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Concept of Identity, Gender and Sexuality: Marriage Relations and Fatherhood

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The stereotypes of gender identity are evident in all spheres of socialization. For example, Mennesson (1980) found by interviewing 14 male professional jazz and ballet dancers that the activity of dance is gender related and the “ feminist” males have to fight the stigmatized roles of being branded homosexual. Besides, the study also found two contradictory identities on the part of the men: those who wanted to be identified as men and those who wanted to be identified in both their masculine and feminine roles. Gender and fatherhood Families are typically organized around gender, which determines the roles and responsibilities of individuals in personal relationships.

Not only do individuals respond to the gender-based roles, but gender also influences relationships including intimate relationships. For example, in the Fordist society of the late 19th century, as employment shifted from the farm to the factory and paid work became dissociated from non-paid work, men were looked upon as the primary bread-earners and women as primary carers. A reversal of roles or a merging of the same was not always taken too kindly.   Men were considered to be more suited for employment outside the house and their role in caring became limited.

The “ normal family processes” and the childcare responsibilities in the separate sphere ideology received theoretical support from sociologists and psychiatrists of the 1950s (Walsh, 2003). Although the separate sphere ideologies have been more in terms of culture than in reality, as many women, particularly from the lower socioeconomic strata, were in the workforce even during the Fordist heydays, gender inequalities in intimate relationships like marriage have been evident. While power within the family is rested mostly on the men, their personal interests and career often get prioritized over care roles.

As a result, there are lesser expectations from the men on matters of family chores and responsibilities, particularly that of parenting. As more time is available for the man’ s leisure and discretionary spending, he has to make  an emotional investment in the marriage relationship.  

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