Not for Wusses
Marketing loves casting people into competitive positions: surely you want to be a big alpha male with all the best stuff, surely you want to be the thinnest most sexually attractive woman with all the best stuff.
Our culture has expected girls to be kind, gentle, nurturing, and submissive. When a girl feels the need to be treated equally and given the right to a fulfilling career with fair pay, she may want to shake off ALL the stereotypes. The percentage of girls who resort to violent bullying in school yards has been steadily increasing. Our society isn’t good at teaching the distinction between power and empowerment.
When a female works for positive social change, it is expected of her and often goes unnoticed. When a male does this work, it is seen as exceptional and he may receive social praise. Can you name any female Nobel Peace Prize winners? A few exist, but they are hardly noted by our media.
What concerns me with all this is that kindness is seen as weak and effeminate, a natural trait for females and an acquired trait for boys. As such it is being rejected by both genders.
Kindness has to be encouraged and practised. It’s not for wimps. Look at how much strength was needed by people like Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Muta Maathai, and Betty Williams.
Stereotypes need to be ended, but backlash against those stereotypes doesn’t improve things. We, all of us of both genders, need to thoughtfully consider what values and characteristics result in a more harmonious future. We then need to remove gender judgements and expectations, and just do what is best. To heck with anyone who might call you a wuss. You are no wuss, if you are willing to stand up to their ignorance.
Peace and kindness,
(originally published as a comment 2012 March 22)