In the centuries that have passed since colonial America was first established, gender roles in American society have undergone massive transformations, with impacts that have been felt in every aspect of our culture. This evolution in gender roles has affected society in practically every conceivable manner, from family dynamics, the economy, and entertainment to business practices, how politics and military training are conducted, and childrearing roles and practices. In some places, it has sparked a tremendous backlash among Americans who see traditional gender roles as one of the country’s foundational pillars.
This set surveys all of these issues, making use of a wide assortment of primary documents to help readers understand the individuals, events, and ideas responsible for these changes in how American men, boys, women, and girls live, work, play, and relate to one another. These documents include speeches, testimony, and manifestos issued by prominent activists and commentators; recorded remarks of U.S. presidents and members of Congress; newspaper editorials, poems, short stories, and personal letters written by generations of American men and women; and passages from key Supreme Court decisions and legislation that have influenced gender roles—or were the result of evolving ideas regarding gender.
Readers will also be able to consider first-hand the experiences of women and men who have been on the front lines of these changes, from stay-at-home dads to women in the military; government reports; and memoirs, essays, and other commentaries featuring different ideological perspectives on where men and women stand in American society in the 21st century.
- Addresses an important, high-interest topic for students as well as general audiences: how and why gender roles have evolved dramatically in American culture
- Presents essential and illuminating primary documents from multiple perspectives—mal and female, conservative and progressive, historical and current
- Includes original headnotes and essays that provide essential context for a more complete understanding of documents and events