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Gender And The Role We Play

            Gender role reversal through out the years has changed, but have we changed with it? Since the dawn of time man was taught to be and act like a man and women were taught to be and act lady like. Each of the sexes had expected roles to play out. Cave men drug their women by their hair to get them to where they were supposed to be. The cave man was seen as masculine. Masculinity may be defined as how men are taught from birth, that if they act a certain way or do certain things, this will define their masculinity. These "certain things" range from not crying when they get hurt to acting and playing violently. This is what is expected from a "man." Women were still women and expected to act feminine. Femininity is defined as "1. The quality or state of being feminine. 2. A female trait or characteristic. 3. Women as a group. 4. Womanishness: effeminacy." (Webster's II 471). That's the way things were for a long time and then things began to change.
             The expectations of a woman's role in society in the 1800's started to change. Some played the role of ladies and others, like Martha Jane Burke also known as Calamity Jane (1852? -1903), had their own ideas of what they wanted out of life. Calamity Jane was an American frontierswoman. "She grew up riding horses and became quite the marksman. Moreover, she acquired a reputation for contempt of convention; she claimed she was the equal of any man and dressed in male attire." (Funk & Wagnall's Vol. 4 373). Women like her were of a different caliber, and were few and far between. Most women of the time likened them selves to Mae West. Here was a ladies lady, but yet she could still hold her own in a disagreement with a man. Men were still the fighters and the protectors. Men like William Frederick Cody, known as Buffalo Bill (1846-1917); he was thought of as a "mans man." These men took care of the women, because women were delicate and soft things to be admired and sought after.

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