Men and Women
In our society today, women are commonly perceived as the lesser gender due to the old fashioned style of thought that had been instilled hundreds of years ago. In my opinion, by far the most relevant topic Elizabeth Spelman touched on in her book, Repair, was the position of men and women in our society. Spelman had a unique view on the notion that certain jobs are for men and certain other jobs are for women. On the surface, Spelman seems to be explaining that some jobs are considered to be specifically for women or specifically for men. However, there is clearly a great deal of bias involved in that kind of that kind of thinking. In the third chapter, she explains that jobs that are performed with tools are considered to be more of a “man’s job,” while jobs that pertained to relationships or people were considered a “woman’s job.” But the relevancy of this topic becomes clear when you take a look at what is going on in our society because of the highlighted issues of female inequality. While this is clearly an unfair style of thinking toward women, it is also unfair to think that man cannot complete certain jobs as well. Overall the thought that one gender cannot perform a certain job solely because of their gender is a sexist notion. This essay will explain many of the misconceptions of each gender and touch on the somewhat sexist notion presented by Elizabeth Spelman in Repair.
In her book, Spelman touches on why certain jobs or tasks are generally thought to be meant to be completed by women and why other jobs are thought to be completed by men. Spelman explains that the idea of a man’s job is the idea of a more physical, hands-on job, specifically involving tools. Although this idea is still somewhat a notion amongst people today, it is also thought to be mostly an old-fashioned style of thought. “It was both masculine — expressing mastery over tools, and yet distinctly domestic — something done around the house, perhaps in the male-defined space of a workshop” (29).
This explains that an older idea of masculinity was being able to complete tasks using honed skills and tools. Women’s jobs were thought to be performed either around the house or to be the reparation of relationships. During this period of time masculinity was what most men prided themselves on. The only tool that men wouldn’t usually be using was a needle to sew clothing because sewing was considered to be a woman’s job. Spelman quotes an example from Bruce Cassidy when he said, “Many a man in military service has had to darn a sock at a crucial time. I never yet saw such a man pretend to know how to use a needle, and yet I’ve watched dozens in the barracks secretly stitching rips in their clothing when they thought no one else was looking. It may have taken them longer than a woman to repair their torn clothing but they did it!” (31). Capable men allowed their ego to get in the way of their repair job although they showed that they could complete the job with ease. This proves that a man is fully capable of performing a job commonly performed by women and vice versa.
Although it is often overlooked that men are victims of this style of thought, it cannot be overstated that women are easily the more targeted gender by this style of thinking. To this day, women are thought to be incapable of completing jobs as efficiently as a man could. Spelman quotes an introduction to a book with a primarily female demographic explaining why there is this unfair notion about women. “The fact is that women don’t have to be unhandy. They are not inherently nonmechanical; they have been educationally deprived by their society and then trained to believe that their aptitude is low. What is most needed is authoritative assurance that ‘educationally deprived’ does not mean ‘uneducable,’ and that, in general, the business of making repairs is far easier than most women believe” (28). This idea explains that women hear so often that they are inferior to men and simply cannot do jobs that men commonly do that they themselves begin to believe it.
Not only do women begin to believe it but their confidence in themselves to do so would as well. All women should feel just as strong as men, physically and mentally. Aside from the mental aspect of the notion that women cannot complete a job as well as a man could, it is also explained that women are not given the necessary information and knowledge to be able to pursue and succeed at a job that is considered to be meant for a man. A woman’s job does not only have to be performed around the house or involve reparation in a relationship.
The issue of stereotyping amongst genders has been an issue for many years and continues to be a major issue today. This topic is relevant to society today because of the fact that each gender still faces certain stereotypes that have been attached to their gender. The female population in our society is commonly undermined simply because of their gender. Women are commonly paid less to do the same jobs that men are getting paid more to complete because of the common stereotype that men are better workers than women. According to a study conducted by AAUW the average pay gap between men and women is around ten thousand dollars in favor of the men. On average men in the United States are paid $51,212 per year while women in our nation are paid an average of $40,742. There have been many efforts organized in order to close the pay gap between gender. However, although women still face this issue, a great deal of progress has been made. Women were not originally given the rights than men had in our nation. The fact that women have gone from not being able to work or vote to being able to be such major figure in our society today proves that there has been a remarkable amount of progress made. There is even a chance that our next President of the United States could be a woman. Stereotyping amongst men and women is an old fashioned and unfair style of thought and should not be considered factual.
Each gender faces their own difficulties no matter what they consist of. But the idea that one gender is superior to another is one that is outdated and outlandish. Just because men used to be widely considered genetically superior does not make it true or okay. It’s an old fashioned style of thought. Men and women are equal as human beings and should not be placed in certain classes based on gender. In the world we live in today there shouldn’t be men afraid to show compassion or women that feel inferior to men. Each gender should be able to chase whatever goal it is they are going after and Spelman does a great job of expressing this. The topic of stereotyping men and women was the one topic that really made an impact on my thought process through the first three chapters of Repair.