jdeena

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

Tag: expectations

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.

Our Expectations of Love

I’m sitting here thinking about a lot of things. I was recently given some feedback on my blog by a very admirable friend of mine and I’m going to try my hardest to put it to good use (Thank you Mr. GK). No more generalizations. I realize that in the past I have made generalizations about the Arab male population, and while I distinctly remember placing disclaimers (such as “most” or “the ones I know”) it appeared that I was attacking the whole race. So, I apologize. For further clarification, in future posts when I mention ANY group, it is based solely on my own interactions and not the population as a whole.

So, here I am thinking. One thing that has crossed my mind lately is love. We all have our own views on this complicated emotion. It really is hard to try and put into words the way we feel about someone, and so to simplify it, we take the easy way out and say we love them. But is that true? I look at certain couples and see that they don’t really love each other. They “tolerate” each other. They “withstand” each other. They “adapt” to each other. But it’s not truly love, not in the sense that has been conditioned in our minds since we could understand words.

So, what is this “love” that we try and acquire? Well, according to the Disney movies we watched as children, it’s when a prince comes and rescues you from whatever horrible situation you happen to be living in. Or, according to all the romantic comedies, it’s meeting the guy you end up marrying at an airport while running to catch a flight, or on the street as you cross only to be almost run over by a metal garbage dumpster and he rushes in to save you.

The problem is, our expectations of love are so unrealistic that we are disappointed when things don’t play out like they do in the movies. Who is to blame for this? Logically, it would be the moguls in media who continue to feed us these atrocities and get us hooked on this unrealistic notion. But really the only person we have to blame is our own self. As a female, I myself don’t look for that fairytale ending. The only thing I look for is a meaningful connection and open communication. Too many women get caught up in the motions of a relationship that they actually forget to LIVE in the moment. They have all these steps to pass that they picked up in the movies, and if the relationship misses a step- or God forbid- skips them all, they declare the relationship a failure.

This is when they no longer “love” their partner, but rather “tolerate” them. A lot of times it’s too late to repair the damage; both parties are now so uninspired that they have given up. I’ve read so many articles lately on how to keep a relationship strong, and they all said that the best way to do so is by pretending the relationship is just starting out. Too often we get comfortable with someone that we don’t feel the need to impress them or woo them as we did at the beginning. But to anyone who has ever been in a relationship, what’s better than the feeling you get when you first meet someone? Getting to know them, figuring thing out about each other….it’s the best time!

Love is not an easy concept. It is also no easy fete to conquer. If I could tell the younger generations something, it would be to look beyond the movies and stories of your childhood, and decide for yourself what your love will be. Don’t allow unrealistic expectations to hinder your ability to build a life with someone who may be your perfect match, but you were too caught up in the fairytale to notice.