Change isn’t easy…changing the way you live means changing what you believe about life. That’s hard… Dean Koontz
It is quite amusing the conversations bouncing off the internet today and how sensitive people have become as regards sexualism and gender roles.
~One young man went into a diatribe because I suggested men tried going Christmas shopping for the office, rather than women (yes, I was trying to avoid doing it again this year. How selfish!). His argument was that a man should have no business in the market when women were present.
~Another argument I watched/engaged in on a social forum concerned men learning to handle more feminine inclined domestic chores. While some argued in favour, so many others (men no doubt) were completely against the notion. Again it was assumed that teaching a male child to handle these duties made him a less balanced, more unmanly wussified adult. Apparently men should be paper-chasers, and women couch potatoes….erm….domestically inclined, primarily.
When did we get sucked in a gender war?
What has become increasingly impossible to find is a conversation with people of the opposite sex, without one party throwing accusations like missiles. Every time one gender raises an issue outlining the inherent problems in dealing with the opposite sex, the latter retaliates with a comeback detailing why the complainant is just as guilty of said ‘offences’. It’s like we are saying to each other: how you dare complain when you’re guilty. Abi na only you waka come?
No meaningful explanations. No solutions. Just fight. And then we continue dwelling in our ignorance about each other.
You know what’s appalling? How we have continued to ascribe certain behavioural characteristics to different genders in different age groups. One bus conductor wouldn’t address me politely because I was a woman, and apparently women are full of wahala and like to flex muscles. And my only crime was to explain the difficult situation he had placed me in, by failing to carry out his duties. According to him, men were more agreeable than women.
No attention given. No questions asked. Just nonchalant aggression.
Our mental filters and response motor may have been programmed to deal with actions of one sex a completely different way than we would the other. I wonder if this is a fight for preservation, or a defense mechanism geared towards the same goal.
Are people threatened by change?
So feminism has come to stay. It has succeeded in breaking down most inequality barriers and given women the freedom to express themselves and their desires. I am learning though, that with freedom comes paranoia. If I don’t hold on to it with tenacity, fight like a tigress with every confrontation, it will float away; Hmmm if we don’t endeavor to put them in their place, they will soon run us over. Women will wear trousers. Men will strap babies to their backs. And the world just became a horrible place!
I am an advocate for gender roles. I believe that certain tasks are better suited for men than women, and vice versa. I take this stand because I am inherently a traditional person. I also believe in choices and freedom to use that to the best of ones abilities. But in the light of recent development, I have also come to see there are many others like me who are not so comfortable with the option of choice. Change is good, but how much of it are we willing to allow? How does one even begin to measure good and bad change? Because there are no clear cut definitions, we fear it. We fear it because change disrupts everything we consider fundamental.
And fundamentalism is the peg that holds the tent in place.
Perhaps we need to be reminded that even while our destinations remain inherently the same, we have come from different places, each supported by different underlays. For some these foundations worked well, and for others they didn’t. The latter deserve something different if they so desire. Also because life and relationships do not come with a universally recognized manual, nor are people wired equally, we can each afford to work with trials and errors until we come to a place of rest. That isn’t a terrible solution now. Being a man adept at handling traditional feminine task does not make you weak. Having a man act out like men would is not a red flag to unleash the dragon. Our battle against conformity and non-conformity is muddling things up.
If we constantly feel the need to (re)validate our current positions, then maybe we are yet to fully embrace it alongside its implications.
This was inspired by this post on gender roles by Eric.