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Analysis of Work of Benjamin Spock about Gender Roles

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Gender role is an intriguing subject that takes into account of several aspects. One can argue that gender roles emerge from culture due to various reasons. Cultures adhere to gender roles because they assign responsibilities to each gender based on family needs. For example, women in eastern cultures have to follow the cult of domesticity. The cult of domesticity is a generic phrase for women to stay at home, clean the house, cook the food, and raise the children. In this model, the men are the bread winners. Since women rely on men for financial support, it is almost unorthodox for women to work outside the house. The idea of gender disparity in school, government and overall progression of women is clearly hindered in these cultures.
However, gender roles in the west are dynamically different. Women are independent and have the liberty to work in corporate American. Many males who have hard time finding employment are “stay home” dads who raise children and take care of the house. In America and other European nations, gender roles are vague. Since so much emphasis is based on individualism, gender roles can be derived from biological values but culture plays a more critical role. Culture in essence defines the dynamic components of family and social values. The idea of gender discourse was so prevalent throughout America that it sparked a cry for reformation. The ideology of the Republican Motherhood, was one of the original groups, that challenged the lack of development of female secular education because it dramatically sifts away from the traditional mindset. Since the Republican motherhood revolved around the concept of liberty, independence, and democracy. the primary focus revolved around making women independent from the rule of men.
Mothers, in their aspect of nurturing are responsible for showing the ropes of behavior to their children. In this particular case, the aspect of food is the embodiment of practicing self-discipline. The idea of the cult of domesticity has left a profound impact on the domesticating culture they have created at home. Throughout American history, the women have written letters which are testament to provide them details about their lives and provide child bearing lessons. Dr. Spock’s article sheds some key highlights on how political domesticity has impacted the true notion of the evolving role of women. Although women were induced at home, they created a strong environment Reading Benjamin Spock’s Mother: the Invention of necessity, my emotion for mothers got stronger. I think one of the aspects that people fail to acknowledge is the fact that mothers have strong emotions. The mutual connection between mothers and children is awe-inspiring. One can only imagine the hardships that each mother undergoes during pregnancy and birth. From this context, Spock’s book represents an advance in salutary counsel for care of the young. However, one can refute the idea that child care clichés are more respectable later, or that permissive advice may lead to social and emotional hindrance. Clearly, childcare and infant care principles that handed down from generations to generations.
In Spock’s Social Engineering in Democratic culture, Spock attempts to try child rearing himself. Frustrated by many attempts to provide the baby the comfort that the mother gives, he sought to create a society in which babies that more consensus-oriented. In this model, the parent as a group leader, and the child acts as a participant in a family decision-making process.
Undoubtedly, all articles tend to shed light on the “cult of domesticity.” Although society as reformed and gender roles have evolve, one begs to question- did all women wanted a reform? Certainly, equal rights for women were a critical issue that embodied the women’s intelligence and pride. For example, Title IX is one of the legendary legislatures that was enacted during the Civil Rights Movement. Without a doubt, the importance of Title IX has literally shifted the dynamics of women athletic program. Title IX has enabled women to compete in sports with the adequate funding that is required for those programs. Prior to Title IX, majority of the school funding was invested only in men’s athletics. However, the question remains—were this legislatures necessary for a social movement? In essence, was it vital for American women to break the traditional role of domesticity and explore the spheres of corporate America? The women that contributed in factories and industry prior to the war essentially proved the stigma that “women can’t work.”
Another key role that is derived from this reading is the fact of the family dynamics that society has embraced. One can beg to question- how was family dynamics evolved since the enactment of affirmative action and other legislatures? Prior to the break of 21st century, the current family system consisted of elderly who resided with their families. However, the modern century family dynamics are vast and complex. Furthermore, as gender roles have evolved, so has the dynamics of a family kinship. A mother who is working and does not have the time to nurture her kids is faced with “unstable-a potential tyrant, an incipient demagogue.” The children dominate the family decision making due to the fact that value for the elderly has greatly diminished. Spock is completely against this and calls the 21st century children as “barbaric.” A brash statement to say the least, Spock does have a valid point. Children who grow without parents or comfort without mothers are inclined to be involved in violent schemes in order to gain comfort from others. Spock argues that Spock does his best to assure parents that "discipline, good behavior, and pleasant manners" are "part of the unfolding of the child’s nature.”(Spock, 613). Undoubtedly, Spock is attempting to insert a hierarchy family model of values here. The child is father of the man and the breadwinner. The implications of not raising a child with proper standards as stated can be detrimental.
Undoubtedly, Spock attempts to answer the question of child nurturing in all his work. He strives to connect theories and pedagogies that describe the importance of child bearing that women possess. Moreover, it has shed some crucial light in child rearing techniques and its importance related to family dynamics. Overall, his work is interesting and will continue to gain attention of several psychologists.
Works Cited
"The Unstable World of Benjamin Spock: Social Engineering in a Democratic Culture, 1917–1950 ." Oxford Journals | Humanities | Journal of American History. http://jah.oxfordjournals.org/content/67/3/612.extract (accessed November 10, 2011).
Works Cited
"The importance of Title IX – Chicago Tribune." Featured Articles From The Chicago Tribune. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2011. .