Reflective Essay on Gender

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Middlebury College
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Gender is considered as the social and legal status that we identify ourselves with. The status can either be for girls, boys, women and men. Gender does not only include being a woman or a man, but it is also determined by complex mix beliefs, behaviors and characteristics. The core of our gender enables one to identify the masculinity or feminist of how we would act, talk and behave. I am an Arabic female who is very typical to her gender. I am one of a kind, and I have lived my life as an expected normal, respected woman would be in our community.

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I have conformed to a rule and the social standard of societal expectation since I am married to a man, and we have two children a boy and a girl. Above the fact that I have a family that I need to take care of, I do have an obligation as a student in education, an experience that I Love so much. I do remember back in at home as I was growing up, my parents made me conscious of the difference between gender in the context of being a boy and a girl. For example, at an early age I could differentiate the toys of boys from the girls toys, and at that particular time, I knew the sense of gender identity.

Having been brought up in an Arabic community, I was taught to carry myself with respect and all the activities I did were feminine. I was only allowed to play with dolls and cook, and my behavior was polite and hospitable. The society and my parents used the gender stereotype to shape and mold my morals into being a caring person, clean and someone who minded her manners so that I could make a good wife someday. I was taught the nature of being submissive while the boys were taught to be aggressive and taking what they want boldly and with courage.

Different stereotypes are attributed to my gender, and I witnessed as most people in the society embraced them to the latter. Some stereotype, I considered being gender inequalities. For example, women are regarded as inferior to men who are dominators and dogmas. The society believed that high level of intelligence could only be with men and not women. The best post is therefore given to men, and the best subjects in schools are offered to the boys as the women are taught how to cook and make themselves beautiful.

Most stereotype also claims that Arabic women are forced to wear the hijab as they suffer from the dependency from their husbands. Since I am studying Education in the USA, I have had to repeat various people who wanted to confirm whether the story was true. Although our culture is strict on how women should wear and behave, it is not always the same that Arabic women depend on their husbands since most women have succeeded in their different fields. Also, it is not true that all Arabic women are enslaved to wearing the hijab. The clothing is part of who we are, and it is not a prison.

The media has had a lot of power and influence on gender stereotype, for example, they do perpetuate the existing gender inequalities, and they play a great role to encourage the society to view the different roles of men and women in the society. I have obtained the courage to be both a wife, a mother and a student without shame or guilt. Being a woman gives me the strength in knowing that I have great potentials.

Although I believe my gender has given me strength to be where I am today, I have also faced some challenges like being in a different country and the stereotype about my motherland. I have also had to face difficulties in adapting to the west culture and being able to fit in as an Arabic woman.

In a nutshell, being a typical woman requires support from people who loves you and believes in you. My studies in the USA gives me hope that I have been better in defeating the stereotype about my gender and that one-day people will start seeing people for their potentials and not their gender or their looks.

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