Defintions: Gender Role

WordPress has "pages" that will stay in a hierarchy position (you can find it from the front page).  It seems to me that some of the communication problems that blog writers have is with definitions.  So I'm going to start a "page" that links to posts on "definitions".

The first one I'll define is "gender role".

I've heard a few egalitarians say, "male or female isn't a 'role', it's part of who we are." (or something to that effect).

If you (generic "you") are using the term in an acting (in a play) sort of way.  Yes, you are correct, being male or female isn't a role we play.  In fact, if you use the word "role" as a stand alone phrase, you would still be correct
HOWEVER...context, context, context.  When we write of "gender roles" we are not referring of acting. The term "Gender role" consists of two words used together that have a specific and  SOCIOLOGICAL  meaning.

When we write "gender roles", we are  referring to an "SOCIOLOGY" term.



A gender role is a set of perceived behavioral norms associated particularly with males or females, in a given social group or system. It can be a form of division of labour by gender. It is a focus of analysis in the social sciences and humanities.  Gender is one component of the gender/sex system, which refers to "The set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity, and in which these transformed needs are satisfied" (Reiter 1975: 159). All societies, to a certain effect, have a gender/sex system, although the components and workings of this system vary markedly from society to society.


So we read here that "gender roles" are not a "faked" or "acted out" part in a play.  Gender roles (at least in history) have played a part in meeting the needs of society.

In a Biblical worldview, the gender debate surrounds "complementarian" (although I may choose to use a more descriptive term for what I believe is correct) and "egalitarian" beliefs.

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10 thoughts on “Defintions: Gender Role

  1. tiro

    Good research. 🙂

    I think the key here is understanding that gender roles are social constructs according to the fluctuating cultural systems of a nation. They are not Biblical constructs. To make them so seeks to impose your culture's customs upon other nations. And God isn't into that.

    It is the heart and the spiritual condition of the soul that matters.

  2. Ehhh. You are flat out wrong. Male and female he created them (differently).

    Every time the New Testament teaches directly to husbands (specifically) and wives (specifically) they are treated differently.

    That tells me that...the differences are Biblical constructs.

  3. Look we agree God created male and female very differently.
    I am woman hear me roar! ;-}

    As a woman who is in the middle of a divorce I can tell you that he created us differently and I am thankful.

  4. Sue


    What is this word? Is this a joke that I haven't heard the punch line for? Likely so, I can be very naive.

  5. know how most folks have a word or two they just can't spell right?

    I have a few...SOCIOLOGICAL...being one of them

    genealogy another. and...necessary.

    I'll fix it, thanks for the catch.

  6. Sue

    Yeah, but somehow I thought maybe it was about saying a word like "sociological" with a southern accent. I'm serious. 🙂 I am so slow to get a joke sometimes.

  7. I think what throws me is that

    SOCIOLOGY rhyme. And I say "genealogy" way more than I say sociology.


  8. Sue

    Try googling aretalogy and aretology. Do you think they are the same word or different? I think they are the same word but wikipedia thinks they are two different words.

  9. They seem to have different meanings - words are strange. It's no wonder we talk past each other. It's not because we don't listen, it's because words are strange.

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