Here is a controversial issue that can be illuminated through the use of sociological role theory. There are a number of asymmetries between the sexes that feminists regard as unfair or unjust or to be remedied by social action. Women have weaker upper body strength, but that should not bar them from going into combat because some women can meet rigorous physical standards. Other asymmetries are regarded by feminists as just the way it is. Women are supposed to believe in compromise while men are stuck with a rigid sense of justice. Men live, on average, seven years less than women, but that is outside the interest group to which feminists find themselves responsible.
Let us turn to what may be a more essential asymmetry in that it has to do with the everyday conduct of the sexes. Attractiveness is something with which only women have to struggle. Men may clean up for a date but hardly primp the way women do even if they are also anxious about how the date will go. Women, for their part, are the sex that dresses up in tight fitting clothes, high heels and makeup so as to appear at their most attractive to a date or even at a meeting in a workplace. So women work hard at being attractive, even if there are bounds to which men must restrict themselves in looking at well turned out women, not “checking them out” for too long, or making remarks that are too appreciative of how nice they look in their presentation of themselves, for then it might be understood that the women were being judged on their looks rather than on their other qualities, though to be judged at least passingly on looks is the reason for gussying up in the first place.Read More