roles is this- the established “normal” gender role has been blurred due to free expression of true self as well as a feeling in society that this is acceptable behavior (Devor, 1989).

Female Gender Roles-Followed and Violated

Similarly to the male gender definition, the female gender role has been defined and forced upon society by longstanding traditions, perceptions of what the true expression of feminine behavior should be, etc. All of this, of course, is amplified by mass media, entertainment, and in the present day, the Internet. Loyal following of the female gender role can be seen in advertising for department stores which depict women as mind numbed robots who will buy every dress in sight because it exists, the dutiful mother serving fresh baked cookies to the children, and icons such as Martha Stewart who make it seem perfectly normal to be a domestic servant of sorts.

Reflecting back to the 1940s, however, one of the women who broke down many of the stereotypical barriers of the female gender definitions was actress Marlene Dietrich, whose choice of male clothing and husky voice portrayed a woman who was more masculine than feminine (Borich, 1999). Additional examples of the shattering of the female gender restriction exist in the open expression of homosexuality among women in public and the fantastic, yet amusing assertion put forward that while some women are not well suited for childbirth, perhaps some men are (Quindlen, 2000).

Overall, what can best be said about female gender roles, like male gender roles, is that they are not absolute. Thanks to spirited women over the years, the free expression of self has been allowed in many cases to override a stiff gender definition.


In this paper, the contemporary view of gender roles has been examined both in terms of sources which reinforce these so-called traditional roles and sources that violate the established order of gender itself. Beyond this, and perhaps more importantly, this paper has presented a tribute to the complexity of the human spirit and the desire for all people to express themselves and be who they truly are without the oppression of a judgmental society. Therefore, in closing, perhaps the best take away from this research is the fact that while stereotypes and generalizations may always exist, the yearning of the individual to be free will always be there to keep the judgmental members of society in check.


Borich, B.J. (1999). What Kind of King. The Gettysburg Review.

Devor, Holly. (1989). Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits of Duality.

Quindlen, Anna (2000). Women are Just Better. In GH Muller & HS Weiner (Eds.), The Short Prose Reader (9th ed., p.). New York: McGraw Hill.

Suarez, Veciana. Thank Heaven for Little Boys. Maasik, & Solomon (2003). Signs of Life in the U.S.A. (4th.