Defining Gender Roles while Christmas Shopping

As the holidays near we slowly begin to shop for Christmas presents for our loved ones. Deciding what to get is one of the most difficult processes for me. When I just cannot remember things my family members have mentioned they want I tend to go towards what I call the safe gifts. For example, when deciding a gift for my brother I know to think of anything to do with sports or video games. However, when looking for my mom’s gift I focus on clothes, shoes, and/or jewelry. And when shopping for my dad I look for the latest in electronics or cars. Although these “safe gifts” may be based on hobbies and things my family members like they also stem from the gender roles of our society today.

Gender roles in society are defined as a set of societal norms dictating the types of behaviors that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality. All places people shop for Christmas gifts such as target, macy’s, etc. tend to depict these gender roles by sectioning items into certain aisles in stores or tabs online. This is done to clearly separate what is seen as “normal” for a male, female, child, teenager, adult, or elderly to use or prefer. The link attached below is an example of a website people use to shop for Christmas presents along with the images of the Walmart and ToysRus commericals. Gifts are separated into separate linked tabs based on gender and age groups to show what is the proper gifts a person of that gender and age group would like based on the assumed gender roles of society today.



What is family and is mine considered a “typical” American family?

“And regardless of what kind of family ties you may deem worth forging, worth loving, worth depending, as a Sociologist your job will be to study all family forms without prejudgment.”

Family is defined as a group of individuals related to each other by blood ties, marriage, or adoption, which form an economic unit, the adult members of which are responsible for the upbringing of children.

“Typical” is defined as showing the characteristics expected of or popularly associated with a particular person, situation, or thing.

Therefore a “typical” American family is arguable depending on what is the popular or expected view of society at the time. In the past “typical” was seen as a family with married parents living in the same house with all their children. However, as of lately there is no “typical” family definition since times are changing and what is seen as a family is changing as seen by polls we took in class and articles read. It is more common that parents are divorced and sharing time with their children, single parenting where one parent is no longer in the picture, homosexual parents who adopted children as their family, etc. Society as a whole is evolving to become more progressive and eradicating the old views of a “typical” American family.

As long as a family, in any form, consists of people who love and care for one another, and act as a unit who support each other unconditionally and economically is considered a “typical” family. Although my family is considered a nuclear family by the “typical” American family standards of the past due to my parents being married and living in the same house with my brother and I as a whole unit. We are also considered a family by today’s “typical” Western society standards.

This article by Time magazine explains change in what is considered a “typical” American family along with polls and facts as proof:

There Is No Longer Any Such Thing as a Typical Family

Understanding Culture

As a first generation American, I began to understand the meaning of culture first hand at a very young age. Something as simple as noticing the way my parents packed my lunch versus the way my classmates and friends parents packed theirs demonstrated these differences. They usually had a sandwich, chips, applesauce or fruit while I had “smelly” food in containers to heat up at school. Using the word “normal” became a common way for me to explain the way my friends and fellow American classmates did things, dressed, lunch choices, etc. compared to what my family was accustomed to which I began to feel was “abnormal”. But as I grew older I began to understand that it is not normal versus abnormal that I was trying to understand but rather the difference in American culture versus that of my family’s culture. And also that there is no right or wrong culture but instead learning to find a blend of the two cultures that works for me.

I define culture as the way a person thinks, behaves, and acts based on their surroundings as well as how they are raised, what they were taught to believe, and their customs. My parents have taught me how to do many things from my Syrian culture such as cooking certain foods and speaking Arabic. Growing up in a place as diverse as Southern California has taught me to embrace my culture and be open to many other cultures. I am thankful to have been familiarized with such a society where I can appreciate my culture and be open to the diverse culture of others. Rather than living in a community that promotes a more conformist society.

Attached is an article demonstrating  Understanding Culture – Teaching Tolerance explaining how to keep an open mind and not judging other cultures by comparing it to yours as the “norm”. But understanding that all cultures are different and to just see each as its unique culture.


Domek, Timothy J., and Emily Bermingham. “CS204 Unit 7 Cultures.”


Freedom and Marriage

Race is “a group of people who share a set of characteristics – usually physical ones – and are said to share a common bloodline.” However, new scientific research has shown contradicting results to this definition. That is where ethnicity takes play. A person can appear a certain way but can identify differently. Ethnicity is “a group of people who are linked by a common heritage” meaning they may be from different cultures but at the biological core are the same as any other ethnic background they choose to categorize themselves with.

These new standards void the concept from the Nineteenth Century stating that one drop of black blood makes a person black referred to as the One Drop Rule. This rule evolved from U.S. laws forbidding miscegenation. Miscegenation is the technical term for a multiracial marriage.

The court case Loving vs. Virginia of 1967 is a revolutionary civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court that ended miscegenation laws. This allowed for interracial marriage to occur in the United States. This case proved that Virginia’s law prohibiting marriages between persons based on race is against the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court stated that miscegenation laws were racist and had been passed to maintain white supremacy.



Del Prado, Alicia M., and James Lyda. “The Multiracial Movement: Bridging Society’s Language Barrier.” Diversity in Mind and in Action [3 volumes](2009): 1.