Dynamic European Gender Expectation

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INTRO Each society has double standards in gender roles and levels of expectation. The established values unique to each society have little influence by nature but heavily influenced by culture and current political standings. Moreover, the ideals and distinctions of masculine and feminine activities and behaviors are reinforced and redefined through powerful social norms of any particular period. In Medieval and early Modern Europe societies, gender roles were clearly defined by the strong prevailing social structure of the period and were constantly changing due to historical circumstances. For example, in the Greek ancient city of Sparta, the ideal masculinity was strictly associated with the characteristics of being physically powerful and loyal warrior while femininity was related to marriage and procreation. In the High Middle Ages, France’s social structure deemed that a noble masculine role could include becoming either a member of the church or a knight whereas a noble female’s role primarily focused on learning a different set of domestic skills. By the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, social norms began to associate masculinity with professional skills and education while women were limited in these areas, based upon gender. Throughout history, the masculine and feminine roles and expectations in Europe were continually being redefined because of historical circumstance in Europe. GENDER: SPARTA Masculinity as an ideal in the Greek ancient city of Sparta was exclusively based upon boys growing up to be strong, obedient, and loyal warriors because Sparta was a warrior society. In the film documentary entitled The Spartans, Narrator Bettany Hughes explains how the boys of Sparta reached these lofty goals. She states that when boys reached the age of seven, they began agoge, a term meaning a type of military training, that the city-state
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