Gender roles are set behaviors or attributes that society ascribes to a particular gender identity. Gender roles vary between cultures and over time, reflect the mainstream idea of what is appropriate. In a gender binary system, the only gender roles are masculine and feminine, despite the fact that some societies acknowledge third genders with their own unique roles in society.
In modern Western society, some examples of gender roles include the following:
- Blue is for boys; Pink is for girls.
- Boys prefer to play with trucks and cars; Girls prefer to play with dolls and toy domestic appliances.
- Men should work outside the home; Women should be homemakers.
- Men are aggressive, independent, decisive, unemotional, tough, insensitive, rarely ever cry, logical and not nurturing, and not allowed to show vulernability; Women are gentle, polite passive, submissive, emotional, illogical, kind, home-oriented, nurturing, and expected to be ladylike.
- Men are better at technical skills; Women are better at social skills,
- Men are interested in working out, fishing, and other outdoor activities; Women are interested in fashion.
- Men wear suit and pants; Women wear skirts/dresses.
- Men have short hair; Women have long hair.
Gender roles are considered by many to be harmful to society, as they restrict the actions of all genders, and can result in one gender being given power over the other.