Analysis of Adam and Eve: Where Gender Roles Originated From?

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Carnegie Mellon University
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The Bible provides an account of how gender roles came to be. In the book of Genesis, the Lord God created Adam and Eve after realizing that there was no one to cultivate the land and live to see its plants sprout. For in the Bible, it is stated, Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field has yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. However, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were therefore punished. The punishment that God exerted on them created gender roles for man and woman, which are still evident to date. This paper explores the gender roles present after the creation of Adam and Eve and how they are manifested in todays society.

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It is easy to see where gender roles originated from by analyzing the text of Adam and Eve. After they both disobeyed God, the punishments imposed on them formed the basis for gender roles. From the Bible, God cursed Eve and declared, I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children, yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. Therefore, Eve took up the role of giving birth. Hence, she would forever desire her husband for her to conceive a child. Also, she was supposed to take up the role of the obedient wife because Adam would always rule over her.

In the case of Adam, God cursed him and said, Cursed is the ground because of you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Therefore, Adams first role would entail working on his land because that would be the only way to eat bread. Second, Adam would have to grow old and die and so would his wife for they had now gained knowledge of life.

Gender roles are still very much manifested in society today. For example, in many homes, the wife is expected to take care of the children and the household while the husband goes to work. Also, men are expected to head their families whereas women are expected to do and live by the wishes of their husbands. These family roles were encouraged by employers and government institutions in the past. In some countries, they are still relevant. However, awareness on gender equality has helped discourage this culture within society. For example, over the years, women have struggled to promote gender equality because society still believes that men are meant to rule over women. Therefore, only men are supposed to hold positions of power in the government and in the work place. This belief has brought about continued debates in most countries. However, in some, laws have been put in place to ensure that in every position of leadership or employment, women are equally represented.

Gender roles are responsible for the existence of sexist behavior and gender discrimination. Man and woman are supposed to complement and not discriminate each other. Their capabilities are almost similar. Hence, for the sake of political, economic, and social development, both genders should learn to work with each other regardless of who leads the other.

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