Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How far have Gender Roles come, really?

I can't remember when I first came across this poem below. I used it in a talk I gave on Sexuality to a youth group of a church I was a member of. I recently uncovered that talk when going through some old documents on my PC and this poem jumped out at me. Written in 1973 when the the state of 'equality' was different than today it still rings so true in 2007. Obviously I relate the the man side of the statements much more but I can see both sides.

It almost goes back to the gender stereotyping I talked about in a previous article. Have we really moved on in 24 years? Of course in some attitudes and equality laws yes we have come a very long way and quite right too. But underlying it all I think society still pressures us into roles that we must live up to. As I said in the aforementioned article men and women are different and do have different complimentary roles but that does not mean we are to be bound to or limited by them.

I am still shocked and amazed when I come across friends or acquaintances who still follow the traditional pattern of women doing the housework, cleaning, cooking etc..., children and men claim the 'I am at work earning the money thing', I do DIY and men things. For goodness sake, do your share of the household chores, learn to cook. So what if you are the sole bread winner, why is that an excuse to not help out at home?

A lot of the time it is simple laziness and lack of a good role model. Settling into culturally defined gender norms that have nothing to do with real gender roles or differences.

Step away from the soap box!!

Anyway here is the poem, enjoy!

'For every Woman'

For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong, there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.
For every woman who is tired of acting dumb, there is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of "knowing everything."
For every woman who is tired of being called "an emotional female," there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.
For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes, there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.
For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.
For every woman who feels "tied down" by her children, there is a man who is denied the full pleasures of shared parenthood.
For every woman who is denied meaningful employment or equal pay, there is a man who must bear full financial responsibility for another human being.
For every woman who was not taught the intricacies of an automobile, there is a man who was not taught the satisfactions of cooking.
For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.

Copyright © 1973 Nancy R. Smith 154C Shore Drive Peabody, MA 01960

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