Gender Roles


This video from Tony Porter’s “man box” is directly inline with what bell hooks describes in her book as the patriarchy.
In Ch. 2, “Understanding Patriarchy,” bell hooks elaborates on the concept of the patriarchy. She uses her personal experience, growing up in a traditional household to delineate how she and her brother were socialized differently, and how the roles that they were taught sometimes didn’t fit.
“My brother and I remember our confusion about gender. In reality I was stronger and more violent than my brother, which we learned quickly was bad. And he was a gentle, peaceful boy, which we learned was really bad.”
I’ll offer a summary of the societal pressures bell hooks experienced in her life, which she claims are a direct effect of the patriarchy.
  • weak
  • “free from the burden of thinking”
  • caretaker
  • nurture others
  • cannot be violent: violence for women is unnatural
  • the bible teaches that men were created to rule the world
  • to be served and to provide
  • think, strategize, plan
  • violence can be appropriate
  • boys should not express feelings
I think hooks brings up an interesting point when she describes the consequences of not abiding by their gender roles. Gender roles are defined by Blackwell sociological Encyclopedia as “attitudes regarding the appropriate roles, rights, and responsibilities of women and men in society.” I do not claim that gender roles are bad, I personally think that they serve a purpose in our society. I do think that when society enforces these gender roles on all individuals across all cultures and across changing times that tensions are created. People are dynamic, and putting them in a box has consequences. In the case of the patriarchy or “man box” as described by Tony Parker, the consequence is violence against women, rape culture, and sexual assault. 
What are the gender roles enforced by society? What are the gender roles enforced by Inupiaq culture?  How has the NANA region seen tensions or felt consequences of the strict gender roles enforced in changing times and on a diverse group of people?
Here is a link to a spoken word piece about the pressure to “man up”


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