Thursday, May 2, 2013

In Which Angela Discusses Gender Roles

There comes a time when I simply have to bash my head against a wall due to the stubbornness of others and their complete disregard for how reality works.
Gender roles tend to cause these times more often than pretty much anything else.

Gender roles are honestly one of the worst inventions in the world. Do they work?
No, not really.
Are they "traditional" as we refer to them?
Do they make ANYONE happy except for self-inflated, egocentric, controlling men and women?
I don't think so.

Notice, too, that I said "men AND women." That was not a mistake. That was not my attempt not to be sexist against men.
Males have some pretty awful stereotypical gender roles as well. They are just as unfair as those against women, and they have just as much based off of reality as the images of a woman being fragile as a flower and incapable of taking care of herself do.

Gender roles don't discriminate. They hate everything.

Let's take a look at the past, shall we?
Men and women traditionally worked together to gather food. They raised children- sometimes other people's children- and women made important decisions as often as men did. They worked together to protect each other.
We were so focused on the fact that we need to survive that we weren't like "OMG WOMEN COOK AND MEN FIGHT."
We both cooked.
We both ate.
It worked out pretty well.

Once the agricultural revolution came around, along with the domestication of animals? Yeah, men started taking care of the animals while women grew food.
But equal.

And then it sort of spiraled down from there.

We started marking "hunting" and "fighting" as "the strong things" and "the things you do when you can take care of yourself."
Nevermind the fact that I'm sure there were guys who couldn't fight worth crap (notice: Guys DIED in war. If they were all mega strong manly men then either they'd all of died or none of them would have.), along with women who probably beat up animals and creatures and enemies because the guys were all off killing each other and hey, who's going to let a wildcat eat their toddler?
Pretty much NO ONE.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that either job was stupid or unnecessary. Frankly, I'm glad that my ancient ancestors lived because I'm here now.
Fighting was important.
Agriculture was important.
Raising children was important.
Raising animals was important.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say they're pretty much equal- at least in that time and place.
So we have these two equal things.
And then ALL the glory gets thrown on one of them- the fighting and raising animals- and then we have a problem.
Because who raises animals and fights?
But not all men enjoy this, I'm sure. I'm sure some of them have allergies to cow hair or something and feel nauseous at the sight of blood.

So I'm going to break from this topic before I go insane trying to explain what I'm thinking.

So let's move onto modern day.
Women have "equality" and men are happy. Right? All is happy. We all get along. No one prejudices against-


I know, I know.
It's a pretty picture.
But hold it.

Did you know that there are people who consider women to be "emotional" and "weak" and they need a guy to support them at all times?
Even today.

Sadly enough, in our society, that's not unheard of. It's pretty normal, actually. Women are always being told what to be and what to look like, and it's bullcrap.
We're told that we should be happy for what we have and we should just suck it up and deal because WE HAVE EQUALITY ALREADY, RIGHT?

I'm going to continue this thought in a moment.
Let's look at the other side of things.

In the same way that women are stuck inside of stereotypical gender roles?
So are guys.

Remember back when fighting and hunting was the honorable thing, raising men to be higher than women?
Well, that defined the whole of men. Ever. They were ALL like that. Because that's how they were expected to be, that's how a lot of people still define them as.

"Well look at it like this, not to say that there aren't any exceptions, but on the General, people aren't going to band together under a girl, especially guys, and follow her into battle. There are exceptions but men like to be led by men. I know I'm using Sam's analogy here but in the same instance, most girls cannot achieve the same physical level that men can."

"I think my main problem with people who write stories with girls as the leader is that they fail to change the reality of the situation to a girl being in charge."

"When God created the earth, he didn't create the women to be the leader, to make the tough calls and carry the burden, even for things outside of war, he created the man to do that and the woman to be the supporter."

"Guys never cry on one another's shoulder's or give each other supportive hugs. With guys, it's all about respect."

"Masculine Tactics:

1. Physical Strength
This is perhaps the most obvious. I could prove it with a science book.

2. Leadership
Men make better leaders than women. That's just the way it is. Even if it was socially acceptable, Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Robert E. Lee, Hitler, Alexander the Great etc. would not have been as successful if they were women. And don't tell me about Joan of Arc or Debra. The only reason that anyone knows about them is because they are NOT the norm.

3. Mortal Intimidation
This can be broken up even further.
1. Indirect intimidation
"I have the power to make someone kill you." (women can also do this)
2. Direct intimidation
"I can personally kill you with my bare hands!" (When a women says this to a man, it is rare that he takes her seriously)
3. Grand Scale intimidation
"I can crush you" Meaning my forces will destroy yours.
(This sort of intimidation is frequently attributed to a general or a king. Because women do not make as good leaders/commanders, they cannot be intimidating due of the strength of the forces. If you hear about a queen's army, you automatically assume that the queen is not in direct military command. Men like Napoleon have grand scale intimidation.)"

This is what I thought of when I read the last quote...

Yes. These are actual quotes.
From actual people.
And I truly am sorry that they have these unrealistic views.
Because really? How is this realistic? At all?

Guys are not unemotional psychopaths. Women don't need to be the "supporters" because without them guys won't be able to feel emotions.
They aren't uncaring or incapable of taking care of their children.
They aren't all scary people who look like this:
Thank God.
In fact, they're pretty much... I don't know...

And the sad part is?
The people who stereotype guys (and girls) and create gender roles, basically?
They're guys.
They're the super conservative, "MEN FIGHT AND GIRLS COOK" guys.

They make up a very small percentage of the world. Everyone thinks they're nuts. And yet we have these stereotypes and gender roles because some people fit them (which is perfectly okay) and think everyone should (which isn't okay.)
Let's think about something.
I'm a girl.
I fit the stereotype of loving cute animals.
Does this mean everyone has to?
Heck no.
They don't have to think hedgehogs are cute. That's fine.

But let's imagine I think they should.
Let's imagine I'm going around saying

Actually, let's go a step farther.
Let's say that it's a cultural thing. That all girls need to think that animals are adorable.
What if there's someone who thinks that bunnies are scary? Or who are allergic to cats?

How does this even make sense? You're probably all sitting here going "well that's stupid." because it is. It is stupid.

Now, to break away from my "WE ARE ALL EQUAL" rant, let's look at something else.

We aren't necessarily the exact same.
In fact, yes. Guys are physically stronger. They have better upper body strength, as the mean average. They tend to show emotions in different ways. They aren't necessarily as willing to talk about their emotions as other people.

When it comes to wrestling matches? Chances are the guy is going to win. This is simply because of their physical advantage.
Does this mean that women are weak fragile, can't-be-as-strong-as-guys?

Remember, I said the mean average.
(For those of you who aren't up on your math: The mean average is what happens when you add up all the numbers and then divide them by the frequency. In this case, the strength of every guy divided among the number of males.)
I mean.
Let's see. Let's take my friend Katie and my friend Matthew.
Katie could beat him up with no problem.

Girl is stronger than boy in this case.

Let's take another example.
My mom and my dad.
Uh huh.
My dad is way stronger than my mom is.

Boy is stronger than girl in this case.

There isn't anything wrong with that.
Because you know what?

We have higher pain tolerance. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, literally. We have a better ego. It's more resilient.

Sometimes I get the vibe from guys that they're thinking
"Whatever you can do, I can do better, and we're only letting you have a job or a gender role at all because we feel pity for you."

But really? When it comes down to it? There is no way that guys can do everything we can. Just biologically. Even if they could have children, it's a fact of life that all babies originally start out as female and only become male once hormones start activating.

Guys come from women.
(Take that, creation story.)

For everything that we are "lesser" in, you can find something we're "better" at.
When it comes down to it?
But equal.

And I conclude my rant about gender roles.

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