4 November 2018
Gender: Construction of masculinity and femininity
One of the most major underlying social problems of our society is the definition of masculinity and femininity as a construct for gender roles. Pygmalion is a prime example of a literary text that suggests many gender constructs.In this story, Pygmalion scorns all the women around him and makes a sculpture of his ideal woman. The sculpture is so beautiful that he falls in love with it and it comes to life. By titling his play after this story, Shaw calls attention to questions of femininity and gender. As Pygmalion sculpts his ideal woman, so Higgins and Pickering mold Eliza into an ideal lady. These two narratives show how unrealistic and even unnatural the expectations that society often has for women are. Pygmalion's perfect woman can only be attained with an artificial construct, a sculpture. Similarly, the ideal noble lady of British society in the world of Shaw's play is a kind of fake, only a role that Eliza must learn to play. Pygmalion can thus be seen as showing how oppressive unrealistic ideals of femininity can be: to attain these ideals, Eliza has to be coached, disciplined, and taught. She has to pretend to be someone other than who she really is. The play further explores gender roles with its other female characters. As it is set in the early 20th century, before women gained many basic rights and privileges, the play's other female characters—Mrs. Pearce and Mrs. Higgins—are largely confined to their respective households. Nonetheless, they both play important roles. This paper’s framework offers a fuller understanding of the role of a leader’s gender in facilitating the Pygmalion effect by identifying factors that can influence subordinate perceptions of leader efforts. Gender-based cues influence subordinate perceptions of leader expertise and power. In turn, this will influence subordinate receptiveness to leader elicited expectations and supportive behaviors. The theoretical framework of this paper suggests that under certain conditions, gender differences can impact subordinate receptiveness to leader behaviors and performance expectations. Managers need to be aware of the gendered-nature of the work context and how it can influence subordinate perceptions of leaders. Otherwise, gender-based cues can unwittingly undermine women who endeavor to elevate follower self-efficacy beliefs. Stereotypes regarding women in managerial roles can undermine the capacity of women to effectively mentor and inspire others. These biases must be explicitly confronted and challenged. Moreover, gi...