Soc 101 Experiential #2
Gender and Race Across Generations
In one generation I interviewed a male and a female, Nancy and John, both over
the age of fifty. The interviewee’s answers were both very similar, yet very different.
Both had alike answers to which career men aspired to, but John failed to mention what
career women of his generation aspired to.
John showed me right off the bat his clear
expectations of a woman’s role. By failing to mention what kind of career women aspired
to was kind of
at the very first question of the interview. Gendering is the
process by which certain roles, activities, qualities, traits, or emotions acquire masculine
or feminine meanings. The answer for both Nancy and John on men was that they mainly
aspired a general business degree, specialty degrees such as accounting, law, and the
medical profession, sales, oil and gas, or starting their own company. Nancy named
careers her friends aspired to such as teachers, advertising, retail, and interior design. She
also mentioned that many women wanted to work for a few years, get married, and then
stay at home to raise a family. In John’s family the mother or housekeeper was
responsible for all of the housework, while his brothers and sisters would often do chores.
His father did not do any housework since he was the “breadwinner” of the family. In
Nancy’s case, living with out a mother allowed for Nancy and her sisters to spend time
with their father cooking, but the girls and a maid mainly did housework such as laundry,
cleaning, etc. Her father had always been proud of his yard and worked outside as often
as he could. When they were young, TV and magazine ads mainly consisted of cigarettes,
beer, cars, or household appliances. Nancy seemed to be the only one to say that ads were
not near as provocative or inappropriate as they are today.
Difficulties in high school included what to wear and how to act accordingly with
friends and the opposite sex. This is almost identical to my generation, at least for me.
What girl doesn’t still fret about having the right outfit? There has always been peer
pressure to look good, whether because it’s what was and still is expected of women, or
because we’ve learned it through socialization. I think this will always be something
women struggle with, the pressure to appear beautiful, and it can cause a lot of damage.
Dating was fairly different than it is now, in their opinion, as they mainly went out on
several dates as couples and not groups and expectations of respect were much higher.
Roy and Natalie’s generation, things progressed towards experimenting with going past
where you shouldn’t. Natalie talked about knowing not just a few girls that either got
pregnant or had an abortion. That was a drastic change from Nancy’s generation who said
that she only knew of a few people that had sexual intercourse before marriage and only
one that had an abortion. People have become more open to every type of sexuality; the