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Gender Equality Essay, Research Paper

Gender equality has been a social concern since man step foot on earth. When we

think of gender equality discrimination against women is what comes to mind, but

in recent years psychologist and sociologist have began to study how men are

discriminated against. It is considered general knowledge that men still make

more money a year then women, and it is true that men hold most of the position

of power in society. Recent studies have concluded that there is an aspect of

society that discriminates against men. This aspect of society is deeply rooted

in the American culture, and it is hard to name, to discuses, and to study.

Gender roles for men, then are viewed not as biological givens, but as social

constructions created from the expectations of social forces such as parents,

teachers, peers, and the media about what constitute masculinity {(Pleck, 1995)

Mahalik 1998}. Men are socialized to believe in the importance of success,

power, and competitiveness. Because the male socialization experience is

theorized to create negative feelings such as anxiety and shame related to all

things feminine, the development of rigid traditional male roles, or male gender

role conflict {(O?Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & Wrightsman, 1986) Mahalik

1998}. Looking at male emotional socialization from the framework of the gender

role strain paradigm, many boys are required to block their feelings and

restrict the expression of their vulnerable and caring emotions {(Levant)

Mahalik 1998}. Because of this, ?a man experiences any particular facet of

self that he considers feminine with great conflict and anxiety, because he

believes it threatens his manhood? (Mahalik, Cournoyer, Defranc, Cherry, and

Napolitano 1998). As a result of this fear of femininity, men are believed to

over conform to traditional male roles as a coping strategy to avoid femininity

{(Pleck, 1995) Mahalik 1998}. Men are taught to use their roles prescribed by

society as a psychological defense. When a man is confronted with an situation

instead of dealing with the problem, men tend to fall back on the stereotypical

masculine gender roles. Men hold their emotions inside and although they may not

be immediately affected our health and well – being suffers in the long run. The

improper socialization of males in American society affects all demographics of

society. It affects men across socio – economic classes, and races and cultures.

Improper socialization of males is an interesting topic to research and study

because it affects the entire male population and it is going to take society as

a whole working together to correct the problem. One way to began changing how

males are socialized is to make the population aware of the psychological

effects ?gender role conflicts?. In mental health institutions, at

hospitals, and colleges and universities there is an array of journals, pathlets,

and articles written about how women are discriminated and socialized. With the

new millennium approaching the effects of male socialization needs to be an

equally important issue on the public policy agenda. More research needs to be

done and published so that the message can spread throughout the country and the

scholarly community. For background information two articles from the Journal of

Counseling Psychology will be discus. The first, ?Men?s Gender Role Conflict

and Use of Psychological Defenses? by James R. Mahilik, Robert J. Cournoyer,

William DeFranc, Marcus Cherry, and Jeffrey M. Napolitano examines the way males

are socialized and the way that their socialization affects how they respond in

anxious situations. Specifically, the researchers are trying to determine if

there is a relationship between stereotypical macho male roles and psychological

defense mechanisms. There were one hundred and fifteen participants in this

study. All participants in this study were males. Some of the participants were

college students, others were from various clubs and organizations, and others

were from church groups. The average age of the participants was 26.45 years.

The participants were from a variety of cultural backgrounds, but the vast

majority were white. The participants were first asked to complete the Gender

Role Conflict Scale. This scale measures success, power, and competition;

restrictive emotionality; restrictive affectionate behavior between men; and

conflicts between work and family relations. The Defense Mechanism Inventory was

used to measure the use of defense mechanisms. The Defense Mechanism Inventory

measures the five clusters of defenses. The clusters include: turning object,

projection, principalization, turning against self, and reversal. The

participants read ten short stories that describe interpersonal relationships

and involve some level of conflict. Each story was followed by four questions.

The questions asked the participants to think about how they would act in the

situation portrayed in the stories. The findings demonstrated that men?s

gender role conflict does indeed serve as a psychological defense. All of the

gender role conflict factors modeled in the analysis were significantly related

to immature defenses. The second article, ?Perceptions of Parent-Child

Relationships and Masculine Role Conflicts of College Men? by Ann R. Fischer

and Glenn E. Good examines the relationship between men?s gender role conflict

/ stresses and men?s perceived quality relationship with parents. Participants

in this study first completed the Gender Role Conflict Scale. This scale

measures the level of endorsement for traditional masculine roles. The Gender

Role Conflict Scale was also used to measure parental attachment. The first

measure used was the Inventory of Parent Peer Attachment. The second measure

used to evaluate parental attachment is the PAQ. This scale measures the overall

quality of attachment to parents. Participants responded to questions using a

five point Likert scale. One indicated poor quality of attachment and five

indicated a high quality of attachment. This study found that men who do not

have a good relationship with their parents are more likely to have masculine

role conflicts. Men who had a good relationship with their parents had less

masculine role conflicts. Both articles indicate that males are having a

difficult time balancing their true feelings and the role that society expects

them to play. The first article clearly demonstrates that males use their

perceived masculinity to get out of uncomfortable situations. The second article

provides insight as to why men shield their true feelings. It concluded that men

with strict masculine roles tend to have poor relationship with their parents.

To determine if males are programmed by society to express masculine view point

just to uphold an image or gender role, a five question survey was administered

to ten randomly selected men of various races shopping in a local department

store. The survey concluded that men do hold in their emotions during anxious

situations and live up to stereotypes. The men in the survey was of all races,

four white, three black, and two Asian American. The race of the men in the

survey did not have an effect on the way the participants answered the question.

The participants were not required to give the age. The survey asked the

participants five questions. Each question had three responses which were graded

on a scale of 0-2. The score of zero equaling less masculine socialization and 2

equaling the stereotypical response. The first question seven out of ten chose

the letter C which indicates a stereotype answer. As for the second question 3

chose the stereotype C, 4 chose the letter A which is in the middle, and 3 chose

B which in the question had a rating of 0. The responses for questions three,

four and five followed the same patterns. Majority of the participants scored in

the 2 or 1 rang. Know survey form was completely a score of 0 or a score of 2.

The participants selected the chose which represented a 1 or 2 with majority of

the participants choosing the answer with a value of 2. All ten participants

reflected macho attitudes and stereotypes. This survey did have its limitation

and know way reflects the attitudes of men across this nation or in this area. A

correlation research design was used for this study so causality could not be

determined. As a result the truth value of the reposes could be deminish.

Despite these short comings the study does conclude that males use their

perceived masculinity to get out of uncomfortable situations. I think the way

men and women are socialized is very interesting. Men are taught to remain stoic

in times of stress and women are taught to be helpless and needy. If President

Clinton was a women during the Monica Lewinsky trial his advisors may have told

him to look as sad and pitiful as possible and to shed as many tears as you can.

Since Clinton is a man, he had to remain calm, collected, and always under

control. This is how our society expects men to behave. Reference Fisher R., and

Good G.(1998). Perception of parent – child relationship and Masculine Role

Conflict of College Men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 45(3), 346-352.

Mahalik R., Cournoyer R., DeFranc W., Cherry M., & Napolitano J., (1998).

Men?s Gender Role Conflict and Use of Psychological Defenses. Journal of

Counseling Psychology, 45(3), 247-254 Please complete this survey the answers

will be used for a class project only. 1. How would feel if a good friend of

yours passed away. a. I would cry, and be down for a several days. (0) b. I

would control my emotions, and help the family (1) c. I would deal with it and

move on (2) 2. How would you react to the birth of your child a. ecstatic, but I

did not cry (1) b. I cried with my wife (0) c. I thought about how much money it

would cost (2) 3. How would you react to a rejection letter from a job a. apply

for another one (0) b. inquire about why (1) c. inquire about why, spend some

days down (2) 4. How do you feel about the Lewensky scandal a. I do not cheat

(0) b. People are going to cheat at the work place (2) c. It was unfortunate but

I do not see the big deal (1) 5. How do you feel if your spouse or girlfriend

comments on another man a. I am secure with myself (0) b. A little insure (1) c.

I would plan my next trip to the gym (2)


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