Sex, Gender and Gender Roles Redefined

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Sex, Gender and Gender roles redefined In her book The Second Sex, Simone De Beauvoir states, “One is not born, but, rather becomes a woman”. This statement highlights the difference between sex and gender. While sex is a biological term, gender is a social and cultural construct. An individual is born into the categories of male or female but it is the very task of ‘accomplishing gender’ that determines the social identity of the person. Women are under a constant pressure to adhere to roles that are specific to their gender and so are men. The woman by norm is relegated to the private domain and is allocated the affective role, while the man has full access to the public domain for he plays the role of the bread-winner. Devdutt Pattanaik, in his book, ‘The Pregnant King’, strives to show how gender plays an important part in defining roles and relationships, while at the same time also accounting for the interesting change in gender roles of men and women, which appears extremely contemporary and unthinkable at the time and context in which the story is set. Based at the time of the Mahabharata, Pattanaik’s ‘The Pregnant King’ brings forth a wide new range of ideas that are exceedingly modern in nature. These ideas question the societal norms that privilege the men and not the women, the norms that prevent both men and women from adopting occupations and indulging in activities that majorly interests them. The most significant change that he accounts for is the king becoming a mother. Motherhood is considered a natural role of a woman. From the moment a girl enters her play stage she is given baby dolls to cradle and feed, while the boy is given swords, cars bows and arrows to play with. Here, Pattanaik tries to put forth the most revolutionary idea of a man becoming a mother. The protagonist and king, Yuvanashva says, “I am his
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