This research examines gender roles in various cultures. The plan of the research will be to set forth the reasons for which exploration of culture-specific gender roles can yield information on the content and values of a culture and then compare and contrast the roles of women and men in two sets of cultures: Hispanic and Anglo, and Japanese and Islamic.
The idea of societies organized around agriculture associated with the female principle out of societies characterized by hunter-gatherer food collection associated with male behavior, seems to have shaped the history and perception of the civilizing functions around engendered biophysical configurations (Rasmussen & Mellanby, 2000). No theory of social structure in the modern period, however, is complete without attention to socially determined functions of males and females, only apparently attributable to their biological makeup. Though Goffman (1977) says there are few meaningful differences gender biology in the industrial nations, he adds that social roles and norms are much more forcefully felt than those attributable to biological difference, and that women feel them most strongly. Indeed, across cultures, women's roles are a construction of the society, which is male dominated, male-constructed. Thus women's fate is attached to the fate and/or prerogatives of the men in their lives (Goffman, 1977). Such trends vary in intensity and emphasis, and how variations manifest is the project to which this research now turns.
Anglo-American and Hispanic. In American industrial society, which is dominantly Anglo-European, there are two sources of sex-role development: the family and the institutions of civil society. For Goffman (1977), the family consists of both adults and children, males and females. The family is a training space for the learning by boys and girls of socially acceptable adult roles as men and women.
The strength of that model for Anglo-American culture ca...