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Gender roles are sets of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are generally considered acceptable, appropriate or desirable for a person based on their actual or perceived sex. 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 led 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, John; Hampson, Joan G; Hampson, John (October 1955). "An Examination of Some Basic Sexual Concepts: The Evidence of Human Hermaphroditism". Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. (Johns Hopkins University) 97 (4): 301–19.
By the term, gender role, we mean all those things that a person says or does to disclose himself or herself as having the status of boy or man, girl or woman, respectively. It includes, but is not restricted to sexuality in the sense of eroticism. Gender role is appraised in relation to the following: general mannerisms, deportment and demeanor, play preferences and recreational interests; spontaneous topics of talk in unprompted conversation and casual comment; content of dreams, daydreams, and fantasies; replies to oblique inquiries and projective tests; evidence of erotic practices and, finally, the person's own replies to direct inquiry.
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