Bead Jewelry Making
Bead Jewelry Making
Most people have some leisure activities, which, however, are assessed by the rest of the society. In some cases, such an assessment is done in the context of ones gender. Existing social stereotypes regarding proper or improper leisure activities for the representatives of a certain gender are still strong and usually, define the public opinion. Therefore, it is reasonable to examine the relevant aspects of this problem in the example of a bead jewelry making. It is necessary to specify social roles that are assumed by the society in relation to engaging in this activity by representatives of both genders, as well as relevant historical changes. Although some social pressure in this sphere exists even today, it is important to act according to own preferences and not compromise own values under any circumstances.
History and Current Issues
It is reasonable to evaluate the selected leisure activity from the historical perspective. The bead jewelry making has a long history; the involvement of individuals of different genders in it has changed over time. Traditionally, people of the female gender engage in this activity. The reason was that men were supposed to focus on more active and physical occupations while women had more time to spend on the bead jewelry making (Bamman, Eisenstein, & Schnoebelen, 2014). This state of affairs has been unchanged for a long historical period. There is no explicit statistics regarding the male participation in this activity in the past, but it is clear that men constituted an evident minority.
Recently, the situation in this sphere has been gradually changing. In the modern era of liberalization, people can choose leisure activities according to own preferences. However, some implicit but strong social pressure still exists (Smith, 2014). Even among the modern designers that are involved in the bead jewelry making or those that utilize jewelry elements in their works, women constitute a vast majority (Tell, 2014). It is difficult to state precisely how many men participate in this activity today, but their number is higher than in previous historical periods. However, today, the female dominance in this sphere still exists mostly due to the traditional social stereotypes.
There are several interesting issues to be considered. The first one is a peculiar gender structure of people that are involved in the bead jewelry making. Although the profession of a designer is highly popular both among men and women, in general, a strong female dominance is observed in a bead jewelry making, in particular. Moreover, this dominance is even stronger among the most successful professionals. In this regard, Tell (2014) mentions five most influential designers that develop new solutions on the basis of jewelry elements, and all of them are women. It means that the role of social stereotypes is higher than it is recognized by the general public.
The second issue is the growing interest towards the bead jewelry making of Native Americans of modern people of both genders (Dongen, 2016). This trend can be witnessed in a large number of exhibitions and new projects dedicated to this topic. As both men and women demonstrate their interest towards the history of the bead jewelry making of Native Americans, it may be expected that the gender structure of people involved in this activity is going to change in the nearest future. Supposedly, the fraction of men may considerably increase.
In such a manner, the tendency towards a gradual increase in the mens participation in the bead jewelry making is observed today; however, a substantial female dominance continues to exist. This change may be explained by the fact that the major economic and social barriers are being removed. In the modern world, men can select the bead jewelry making as their leisure activity without any explicit confrontation with other members of the society. At the same time, some implicit cultural obstacles are still present (Kerr & Multon, 2015); thus, men experience some social pressure. Consequently, many of them prefer selecting other leisure activities despite own preferences.
Relationship to Class Materials
The analyzed situation of the bead jewelry making can be understood better in the light of gender preferences with the help of class materials. In particular, this activity fits perfectly into traditional ideas of leisure for women that are supposed to choose non-active leisure activities that are related to beauty and jewelry. Although this social stereotype does not always reflect the reality, it is shared by the majority of the population; thus, it is implicitly imposed on other social members (Henderson, Bialeschki, Shaw, & Freysinger, 1996b). Some historical factors and a precise distribution of gender roles in the past have also contributed to the entrenchment of this stereotype (Feminisms, 2016). Moreover, biological aspects contribute to the womens involvement in the bead jewelry making, as well. The cultural environment suggests it is possible for women to meet social beauty standards via participating in these activities.
My experience indicates that any cross-gender activities are complicated as there are different gender roles and stereotypes in this field. An understanding of feminism is important for comprehending the womens desire to have the same social and economic opportunities as men do (Henderson, Bialeschki, Shaw, & Freysinger, 1996a). I also believe that any forms of either explicit or implicit discrimination are inadmissible. The society should create equal conditions for its members of both genders. It is especially important to comprehend the real implications of feminism due the huge misunderstanding in this regard (Henderson, Bialeschki, Shaw, & Freysinger, 1996c). Biological factors should not intervene with ones career or any other social opportunities. In line, the cultural environment should be tolerant in relation to peoples diversity and preferences. Furthermore, the media should not impose any artificially constructed stereotypes but try to reflect views and interests of different individuals.
I have not participated in this activity before as I have not even considered such a possibility. Although I believe to be an independent person, who may resist any social pressure, it seems that a hidden public influence has affected my behavior to a certain extent. Only some time afterward, I became able to change my self-perception. Similarly to the movie Calendar Girls (2003), I realized that the public opinion should not determine my behavior and means of self-realization (Barton & Cole, 2003). Consequently, I decided to act according to my internal beliefs and preferences, as well as demonstrate a proper support and tolerance towards any choices of other people.
Reflection on My Personal Learning
Overall, my participation in the bead jewelry making has challenged my self-perception and general understanding of the social reality. I had found this activity rather interesting to me as it allows implementing ones creative ideas in different ways. Moreover, the gradual progress is possible only if one devotes a substantial amount of time to practicing. Therefore, I suggest this activity as a helpful tool for shifting ones attention from daily obligations and routine functions. I felt that this experience was useful to me and allowed improving my skills. At a more fundamental level, I have comprehended that the existing social stereotypes regarding gender roles are not always correct. The modern world requires more flexible approaches, via which men and women can challenge their traditional gender roles.
I have gained substantial insights into the leisure of both my and opposite genders. Firstly, I have realized that the current social stereotypes have been shaped by the long-term historical development to a great extent. For various historical reasons, a strict separation of gender roles and leisure choices occurred in the past. Moreover, it was also often accompanied by the gender discrimination. Secondly, I have comprehended that individuals rarely make their leisure choices in isolation from the respective social and cultural environment. On the contrary, humans largely depend on the dominant views that are supported by others. Therefore, it is important to recognize the presence and significance of the external social pressure for protecting ones identity and independent preferences.
As I have found the bead jewelry making interesting and useful to me, I believe I will participate in it in the future. Moreover, I assume that even my regular participation is possible due to the fact that this activity can contribute to the complex and harmonious development of my personality. In addition, I believe I should use any available opportunity to challenge the traditional precise separation of gender roles. I am sure I can encourage other individuals to become less dependent on popular social views and focus on own fundamental needs and preferences. The males participation in the bead jewelry making may be an indicator of the development of the dynamic modern world and the need for the higher tolerance and new approaches towards the perception of gender roles.
Ones choice of a leisure activity depends both on persons preferences and dominant views shared by the society. The major implications of interactions between these distinct factors can be observed in the example of the bead jewelry making. For a long historical period, it was considered an exclusively female activity. Even today, women constitute a vast majority in this field. However, I have decided to challenge the existing situation and participate in the bead jewelry making. My experience was highly positive and exciting. It indicates that the modern gender roles are interchangeable, and society should develop a more flexible approach towards evaluating appropriate leisure activities for both genders. I believe my example will assist other people with following their true preferences and needs and do not be overdependent on traditional social views.