I consider myself rather traditional or ‘normal’ in terms of my sexual and gender identity. I’m a woman, married to a man, and I have two children. I would say that the biggest influences in my life in terms of sexual and gender identity would be my family, my peers, and society. These elements definitely contributed to my gender-role learning. My family made the biggest impact. I grew up in a traditional family; I saw how the women in my family behaved, and how the men behaved. Women did ‘female’ things like cooking, cleaning, having and raising children. Men did ‘male’ things like being the main breadwinners, yard work, and fixing things around the house. I learned about cooking, cleaning, and child care because I was a girl, and those were girl things. I didn’t really learn about yard work or fixing things because those were boy things. I wouldn’t say that my family was sexist in any way – the men would take care of children, too, if necessary. Women could have jobs, too, and would work in the yard. It seemed like the gender roles were based on the ways my family members had grown up – women stayed at home to take care of the house and kids, and men went out to work and took care of the ‘heavy lifting,’ so to speak. My family adjusted to the times, of course, and needs (like women joining the workforce). I suppose I learned that girls have the children and take care of the house, and boys can help take care of the children and the house, but that’s more a woman’s job. My earliest memories about sexuality are probably related to getting pregnant and having and raising babies. I would say they were both positive and negative. They’re positive because I love children, but negative because it meant that sex could result in something painful like childbirth. Sex was and is something you did to have children. It wasn’t painted as something dirty, but it wasn’t also portrayed as something you necessarily did just for the fun of it, either. It was kind of functional, in the way that I understood gender roles: girls functioned one way, boys functioned another.
379 words 2 page(s)