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Marisol Leyva

Professor Beadle

English 114A

10 May 2017

Clothing and Behavior

These days, it is very common for people to behave how society has taught us.

Sometimes people are able to notice that not everything should be this way, but most of the time

all those people who realize this do not make any changes for the better of this world. There are

many ways that those other people who do something, try to make changes such as writing an

article on what society has to realize and try to change. In the article Becoming Members of

Society: The Social Meanings of Gender by Aaron Devor, Devor is arguing that based on the

beliefs of society, we have been taught throughout our lives the way we are supposed to act

according to our gender. In the other article Women, Men, and Society by Claire Renzetti and

Daniel Curran, the authors are arguing that parents are the main influence on their children as to

what is normal according to their gender. Both articles mention that we are required to dress and

behave a certain way. Women must wear colorful clothing while men must wear darker colors;

women must be sweet and gentle while men must be aggressive and rough. These are very

common topics in todays world since there have been many more people confronting their

parents and society and based on an experience I had, it has been more clear to me that people

are actually influenced by society.

There are many things that our surroundings tell us about how we should be acting based

on our gender and these things are what Devor is arguing that should not be like that. In life we
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are taught to be in, there are things that we are rejecting such as what the article Becoming

Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender, by Devor mentions, ...those who do

change sex are considered to be both disturbed and exceedingly rare (Devor 36). People are not

able to be themselves because people are expecting them to be what seems to be normal to them.

Normal to society is to keep girls feminine and guys masculine. To have men attracted to women

and women attracted to men and not being attracted to the same sex, is what seems to be normal

for the people who surround us. Also Devor mentions that since the time that we are children we

are given certain tools for us to already be practicing for what we will have to do as adults is

popularly believed that the social position of females is biologically mandated to be intertwined

with the care of children and a natural dependency on men for the maintenance of

mother-child units (Devor 40). Women are raised to have a behavior for caring to be able to

raise their children with affection, also women are taught to depend on a man. Devor also says

that with society being so involved in our beliefs towards clothing and behavior, ...males are

innately aggressive and competitive and therefore will dominate over females (Devor 43).

According to society women have to obey men orders while men can behave any way they want.

Devor is trying to make us all make some changes so that we can all accept each other the way

we are and have some kind of flexibility on gender roles by giving both men and women the

opportunity to try to do what is expected from the opposite gender.

Parents are the people who are with us once we are born and that is what makes parents

play a role in a childs developing, especially when it is in the topic of gender, as Renzetti and

Curran argue. These two authors emphasize the idea of a parents role on their children saying

that ...research shows that parents do have different expectations of their babies and treat them
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differently, simply on the basis of sex (Renzetti and Curran 76). If parents have children and

have a boy and a girl, they are most likely to treat them differently such as treating the boy with a

more aggressive behavior and treating the girl more gentle. This example also can relate to

another extremely important point that Renzetti and Curran make, both fathers and mothers are

more likely to believe - and to act on the belief - that daughters need more help than sons

(Renzetti and Curran 79). A girl will always need more attention emotionally than men will,

according to what society has implied. To this we can relate a really important thing that then

later on in life affects both men and women ...parents may be providing early training for their

sons to be independent and their daughters dependent (pg. 79). With men being trained to be

independent they are basically forced to be someone that they probably are not and women

trained to be dependent, can make them later on in life seem weak and harder for them to move

on no matter the circumstances.

Many of us may experience some gender type of situation and some may have just

simply seen an event. In my case I have been through both. In my family my parents only have

three girls (no boys), and because of this we never have experienced playing with videogames,

because that is for boys as my parents have told us. Just as the article of Renzetti and Curran

says toys for boys tend to encourage exploration, manipulation, invention, construction,

competition, and aggression. In contrast, girls toys typically rate high on manipulability, but

also creativity, nurturance, and attractiveness (Renzetti and Curran 82). This explains why my

parents would not let us play with video games because they were afraid for us three to become

aggressive and have all those behaviors only men are supposed to have. At that moment I was

still very young so I continued to believe what my parents had told me, but as I got older I
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understood that a video game will not determine my behavior. From there on that experience

helped me to do what I wanted and to not care what societys beliefs might be. Also as a second

hand experience I have seen how my uncle and auntie have treated my boy cousin very

differently than my girl cousin. They have gave them different values and different believes. My

girl cousin once asked her parents if they could buy her a toy car and to no surprise, they said

no because to them, that was meant for her brother and not for her and all this is because

parents still believe that a toy will affect someones behavior to act a way they are not supposed

to be acting. This has helped me to make sure I do not treat men and women extremely different.

I still have to treat them a little different though, because even though I have learned what is the

reality, they still behave according to their gender because that is what their parents make them

believe and are most likely preferred to be treated that way because they are used to that.

In the families of today there has been a little change of explaining to their kids that there

can be people who are not always going to be exactly like them, but in other families they

continue to think the way that society always made them believe. These authors Aaron Devor,

Claire Renzetti and Daniel Curran all make very interesting points in their articles that have been

written meant for us as the readers to reflect on how society has damaged both men and women

throughout many years and now it is the time to make a change by speaking for ourselves and

not let anyone tell us how to behave because what we are meant to be no one will be able to stop

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Citation Page

Devor, Aaron. Becoming Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender Composing

Gender, edited by Rachael Groner and John F. OHara, Bedford St. Martins, 2014, pp.


Renzetti, Claire and Daniel Curran. from Women, Men and Society, Composing Gender,

edited by Rachael Groner and John F. OHara, Bedford St. Martins, 2014, pp. 76-84.