jdeena

Never settle for what is…come tomorrow it will be what was

Tag: equality

The Evolution of Gender Roles

So lately I’ve had multiple debates about the roles of men and women in today’s society. Take a step away from cultural roles, because that’s a topic in itself. I am talking about the roles men and women play NOW, in 2015. It may seem that we have come a long way since the early 1900’s, and even towards the end of the 20th century women were starting to rise as powerful, professional members of society. But now, in 2015, with the possibility of a female president in our next election, I have seen many people (men and women alike) who have already started to advocate against Hillary as president. Their reason? She is a female, and therefore she should retreat into the role she was meant to fill: mother, wife, and respectable citizen of society- let the men run society.

It frustrates me when I hear these comments on radio, TV, and scrolling through my timeline on Facebook. Why shouldn’t she be president? Politics aside (because I don’t want to open that can, and I don’t want people assuming I do or do not support her), I think it is unfair to say that today, in 2015, we should not consider it an option to have a female president. Some excuses I’ve heard are: women are too emotional, she won’t be logical in her decisions, she will be neglecting her family, and she will give other women the idea that they can run for politics.

Well, DUH!

We need more people like Hillary. We need more women who are willing to step over that “line” that was drawn to segregate the genders. Why shouldn’t a woman be the CEO, the VP, the Senator, the President….if she is, in fact, perfectly qualified to do so? Just because she has certain anatomy that differs from that of a male, she should be punished? I never understand what people are thinking when they say things like “that’s not a role for women.” What is, then?

And, for that matter, who decided what role women should play in society? Who decided that women should be home taking care of the kids? Why is it not seen as masculine when the man stays home to raise the kids while his partner works? Or is that seen as noble and progressive? And if it is, why then when a women steps out of the home to work and pursue a career she is seen as selfish?

Our view of gender roles needs to change if we ever want to progress as a society. The sooner people realize that women are just as capable as men in holding a career and excelling at it, the easier it will be for people to sustain long-lasting, healthy relationships. One of the biggest obstacles I hear from females wanting to meet someone is that their life is unconventional from those who were married ten years ago, and so they are viewed as being unrelenting and difficult. But why? Why can’t the male be seen that way NOW, and for the last 100 years? And yet, when a woman decides to follow her goals, she is now being judged? Seems a bit unfair.

I met a girl who is a doctor, and she said that while she was studying to become a doctor, she was judged by people for being to driven, and not wanting to jump into marriage right after college. They asked her why she bothered with becoming a doctor. Then, when she was finally a doctor, people are now telling her she is arrogant about being a doctor and that she will never get married because men don’t want a woman who is more successful than them. Um…that doesn’t sound like it’s her problem. Sounds like some men are too insecure to be with a woman who has her shit together. That’s your problem guys, not ours.

I am not being unreasonable here. I am not saying men need to start carrying the child, and I am not saying women need to treat men the same way women were treated by men all these years- as second-class citizens and housewives. No, I am suggesting that women stand up and fight for what they believe is best for themselves, and for men to set aside their pride and old traditions to support these women. It is okay for a man to be proud of a woman who is driven, successful, and confident. It does not make you less of a man, I swear! But to continue to demean and degrade women who are making strides and following their dreams WILL make you look like less of a man.

I hope that with the emergence of social media and the plethora of stories and articles showcasing the achievements of great women, there will come a day when the question of gender roles will cease to exist. However, it could very well be that women will continue to make great strides while fighting this gender equality battle.

That, in itself, should show you how determined we will be.

I’m More than My Looks

This is a topic I’ve always wanted to explore, but have had a bit of hesitation as I am afraid of how people will perceive it. Too many times, women are admired for their outer beauty and the overall appearance they present to society…but as soon as they open their mouths and start talking about ambition and independence, people automatically get turned off. And I, for one, am sick of it. And I want to know why that is.

For the last few years, every time I relay my marital status to someone (which is frustrating in of itself that I am constantly being asked to present myself according to that), the very first thing they say (99% of the time) is: “Oh my God how are you still single? You’re so beautiful!” As if being pretty is the only requirement for getting married. As if men only look for outer beauty when looking for a mate. AS IF I, AS A WOMAN, only have my looks to offer someone.

Why is it, that when people hear I am single, they don’t cry: “Oh how is this possible? You are accomplished, intelligent, and ambitious…any man would be lucky to have you!” Why is it, that instead, they use those same traits to create an excuse as to why men DON’T marry me?

I have worked VERY hard to be the person I am today. I have also gone through a lot in life, and I believe it has made me a much stronger person. One who won’t take any bullshit from others. And I pride myself on knowing what type of partner I want in life. Is that so wrong?

Why should I just “let things go” and “not be so picky” just to satisfy the majority? Just because that makes you more comfortable and will safely nestle me into the society-accepted role of “wife” doesn’t mean that it is the best decision for all involved. You are uncomfortable with my singleness? Tough. I am uncomfortable with your single-mindedness; your unwavering ability to look beyond your box to see that there is more to a woman than a status; than her looks.

Maybe I’m not meant to be married. Maybe I think this way so that I can continue to go out there and make a difference in this world. Maybe my ideas about marriage are not conventional, but that just may be because times have changed, and so have the roles of women. Yet both men and women are staying in them because they provide a level of comfort and stability. Maybe living alone presents a fear in you so debilitating that you would rather be joined in matrimony with someone you tolerate, than live alone the rest of your life. Or maybe you truly believe in marriage. Either way, do not push your ideologies on me, and tell me that I am wrong for thinking this way.

The older I get, the more I feel that I truly could not be happy in a “traditional” marriage. And by that, I mean one that is based on dated roles where the wife is the main domestic character, and the male the hunter/gatherer. And while that may work for many, I know for a fact it will not work for me.

I want something bigger; I want something MORE.

I want someone who will look at me and be inspired. I want someone who will be proud of my accomplishments and will boast about them to everyone he knows. I want someone secure enough that he will not feel bad about supporting me in my travels and endeavors. I want someone who will give me the respect I deserve, and not place my life on the back burner as he goes on to live his life. I want an equal partner. 100%.

But most of all, I want someone who will see my heart, the depth of my soul, the kindness in my eyes, and the soft words that flow from my tongue, and believe those to be the most beautiful traits in me. That he will appreciate my delicate hands for the words they type, and my lips for the inspiring words they speak. That he will notice my strong, long legs, and appreciate the way they have held me up as many times as I’ve been knocked down by the trials of life. That he will see, in me, beauty. Beauty as a whole; the mix of emotions, struggles, and success.

That he will notice me- for more than just my looks.

The Feminist Manifesto

It’s fitting that I use this title, as I am currently reading about communism in my poly sci class. And lately, the term “feminism” has appeared in many conversations I’ve had as well. There was an article posted on Facebook called “How Feminism Hurts Men” that stirred up a lot of debates. The author was clearly sarcastic as he pinpointed all the issues women have tried to fix over the years through feminism, but have seriously failed at. Women still don’t make as much as men, they aren’t elevated into higher positions in the workplace as quickly as men are, they are still harassed, raped, beaten, and made insignificant in the media. And if you are a woman of color? Forget it. You are 10x worse off than any other woman.

A lot of women feel that feminism, in essence, has actually set women back. The fight for equality essentially turned into the fight to rid the world of men period. Feminism does not focus on how to make women achieve as much as men, but to surpass the level men have achieved, and go farther beyond any attainable realm. The idea that “I don’t need a man” or that the “world is better off without men” has turned the phrase “feminism” into a negative concept, not one that was started to fight for equal rights.

Take relationships, for instance. I have noticed two types of women in the world of dating. The first type has been influenced by the feminist movement, thereby asserting her authority in the relationship, often refusing gifts and insisting on paying when the couple goes out. In her eyes, this woman is “independent,” “successful,” and can handle the monetary part of the relationship since she makes a good living. Any offer from her partner to pay, and she feels insulted, going off on a tirade of how men use money to control the women they date, and the fact that she can stand on her own must threaten him.

The second type of woman has refused the idea of feminism so severely that she has actually reverted to what I like to think of as the “1800s woman.” She feels the man must pay all the time, for everything, and that it is his job to take care of her. She will buy him gifts, but she will never pay for dinner, offer a surprise trip on the weekend, or buy him anything “just because.” She thinks feminists are idiots for giving up the comfort and security that a man can provide them. The only time she will regret the decision is when, one day, the man will use his control of the money and the relationship to force her to do something she does not want to do.

Comparing these two women, you can see that they are both extremes. There is, however, a median, where men and women can be equal with neither reigning over the other. It is true that women are afforded more opportunities than in the past; although there is no need to flaunt them, nor to dismiss the idea of chivalry. Men will always be the protectors of women; it’s a psychological fact. There is a way that a woman can be comfortable with that if she finds herself a man who respects her for her own abilities while providing support. The same goes for the men. Women need to realize that allowing man to take care of them does not necessarily make them weak; in fact, it allows both parties to be stronger, together.

A man who is threatened by a successful woman is no man. Yet women need to understand that to always diminish the role of men in our society will not lead to the rise of the feminist movement. It will, in fact, continue to hold us back, and when in 100 years we are still working for less wages than men, represent a small percentage of CEOs, and continue to fight the battles of rape and domestic abuse, only then will we realize how futile our fight has been.