For past generations, gender roles played a much larger role in defining how someone would behave and how people would relate to each other. Today, this is rapidly changing as conceptions of identity become much more fluid and flexible. For parents, this can be confusing and even upsetting as they see their teen reject aspects of traditional sex roles that had been incredibly important in the past.
While you may have difficulty understanding the new ways that identifying as masculine or feminine influences the lives of young people, it is important to remember that your teenager is trying to navigate this new and confusing world also. Without help and support, it can be difficult for youths to explore how they fit into sexual categories and the inherent ties to sexuality these roles have. The best thing parents can do during this confusing time in their teenager’s life is to offer support and guidance whenever possible.
The Transformation Of Society’s Gender Roles
With the rise of feminism and the opening up of society to alternative lifestyles, the ways we define ourselves in easily categorized roles have changed more in the last 50 years than probably any other time in history. This is an important step forward, but in many ways culture is still taking time to adapt to this new way of living. Because modern society has essentially begun to reject the notion that one way of identifying oneself is normative and others are aberrant that had been developing for centuries, many teens will find themselves confused about the role traditional masculinity or femininity plays in their life.
Men may feel driven to act out in increasingly aggressive ways to prove masculinity, while women are often driven to act in a traditionally feminine manner. What many fail to realize is that these ways of defining ourselves are a completely artificial construct and should not be taken as authoritative based on tradition. This can be difficult for parents as they often desire to see their children take after them. Remember, regardless of the ways your teenager defines him or herself, they will still be able to live a happy and successful life.