Gender Roles

Did you ever wonder why it is that more males are starting to model in women industry and vice versa? Casey Legler was an Olympic Swimmer. She was almost 6’2 at age 13. As well as she was the first women to sign to the men’s board at Fords Model.She has a male’s body but was born women. This was not something that was easy to talk about coming from her experience. She talked about gender identity and gender expression. These are two important words in my research. Well, first of all, you might be thinking what is gender identity? Is it whether you are female or male?Well, gender identity is how you feel about and express your gender.Many people don’t understand what is their sexual orientation and who they are.

” It’s important that children (as well as adults) learn to distinguish between sexual orientation and gender identity” ( Renee DePalma).  The purpose of this paper is to inform all my peers what is the definition of gender and the ‘roles’ that apply to us humans. As well as how society has this fixed perspective about it.By this I mean we are all humans, what identifies us is either we are females or males. A little further into detail the world has these things called ‘gender roles’ that are for us to follow. This is why people get an idea of what us humans should be doing and what is wrong and right. What I am still trying to understand is why is it that if a male does a feminine role of vice verse, why does he world see it as being wrong? Why is it that our gender has to define us? That is the real question behind my research.

Many of us are just not exposed to learn about gender identities. I don’t mean by saying if we are female or male but more into detail who we really are. Who we are is not represented by what we wear, what we like, or who we are attracted to. What I am trying to understand is why people judge other people for being themselves. Why is it that gay people aren’t seen as “normal” to some people in society. Who are the people who need to be more informed about gender? If straight people can live a happy life then why can not a queer person do the same? Or what makes a queer person not be able to do the opposite sex roles. It’s hard to understand something when you are open to new ideas and you learn to accept things, but the world is telling you different. Why is it that people are being judged or put down because of one simple thing.


Everything always has so much more to it than what it just is. Many people will just say queer people are not normal or they are different from everyone else. They do not realize that there is so much more to it. It is so much more than just being different. It is not even about who you are attracted to or the way you act or what you like. It is about being yourself. Renee DePalma stated, “ People seem to be very definite in their ideas of what a proper boy or proper girl should do or be interested in”. The truth is that we are all different, us as humans will not have the same interest in the same activities, or like the same people as others. That’s what makes each and one of us different, we were not set up to all like the same things.

Social media plays a huge part in this. Well, you might be thinking how does social media have to do with people being gay, or gay models? But social media sets out an image of what people should do. Or what they should do to fit in. In Journal of Adolescence stated that, “According to the sociocultural model, youth are continuously pressured by family, friends and media to conform to dominant physical attractiveness ideals”. What does this mean? This means that not only is it media who pressures people to feel like they need to look for certain attraction to a person but also family and friends. Family and friends do play a huge role in this.

Family and friends have a lot do with people’s developments.Not everyone grows up in the same environments and not everyone is taught the same things as others. Every family has a different culture. A statement related to this from the article Journal of Adolescence states,“According to congruence models,individuals who endorse sex-typed gender expectations are also more likely to conform to cultural gender norms than people who do not”. This is a great example because someone who grows up going to church and having strong beliefs is going to follow a set of rules. On the other side, someone who’s family is  open to new ideas and believes in the development of generations. Those would be two completely different people because on one side one person would believe that it is okay to be gay. On the other they would think it is abnormal.

Now going in a little deeper into my example in my introduction about the gay model Casey Legler. Gay models are not a hot topic. Is not it great the way that the 21 century is developing?Are women modeling in men’s clothes and men’s in women? But wait why would the fashion industry allow this? Why would they want someone with masculine features modeling for feminine features? Well, this is what attracts the media. There are certain traits that explain why it is that more opposite gendered people are modeling for their opposite sex.“ Is a female model in a menswear a man? No, she’s not but she is wearing men’s clothing in campaigns aimed at men, and she’s modeling a very specific vision of masculinity that is also feminine” (S.E Smith).This quote is self-explanatory. Appearances are not everything just because someone might dress like a man when they are women does not mean that they are a man. Under all that clothes, they are still women. All these queer models would be a great example to this as well.

“Fashion isn’t actually taking a bold stance on gender and presentation when it’s selecting from a very a narrow range of models with very specific appearances; it’s just creating a slightly larger box for people to trash around in as they try to seek a place for themselves, their genders, and their bodies” (S.E Smith).  People who judge others are nothing unhappy with themselves. They try to put other people down and make them feel bad so that they will try to make place for themselves to fit in. This is not always the situation. Some people will just trash talk because others do so and they think it is okay to do it as well. Falling into the same category they are just trying to find a place to fit in.

“A beautiful teenager with the face of a girl and the body of a boy — the perfect expression of beauty for these top fashion designers”( Amanda Platell). The reason why fashion designers are interested in men is because of their body shape, for the most part, men tend to be slimmer. “They decreed that to look good in their creations a model could not look like a woman. She had to be flat chested, devoid of hips, with collarbones you could hook a clothes hanger, In fact, she has to look less like a woman and more like a boy” (Amanda Platell) . This is where gender roles would play in. This is a great example of showing that not only modeling is for women. Often times when we hear models we think skinny, tall, blonde, and beautiful girl. It would not come to mind to see an image of a man wearing women’s clothes.

Society has a strong image of what they think is normal and abnormal. These queer models are challenging society in many different ways. One quote stated in Journal of Adolescence said, ”The media represents a powerful socializing force that shapes how young people view themselves in relation to cultural ideals of beauty and physical attractiveness”. This quote is trying to say that media is the reason in which people “learn” to view themselves. They think that what they are being exposed to and that they need certain qualities to be beautiful. But in reality they need to learn to just be themselves. They are not necessarily taught it’s what they are seeing.


It is safe to say that we are all equal.Not caring what gender we are or who we are attracted to. It is so much more to it than just that.It’s about being able to find yourself and be happy. In no shape or form will everyone be the same. It is sad that not everyone will learn to accept some things or view life at a different perspective. Some people will never learn to be happy just because of these norms that they have a picture of.

People like Casey Legler and other queer models I believe have a huge big impact to society.Not only are they exposing themselves and putting themselves in danger. Not talking about the physical danger but emotional. Everybody reacts to different situations in different ways.Sometimes you just have to be ready for whatever is coming your way. Exposing yourself to the media I would say has to be one of the scariest things to do because you never know what to expect in return. Not everybody’s mentality is the same. Some people could go from supporting you to being against you, but there is also those people who will support you no matter what.

People are afraid to stand up for themselves. Not everyone will be able to believe in themselves to do it. It happens because of lack of support. Support is a huge factor. First you have to believe in yourself before someone else can believe in you. But this is something that is hard to do when the world is often putting another image in your head. Genuinely these people do it not for themselves but for others. They want a positive change in this world. They want people to feel like they are equal. It helps send a message out that it is  okay to be different and it is  okay to do what makes you happy. Seeing this type of change will  make people have a different perspective about this evolution in society. If no one would stand up and take action things would never change. Standing up for yourself is taking action for what you care about. It is a time that everyone does it.

These current trends that we have happened I believe will make this situation better. We now have men modeling women’s clothes and women modeling men’s clothing. People might see this as something odd but if the media is putting an image of it out there its time that other people start accepting it as well. My prediction is that in the future everyone will accept for who they are. Everyone will be free to do whatever and be whoever it is that they want without judgment. Even if people don’t want to accept it, it will happen one day or another. Things are not like before the world is evolving every single day and new things evolve every single day.

Further research that could be done that I was not able to cover in my paper is more about culture. The different environments that people live in and the things that they are taught.Why are people taught or exposed to different things? Also to learn more about what makes us who we are or how people learn to find themselves. I think that that has a lot to do with it, we don’t all find ourselves at the same time. It takes more time for some than for others.I am passionate about this topic because everyone should be able to live their life in a way that they want.Not having to follow any type of ‘rules’ or ‘norms’ that in some people’s beliefs are to be followed. Simply being free.


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