In this study the aim is to investigate how the difference in perception of men and women towards traditional gender roles has shaped the modern society by either gravitating them towards intensified practices of those traditional gender roles or away from them. This study leaves room for others to continue working on the results that will be obtained during the research by either challenging it or consolidating its validity and relevance.
Traditional Gender roles
Gender roles are the roles that men and women are expected to occupy based on their sex. Traditionally, many Western societies have believed that women are more nurturing than men. Therefore, the traditional view of the feminine gender role prescribes that women should behave in ways that are nurturing (Blackststone,2003). In a traditional functionalist household, the man as the breadwinner and sole provider has final authority over all important decisions pertaining to the family. Women and wives on the other hand were expected to fulfil their expressive roles by providing emotional support and encouragement to their husbands and children. As a homemaker, caretaker and nurturer, a woman was expected to be proud of her duty as both a wife and mother (Blackstone,2003). Traditional gender roles are very controversial because to a certain extent they advocate for the upliftment of one gender group over the other and over the years have birthed gender stereotypes.
According to (Hentschel,2019) gender stereotypes are generalizations about how men and women are like and that there typically is a great deal of consensus about them. This statement underlines that there are certain social roles that men have to play and the same goes for women, There is a conceptualization that women have to focus on domestic matters while their male counter parts mainly focus of labour rated matters(Hentschel,2019) The phrase “Women are from Venus, men are from Mars” is a phrase that is often used to explain observed differences in the way women and men think, feel, and act. It conveys the inevitability of such differences by suggesting that men and women originate from planets that are millions of miles apart, implying that they are as inherently different as they would be if they were separate species (Ellers,2017).
These stereotypes are some of the reasons there have been a growing difference in perception towards traditional gender roles by men and men over the years. Even the gender stereotypes in society with regards to traditional gender roles “ people still differ with how much they endorse traditional gender roles, women who show less support for traditional gender roles tend to experience more equal division of household labour (Fetterolf, 2014). The persistence of traditional gender stereotypes is fuelled by skewed gender distribution into social roles (Hentschel,2019). The emergence of these gender stereotypes has caused women who are progressive to be marginalized in places of labour when they seek employment or in other various parts of society were, they seem to be challenging the status quo.
Theories that influence traditional gender roles vs theories that discredit traditional gender roles
The functionalist perspective clearly advocates for the maintenance of traditional gender roles, according to (Jardine,2012) The functionalist perspective depicts the family as an economic social unit, maintaining that the family in its entirety provides a set of universal functions to society such as: regulation of sexual behaviour, socialization of children, care and emotional support, maintaining the economic system, and conferring social status upon its members. The life course theory (as cited in elder, 1998) and the ecological systems ( as cited in Doherty, Kouneski & Erickson, 1998 ) theory emphasize that structural characteristics and societies can affect people’s perceptions (Gianesini,2011).
However the conflict theory strongly disagrees with the functionalist theory on the perceptions towards traditional gender roles in the sense that the conflict view submits that these distinct gender roles forced upon us and presented by the functionalist perspective are often misleading as it introduces critical issues such as the subordination of women, violence in the family, perpetuation of the stratification system and delegitimization of variant lifestyles (Jardine,2012)
A discourse analysis approach will be utilized for this research because it enables one to get the information from participants without them withholding certain information. This type of research approach enables the researcher to beyond the response of the participant. It is particularly suited for this research because the aim is to see how the differences in perception towards traditional gender roles between men and women has shaped the modern society so it will enable the participants to openly share their opinions while giving the researcher in depth knowledge about the proposed question.
The proposed research question requires the researcher to utilize the Focus group interviews which will consist of married couples being interviewed and asked to share their opinions on the proposed question, There will be individual interviews for the single participants and divorcees so they also share their perspectives. The compiled research data will be compared to the published article journals and books that are being used as sources of reference for this research so that there is a concrete conclusion. The data collection will be conducted through open ended structured interview questions. Data collection will be done through recorded notes during the interviews and through recordings of the interviews that will be stored and later transcribed for analysis of data.
Convenience sampling strategy will be used during this research, this will enable the researcher to carefully select the type of people needed for this research according to the researcher. A total of 30 participants will be used for this research with each of the participants representing a certain group of people within that age range and marital status.
The research will have 05 single men and 05 single women between the ages of 18 – 35 years they will be the representatives of that particular age range and marital status in this research, Then there will be a total of 05 married couples chosen between the ages of 18- 50 to represent the age range and marital status and last but not least there will be 05 men and 05 women between the ages of 35-50 consisting of divorcees to share their perceptions on the question at hand.
The procedures to be followed by the researcher during the research will be, there will be a consent form sent out to the selected participants of the research to protect the rights of both the researcher and the participants. A formal request form will be sent to the community leader of Joubert park, requesting approval to conduct the research within his community. In the consent form privacy of the responses of participants will be included.