Wright Foundation | May 19, 2014

Getting My Butt Kicked By Gender Roles


I was at a wedding a number of years ago, and I was seated next to the bride’s sister who had much to say about gender roles. She was a PhD in science and was telling me that a big part of her mission was to change gender stereotypes in grade school because gender stereotypes and gender roles in the media and everywhere we go were limiting girls’ identity and chances of following traditionally male careers. Gender roles for girls, for example, didn’t identify with being scientists. Back then, even more than today, we would refer to any scientist as “he.”

As she was telling me this, I gave her some grief because I thought gender roles were a trivial and meaningless issue.

She then proceeded to kick my butt with statistics and just plain old common sense about gender stereotypes as she told me about gender theory and the importance of trying to change gender roles in the family and in society so that girls had an equal chance to be athletes, scientists, doctors, and that this was not inconsequential.

By the time she was done, I realized that I was not only full of baloney but that I was a primary part of the problem, and it wasn’t just gender roles in the media. It was basically Neanderthal men like me that were a major part of the problem. I had subscribed to gender role beliefs about what men were and what women were, and even though I might have pretended that I was extremely liberal, that was part of the problem that sociological gender theory is trying to expose.  Gender theory is discovered by pointing out that a great deal of who we become is a function of not only gender roles in the family but it is a function of our overall society, what we read in the media about gender roles, and how we talk to each other.

Since then, I have noticed the degree of sexism of gender roles in my own language and sought to change.

This is incumbent on me for my role in facilitating the best in all students in whatever way their next most radiant self is emerging. Wright Graduate University and Wright Business and in everything we do, whether it’s for credit or non-credit, is maximizing human potential. When there are limitations in gender roles, that doesn’t maximize someone’s potential and our potential is being limited from the time our gender roles are ascribed in our family, in grade school and by what we see in the media.

Along with me, it is all of our jobs to monitor ourselves and help expand the freedom of women to choose an identity that flows from their deeper yearnings, a key part of our Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living technology. How can transformation happen without this freedom from gender roles? It is by following yearning that people become their best and transform. So let’s clear the way for others and ourselves. First of all, by following their deeper yearnings and engaging from those, people learn more. And so they are helping our society transform to reduce limitations in gender roles, in the media, in the family, and in everything else we do.

For today, I am simply inviting you to join me in a little introspection about our gender roles attitudes and our prejudices that limit the possibilities of people around you—many of whom are our loved ones. Wright Now has courses available to help you navigate the confusing waters of life. Expand your mind and be transformed!


Learn more about Wright Living’s Career & Leadership Coaching in Chicago & Career Coaching Courses in Chicago.

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.