Gender differentiation refers to the process in which the biological differences between sexes in men and women are used to assign social responsibility and significance in the society. In most societies, the anatomical sexual difference is used as the main basis for gender differentiation and the degree to which the differentiation is applied varies amongst societies as it is exaggerated in some, and in others, minimized. Today, gender differentiation has been seen as the main cause of gender inequality, and while some societies have attempted to bridge the gender gap, other societies have remained steadfast in retaining the historical and social values of differentiation. In today’s world, gender differentiation is seen to be disadvantageous to women than it is men as women seem to have been assigned less deserving or influential tasks in the society.
Gender differentiation, was, and is still used as a means of creating social order and transferring wealth from one generation to the other. The paper will rely on the Machiavellian account of the Florentine history to draw a significant image of how women of the historical Florentine were merely used as birth channels and grounded to home duties. Women were only responsible of rearing children, and especially male children were of much significance to the society than female children, and the male children could later become rulers and inherit wealth from their fathers. The text will also show how women were cast out of leadership in Florentine and a greater section of Europe; a situation that remains true even in the contemporary times. The text explains how religion and art have been used systematically to shape gender differentiation both in the historical and current times.
Gender differentiation was instigated in the interest of assigning social significance of men and women in the society. As such, various mechanisms of significant outreach were used to ensure that the values of gender differentiation were properly integrated into the society, so, religion and art became some of the significant ways to implement differentiation.
a) The role of religion in gender differentiation.
Religion plays a significant role in any society, and in most occasions, it shapes the culture of the societies that practice it. As such, due to the wide acceptability of religion, it was used effectively to portray the woman as an inferior being to the man. Therefore, the woman was to be under constant submission to the man. In the Florentine history, Machiavelli depicts the role of the Roman Catholic Church through the Pope in shaping this differentiation. Women of all generations are entitled to the failure of the biblical Eva, who was created from a man’s rib, but she “let herself” to be deceived by the devil. As a punishment, she was subjected to the pains of birth and submission to the man. Therefore, the preaching of the church was used to categorically place women under the control of men, and as such, men dominated the society. They took all political, economic, religious, and social leadership of the society as women were only available to support them.
b) The role of art in gender differentiation.
Art was also used to a greater extent to instill the values of gender differentiation in the society. Many of the influential art forms were in the form of drawings, which at times, showed pictures that portrayed women subordination and the plight of women in the society. Such drawings included ones that showed women viewing the outside world from the small windows of their homes, and this indicated the much freedom they were allowed to have in the historical times. Therefore, women were regarded as the inferior sex in the historical societies, and this message was systematically conveyed and integrated into the society using the various forms of art that were acceptable at the time.
c) The roles of men and women
In ancient societies, and in many of the societies today, men are seen as the centers of authority and decision makers of the society. Men take a lead role in the society, mostly as part of what would be deemed as an entitlement they have by the virtue of being male, sexually. On the other hand, women are viewed as vessels of birth that would guarantee the continuity of generation and the preservation of wealth. Women, mostly in the ancient societies, were viewed as tools of trade, where they were used as a means of attaching various lineages within the Florentine families. Most of these families were expected to have “socially acceptable” features such as wealth, political influence, and nobility.
Gender differentiation continues to exist in many parts of the world and it is often blamed for the social inequality in many societies. Religion and art continue to play a significant role in integrating and retaining the principles and values of gender differentiation in many societies.
Machiavelli, Niccolò. The History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy, from the Earliest Times to the Death of Lorenzo the Magnificent. London: Bohn, 1847. Print.
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