Gender Roles Reversed
Being a woman or being a man used to mean that you had a certain code of behavior that you had to follow especially when interacting with the other sex. It meant that you had a particular set of responsibilities, a list of DOs & DON’Ts and that your lifestyle had to reflect those ‘rules of engagement’. This is what we call gender roles. Men had to be this way and women had to be that way.
Of course, the gender roles would vary across different cultures and across different generations. But within every generation they were quite clearly laid out.
Today, in western industrialized societies, gender roles are still present but they are far less pronounced and people are generally free to decide for themselves what code of behavior they will follow.
But some gender codes remain with us and are unlikely to change anytime soon - particularly those that have an evolutionary background. For women, physical beauty is and probably always will be a deciding factor in her social status. Likewise, for men, their social status is highly dependent on their performance of useful tasks. In short, a woman’s status is heavily dependent on her beauty and a man’s status is heavily dependent on his productivity. And no amount of campaigning or awareness-raising will change these things. But that doesn’t mean you have to live by those rules yourself nor does it mean that you need to let them affect you though it is hard to ignore them entirely.
Reversing Gender Roles
First of all, I love the idea of gender role reversal. It appealed to me since I was a child and wanted to play the “boys games” and had no interest in dolls. And that’s enough about me already. Let’s talk about why I think gender role reversal can be a great thing for anyone and the possible down side for going down that road. Firstly, monotonous traditional lifestyles are, well, kind of boring and uninteresting. It’s hard to imagine a more dull society than one in which everybody follows the same lifestyle. I mean, even if you love your ascribed gender role, surely you would want to try alternatives once in a while. Diversity rules and makes everything better because young people can learn from different views and lifestyles about gender roles and they can incorporate various elements into their own lives. Today, you can choose what kind of gender role you want to play - well mostly. The down side is that, if you have a less common way of life, then you might have a harder time finding somebody with a lifestyle that matches yours. One of the problems in the modern dating world stems particularly from a lack of clear rules of engagement. So dating is a lot more complicated - but that also makes it more exciting because there is much more diversity of dating partners.
Women taking up men’s roles
there are more female breadwinners than ever and the percentage is growing.
Women are averagely better educated and better qualified than men so this trend
will continue and perhaps accelerate. Regardless of what you want, the female
breadwinner is clearly something that’s becoming normal and practical for both
men and women. After all, if you’re on the higher paying career path, then it
only makes sense to be the one who makes her job a priority. So female productivity is sharply on the rise. But you have to wonder, with regard to what I said about men being defined by their productivity, what the implications might be for men. Or imagine things the other way round, if men were to become more and more physically 'beautiful' such that their beauty surpasses that of women (how society perceives it) in many cases, how might that affect women? I'll have to leave that for another article.
It goes without saying that the traditional female gender role is left only for those who really want it. Personally that way of life isn’t for me but that doesn’t make it wrong or bad. Having the freedom of choice between female or male gender roles or any mix between the two is one of the advantages of being a woman in today’s times. But be careful of one thing: That freedom of choice gradually disappears as you get older.
Men taking up women’s roles
More and more men are beginning to see that the traditional male gender role isn’t desirable for everyone. They are realizing that they could have a more fulfilled life if they’d free themselves of the pressure to fit in the gender roles that others impose on them. Of course, this is not for everyone, but I do think everyone should give it serious thought at some point in their lives. Otherwise how can you be sure you’re not missing out on a lot that life has to offer you?
Gender roles are overrated anyway
What we call gender roles, are mostly determined by simple pragmatism of past generations carried over for little other than traditional reasons - a kind of archaic leftover. There is nothing inherently “right” or “good” about living one gender role as opposed to any other. So for us this means we can choose our own lifestyle or gender role and we don’t have to and shouldn’t make our biological sex an issue in that choice.
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