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Gender roles are sets of social norms dictating what types of behaviors are generally considered acceptable, appropriate or desirable for a person based on their actual or perceived gender. These are usually centered around opposing conceptions of femininity and masculinity, although there are myriad exceptions and variations. The specifics regarding these gendered expectations may vary substantially among cultures, while other characteristics may be common throughout a range of cultures. There is ongoing debate as what extent gender roles and their variations are biologically determined, and to what extent they are socially constructed.
Gender roles may be a means through which one may express their gender identity, but they may also be employed as a means of exerting social control, and individuals may experience negative social consequences for violating them. Various groups have lead efforts to change aspects of prevailing gender roles that they believe are oppressive or inaccurate, most notably the feminist movement.
The term was first coined by John Money in 1955 during the course of his study of intersex individuals to describe the manners in which these individuals express their status as a male or female, in a situation where no clear biological assignment exists.
- "What do we mean by "sex" and "gender"?". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Hackman, J.R. (1992). "Group influences on individuals in organizations". In M.D. Dunnette & L.M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 3). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press, 234-245.
- Money, J.; Hampson, J. G. & Hampson, J. L. (1955) An examination of some basic sexual concepts: the evidence of human hermaphroditism.
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