November 27, 2007
Throughout the majority of American history, there have been sharp distinctions between gender
roles and stereotypes, that have been emphasized through society’s ideologies about the sexual division of
labor in the American work force.
In the late 1930’s before World War II, men went off to work for
society, while most women either stayed home for domestic work or cheap labor such as working in
kitchens or other maintenance jobs. However, there was a dramatic change in ideology of women when
men went off to fight in World War II, as they proved that they too can handle the requirements of “men’s
work” as they worked for shipyards, building weaponrary, or welding machinery, and enjoyed knowing
the fact that they were contributing more to society as a whole rather than to be stuck in a household.
However, this euphoria only lasted during the war, and afterward women, along with their gender roles,
were back to where they once were before, hidden from society in a household taking care of the children,
or cooking the family meal.
Ever since the beginnings of the agricultural revolution untill the beginning of World War II,
women were not much of a vital part of society in terms of prestige and power (2006: 195).
late 1930’s the ideology of American society was that the man of the household would go away from
home to work for society, obtaining higher power and positions in the realms of politics, business, or
economics, while the wife was to stay home and tend for the children, maintain the house, cook the
and take care of the husband when he would come home (Conne 1987).
The social stratification
in the work force became such a strong hegemony in society, to the point where women who would work
outside the home to earn a living would only hold positions that would be appropriate to their gender role
and stereotype, such as cooking or cleaning in a kitchen or maintaining another person’s home (Connie