Influences on our relationships: Gender Roles


Can you identify the difference between sex and gender? Try this interactive game to test out your knowledge. Match the correct answers to its perspective category (each category has three answers).

















slim waist







—ANSWERS:  Male, Barbie’s, Female, Breast,  Football, menstruation, pregnancy, penis, skirts, pants, muscles, slim waist, testicles

What are Gender Roles?

  • Gender roles determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, and interact with each other in society. This affects our relationships because it determines how we act within our relationships along with social norms.
    • For example, let’s return to The Simpsons. Marge, Lisa, and Maggie all wear dresses and Bart and Homer wears pants.
    • In a relationship, typical gender roles are that women like to talk to resolve conflict whereas men hold everything in.
  • Gender roles are normal and will exist in society as an important aspect of our lives that makes men and women diverse through our differences .  It is important to understand them  and how they affect the health of our relationships. Although gender roles are can be positive some issues may arise if we cannot learn to accept them. Such as:
    • Difficulty negotiating gender roles. This is the ability to effectively communicate what you want/need as a gender even though it is not contrary to your gender. It can be considered as a healthy exchange of skillsets. Gender roles become limiting when it is not negotiable. For example, in a stereotypical relationship the gender norms are that women cook and men fix the house. This can be limiting to each gender skill set since the man might like to cook better and the woman likes to fix things around the house. If you are able to communicate your strengths then you can be more confident negotiating your gender role.
    • People may feel trapped by their gender roles that they must either act like a male or female and that there is  no in-between. For example, a male knows that his gender role is to like sports and have big muscles, however, he may also be interested in fashion designing which is seen  as a female hobby. This can cause a man to feel trapped by his gender role that as a male he can not like female hobbies.
    • People cannot distinct between gender roles and their personalities. Gender roles are assigned to us by society which tells us how males and females are suppose to act. Which can be confused with our personalities that we are born with and it is not changed by society.
  • We should also take notice that gender roles do not lead to violence, however they do influence violence through the media and people that we  interact with daily. The people that we are surrounded by has a part in shaping our gender roles along with the media which can influence our gender behaviors.
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