Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type





School of Unrestricted Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Grace Veach


This paper explains the serious problem of society pressuring people to conform to gender norms. In the current culture, there is intolerance for breaking these gender norms and unfortunately, the consequences can be severe. This cycle creates a society where harms are exacerbated because either no one is aware of what is going on or they feel so pressured to stay within the lines of what society deems “acceptable” that they choose to conform. The specific gender norms focused on range from seemingly trivial to obviously severe: clothing choice, colors, personal grooming like shaving, masculine gender norm issues like suicide and violence against women, and pressure placed on females to conform to an unhealthy “ideal”. These norms can be harmful and unfounded in and of themselves but the fact that people will be ostracized for rejecting them is the underlying problem. Society has defined what value is, and anyone who doesn’t look or act like they fit that definition is immediately out of the circle of what is “acceptable.” Thankfully, there is a way forward. Challenging and questioning the current definitions of value in the current culture will help create a space where there is freedom from rejection for personal choices. When society breeds a culture where one way, or one thought, or one ideology is absolute, all others become unacceptable. Diversity of thought is what the western hemisphere and the rest of the world needs in order to reduce harms and fight for the wellbeing of everyone. This is impossible in a culture of conformity.