Archives for posts with tag: gender roles

Given that sexes are, nowadays, considered to be equal… the advent of gender seems to be somewhat unwarranted.

I’m afraid things are not so simple.

First of all, sexes are only declared to be equal. Nobody – or, more exactly, very few, actually consider them to be absolutely equal.

Secondly, they are only of equal importance. Not at all ‘equal’.

First things first.
We, all, have been raised seeped in ‘culture’.
And almost all contemporary cultures consider women to be ‘second’ to men.
Hence both men and women – both raised by the same ‘mother’, have an ingrained bias towards men being ‘somewhat’ more important than women.

Last, but not at all least, sexes play different roles. Biologically, socially… any way you look at it, men and women do different things in order to fulfill their jobs. OK, those roles have been ‘blurred’ during the last decades but their are still discernibly different.
But of equal importance, mind you!

Just think of yin and yang. Would you say they are equal? Could you say which is more important?

Hence gender!
‘Genders’ do exactly that. They underline the functional differences between sexes while demonstrating the equal importance shared by both sexes.

And, last but, again, not least, genders teach us that only the biological roles are different AND fixed.
Social roles are also different but they can be fulfilled by either sexes. Men acting as secretaries for women bosses, women leading households – both income-wise and/or as ‘the pillar’, fathers using their maternity leaves, women flying fighting jets, men happily working as nurses. You name it!

You get accustomed to it.
Study genders. It will come easier.

Men grow up ‘against’ their fathers.
Women grow up with their mothers.

Men try to ‘fix’ their relationship before the older one ‘grows out’.
Women don’t have this problem. By the time they have reached that stage of the relationship, they are beyond the point of no return.  Either not really speaking to each other or so ‘in sync’ that there’s no difference of opinion left to speak of.

Statistically speaking, of course.
For both genders.

Human Nature as a social construct

Now, that some doctors are not only able but also willing to perform sex/life changing surgery, the subject has spawned a rather hot debate.

The ‘inputs’ being ‘sex’, ‘gender’ and ‘how each of us feels about it’.

Feels about what?

Well… this is the tricky part.
The what of the matter isn’t so simple…

There are so many things that might be felt here…

How each of us feels about the sex they have been born with.
How each of us feels about the gender role assigned to their particular sex by the particular culture into which they have been born.
How each of us feels about those who have enough courage/money to assume another gender/change their sex.

Please note that while neither the society nor the individuals have anything to do with the birth sex, both the society and the individuals are instrumental in shaping all those feelings.

Since sex/gender is too ‘hot’ right now, let me take a parallel road.

Many of my friends are glad when I invite them to dinner. To a home cooked dinner.
Their appreciation has driven me to improve my cooking skills, over time.
Yet in my culture, men are not supposed to cook – if they are not professionals, of course.
Which I’m not.
Yet very few people, if any at all, see anything strange here.
That being the social construct part.
On the other hand, cooking implies certain individual characteristics. For instance, I find it harder when my nose is running. I have to do it ‘mechanically’. It also demands a lot of patience and the ability to plan in advance. Not to mention the fact that one needs both hands.
My point being that cooking, and gender, is based on a certain physical configuration – both hands, a working nose – a certain state of mind AND a lot of study/social conditioning.

My real point being that every ‘social construct’ is based on ‘nature’.
Just as no builder will ever be able to build anything without ‘bricks’, no society will ever be able to build anything out of nothing.
And just as all builders have to adapt their plans to what they have at their disposal, all social constructs will be limited by ‘human nature’ – how ever adaptable and ingenuous it might be.

Now it’s the moment to remind you that other cultures have dealt differently with this matters. Driven by different kinds of necessity.

“It began hundreds of years ago, deep in the Albanian Alps—an unusual tradition where women, with limited options in life, took the oath of the burrnesha. A pledge to live as a man. To dress like a man, to work like a man, to assume the burdens and the liberties of a man. But these freedoms came with a price: The burrneshas also made a pledge of lifelong celibacy. Today these sworn virgins live on, but their numbers have dwindled. Many Albanians don’t even know they exist. What happens when the society that created you no longer needs you? And how do you live in the meantime?”

 

“In Samoa, gender identity is largely based on a person’s role in the family and if one family has numerous sons and no daughters, it’s not uncommon to raise one of the boys as a girl.

In fact, being a Fa’afaine or the practice of males adopting female gender roles and the attributes traditionally associated with women is deeply embedded in much of Polynesia.”

Confused?

You’re not alone…

“Some Polynesian elders believe there are boys born with the “Fa’afafine spirit,” while others say it can be nurtured.”

 

Yet another misleading title

OK, I fully understand the editors’ need to grab readers’ attention… I also understand the fact that the readers themselves have become somewhat forgiving… in the sense that most don’t even notice that the title which convinced them to read an article is only vaguely connected to the rest… but how far down this road do we need to go before understanding how dangerous it is?

Most people do not trust the media anymore… could it be that this had been helped by the continuously widening distance between the titillating titles and the actual content of the articles?

How about ‘Men are attracted by smart women but not enough for them to overcome a certain weariness’?

Now, that I’ve hopefully grabbed your attention, let me delve into the matter.

“…more and more research reveals that though the thought of a smart woman is appealing to men, a real, live smart woman standing in front of them is actually a turnoff.”

“Researchers at the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University, and the University of Texas at Austin” developed a two tiered study to test their hypothesis.
During the first step 105 men where read a “hypothetical scenario in which a woman either outperformed or underperformed them in a math or English course, and then (they were) instructed … to imagine this woman as a romantic partner”. During this step the men who were outperformed tended to describe a more favorable impression about the woman they were compared to than the one offered by the others. And this finding seems to validate another claim made earlier this year: “Men value intelligence in women far above large breasts and long legs.”
During the second step each of the same men were asked to complete something that looked like an intelligence test and then offered the opportunity to meet a woman that had either out or under performed them. Surprisingly (or not?) the men who were going to meet a woman that was smarter than them “distanced themselves more from her, tended to rate her as less attractive, and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her,”

This being somewhat inline with the conclusion of another study which finds that: “men’s avoidance of more intelligent or ambitious women could be due to fear of rejection by these higher quality women.”

Can we even try to draw a conclusion? Given so much contradictory information?

Let’s start from here:

“This study also did not take into account men who are already in a relationship with a more intelligent woman.”

Wow! It wasn’t that hard, after all…
Until now we were considering ‘thoughts’ and ‘impressions’ provided by individuals confronted with ‘hypothetical scenarios’ but who had no first hand experience about the real deal…

But do not despair. You haven’t lost precious time reading all this.

Here’s some ‘homework’ you might find challenging:

Why are some men – those who haven’t yet discovered that this situation could be comfortable – avoiding a romantic relationship with a more intelligent/ambitious woman? While so many same sex friendships bond people who display different levels of intelligence/ambition?

Are we that stuck in our old ‘gender roles’? Do males’ egos still tend to be threatened if they are not the alpha member of their household?

Or could it be that some of the males tend to associate female smartness with a variety of rather aggressive feminisms and it’s this that puts them off, not the the intelligence itself?

And why is it that justice is usually depicted as a blindfolded woman instead of an overbearing male?

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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

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