Despite some people’s belief that we live in a post-feminist era, traces of traditional female gender roles still exist. According to the Social-Learning Theory, girls learn what girls do by modeling their mothers, while boys learn what boys do by modeling their mothers. Children are thus punished/rewarded for inappropriate/appropriate gender behavior as determined by their parents and other important people in their lives. Girls tend to learn from their mothers to do the shopping, prepare meals, and come across as pleasant and passive. Boys, on the other hand, learn to be independent, active, and aggressive.

A perfect example of how women are still taught to see their role as in the home is the present-receiving of brides at their bridal showers. I recently threw a bridal shower for my friend who is getting married, and I noticed that all of the older women who are important in the bride’s life gave her cookbooks and cooking materials. Her mother and the other older women gushed over how important those things were, reinforcing that being a good wife means staying in the home. Those sorts of reinforcements start when girls are young, but obviously continue throughout stages in life. The picture below is one that I took of my friend holding up cookbooks she received at her bridal shower.

Kira's bridal shower

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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