The term gender is defined as the biological and physiological construction of human beings; it does also refer to a man or a woman’s cultural behaviors of practicing masculinity or femininity (Devor 528). It is by the definition of gender that most of the world’s cultural beliefs and practices led to the creation of patriarchal societies, where men enjoy more privileges than women (McIntosh 79). This led to the rise of a feminist who advocated for equality between men and women. However, over the years, modern society has been changing its perceptions and notion on gender issues that have impacted people’s lives. This paper will highlight some of the changed perceptions on gender issues that are impacting people’s lives.
Women studies have reviled that men are unwilling to give women equal opportunities and are always out to protect male privileges from being lessened. Men in leadership positions have always promised to improve women’s status but this has not happened (Mcintosh 79).
Men’s status has made them be more domineering at their families to an extent of physically and emotionally assaulting women (Crenshaw 431). According to LAPD (Los Angelis Police Department), the majority of immigrant women who lived in Los Angelis shelters were regularly assaulted by their spouses. Most of the women who were assaulted found it hard to report because they relied on their spouses for financial help, cultural believes which prohibited them, threats of being deported, language barriers, and harsh immigrant laws (Crenshaw 431).
Feminists in America have continued to criticize the 1990 immigration act for not being protective to foreign women against violent American men citizens and those who have permanent resident’s (Crenshaw 431). The act forces these women to remain married to these men for two years which forces the women to stay in abusive relationships (Crenshaw 431). Men have also been accused of being reluctant when addressing gender equality issues in university or curriculum (Mcintosh 79). These are such examples that have made people have perceptions that the majority of men in modern days are not ready to have gender equality unlike in the earlier years when they believed men are willing and are supportive of women empowerment activities.
In recent years, there has been changing perception on gender and race, some sociologists and individuals in the world view and associate gender-based violence to race (Crenshaw 431). Their assumption is based on the cultures and customs of these races that give men more power over women hence become more violent (Crenshaw 434) In an attempt to prove that there is a correlation between gender-based violence and race, LAPD would not give statistical figures to show if the perceptions are true or false (Crenshaw 432). However, this relationship can not be ignored; it is factual that most of the African American women and brownie women were most likely to be abused by their spouses (Crenshaw 432).
Shahrazad Ali in his book ‘Black Man’s Guide to Understanding the Black Women’ points out that black men’s violence is natural and can be traced back from the American liberation days, while the Asian communities’ culture of many families living under one roof has been seen to promote gender violence against women. In addition, Asian women are required to be totally submissive to their men even when they are abused (Crenshaw 433). These two pieces of evidence show how people’s perceptions are fond of believing that gender-based violence can be associated with race, a view which some people regard as stereotypes.
Some gender sociologists have formed different opinions and perceptions on associating race with gender violence. They do not perceive in the way how few gender violence cases against African American women can be used to justify that African American men are violence and wife batterers (Crenshaw 433).
It is the stereotypes that help people to develop notions that there exists a relationship between race and gender, It would be wrong and unfair to describe the black community as violent towards women when there are cases of whites who are violent (Crenshaw 435). The focal point is that violence against women happens to all patriarchal societies irrespective of race nonetheless this should not be a justification of women battering. (Crenshaw 434-435). To address issues of gender-based violence gender sociologists hold the opinion that policymakers need to review the domestic violence act because it is no longer a minor problem for one race but for all American races (Crenshaw 433-435).
The other perceptions formed on gender-related issues concerns male privileges. Most cultures have accorded men privileges and status of being physically strong, more intellectual, decision-makers, fighters, and protectors while women have been regarded as physically weak, not in a position to make sound decisions, not fighters, and incapable of leading (Devour 598 & McIntosh 81). It is from men’s recognized status in most of the societies that their dominant power is evidenced within their families by imposing restrictions, obligations, and decisions concerning women’s life (Crenshaw 439).
Men’s privileges and dominance have enabled them to have an upper hand in access to access to education, economic resources, and equity in voice (McIntosh 79). In most societies, women have been for a long time left to languish in poverty, unemployment, dependency, and, above all, they still have to grapple with physical, emotional, and psychological abuses from men (Crenshaw 432-433). These are some of the examples that show how modern societies perceive gender and male privileges.
Crenshaw Kimberlee: Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color: Stanford Law Review. 1241-99 (1991) 431-440. Print.
Devor, H Aaron. “Who are We?: Where Sexual Orientation Meets Gender Identity”. The Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy 2 (2002): 537-536. Print.
McIntosh Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” Wellesley College Centre for Research on Women 6 (1988): 79-84. Print.