Talking about Gender Roles

 

Everyone knows society right? Those pervasive and loud voices that dictate, often, what people are supposed to do and not in their lives because it’s deemed decent or right. This could mean little to a whole lot based on what your social background is and that of the people you interact with is, which is why I have had some pretty weird exchanges in my little social life.

 

I remember during a few family get togethers that all the men would get together and discuss politics and economics and the women would always be separately discussing their friends and their children’s lives and sometimes food and clothes and as kids, we’d not be interested in either discussion. Later on, as we wanted something more playing than board games, we’d go and try to join either discussions but I remember that the topic would promptly change as my cousins and I walked into one room to something like academics and subtle comparisons between my cousins and I but it was still better than the change of conversation in the other room where all the elders would compare us with the number of accolades we’d recently earned, how socially proper we could be and basically anything that could go onto a resume which reflected directly on our mother’s capabilities. I bring this up because after a point, the conversations stopped being dictated by if we were in earshot to being dictated in the most obscure of ways- by the majority gender that was present. If I’d entered the guy’s domain with my male cousins, I’d be subjected to the best kind of banter about driving vehicles, business and sometimes, politics and exercise and sports. In the female dominated room, I’d be made to hear about weddings and clothes and household chores and scandalous gossip on love marriages and weight- because that’s what females did, right?

This article (here) just reiterates what I experience.

I detest(ed) this, and thus defer from choosing tables or rooms if I can avoid it.

The reason I detest these experiences is because my younger cousins started picking up on this difference in conversation and would have no opinion in one of the two rooms. I can’t believe how small I’ve made the issue sound or even how simply I’ve categorised girls and guys and I apologize. I needed an example.

There’s an issue with society and that’s keeping too many people from exploring avenues even today. Have you heard of men wearing makeup, perming their hair or women driving buses or maybe fixing cars unless it’s in an itsy blog? It’s neither right nor wrong nor that far beyond imagination- us humans have very little anyway- to be any of these, to do anything that specifically defies the gender roles in your society, it’s just highly uncommon and under discussed because it’s too easy to not discuss what’s difficult. This IS a difficult topic to address because it calls for questioning what you believe in.

I’ve heard so many exchanges where girls are unwilling to take up faraway jobs because it seems difficult for families to let girls out of their houses, thus leaving lucrative and well earned job offers to the boys in their batch. There doesn’t seem to be any sympathy for the girl in question, just agreement from her friends which surprises me all the more.There’s one conversation I had where girls were afraid of talking to the guys in their own class because they were afraid of how other girls would perceive their character to be.

I don’t know how many guys deem it acceptable to be the cooking member in their family because I’ve seen simple misunderstandings in my vicinity where the males need to be requested to make their own coffees once in a while. Similarly doing laundry, or clearing up in their houses because it seems like a female duty.

I don’t mean to call out women who accept household duties because it’s no less of job- no matter what it may seem like. I mean to call out the parts of our own mentality that deems it right or wrong for guys to want to paint their nails, maybe or want to wear pink or even skirts- it’s all okay because it doesn’t change the way they see themselves maybe or define their gender. It’s a huge deal for women to go out of the way to hold traditionally male dominated jobs and when we let old fashioned people give her all sorts of trouble for it, do we accept responsibility?

We are after all, part of society, and the society that we live in will be influenced totally by our tolerance, the freedom of expression we accord others and the examples we set. Gender roles are so draconian and outdated, we need to dissolve or redefine them at least to allow our own peers and ourselves to make the most of their little time on this planet, or die trying.

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