Gender Roles : The Root Cause of a Deluded Society

Nature is a wonderful thing. It has given us Man, Woman and the Other gender. Society, in my perspective — is a disastrous thing, that has assigned so many roles to not only genders, but our choices. You probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Here’s a question: Have you ever seen your father cry?

Is the answer no? If it is ‘yes’ — I want to ask another one. How many times? I hope three more won’t bother you — Is it more than the times you’ve seen your mother weep? Have you always thought that you father is tough man? Should fathers show less weakness or moments of vulnerability?

I’d be so glad if each reader could say — ‘Yeah! Every human has emotions and it’s only normal to cry or have such moments.’ But you can’t. Let me take you back a few thousand years when evolutionary wonders created the first man and woman. Men were considered strong, their bodies physically heavier and stronger and assigned the role of hunting. Women were much lighter — only for a natural cause. Yep, you got it right. God didn’t want women to be weak. To conceive, reproduce, create an offspring ; women needed to be lighter, for their bodies to be more flexible and less stiff. Lighter, so conception was easy and possible. Why am I telling you this? Because, today, in this massive web of societal obligations and norms, we have forgotten that we all serve a purpose. Thanks to the upliftment of women over these thousands of years, that today women can choose their career over their capacity to reproduce. And it shouldn’t come as a shock, if a sportswoman decides to dedicate her mental and physical being to the sport she loves. Meaning- she could be really strong if she is trained for it (which most women are not and it is irrelevant if they’re into sports or not). However, society has led us to believe that women who cannot reproduce are incomplete in themselves. I don’t hear my uncle getting as much flak for never marrying or having children as much as I hear of women I don’t know who are subjected to this thought process everyday. And that is where gender roles get really messed up. Now, you see, man was never made with the idea of conception but he could always help inside the house. Sadly, many of our brothers and fathers believe they do not belong in the kitchen. Some of them even cringe at the idea of sharing their emotions — to their families and loved ones alike. Somewhere while we’re growing up, we teach our boys to toughen up, to not cry, to be strong and independent. We give our girls the dream, though. To be in love with a man like this. Some girls are fortunate and our parents have always believed in our individual capabilities to become who we want to become but not all have this fate. Why I speak of gender roles today is because we may think feminism is for women. But I believe in feminism for a deeper, more hard hitting cause. I believe in feminism for men. For their right to be emotional, for their right to cry and talk for hours on end about pointless things that they think about and not just politics or the stance of our country ( topics I hear on the lips of my father and his male friends and family). Wonder why males commit more suicides than females? Not only is it, the burden of providing for a family and being it’s “strongest” pillar but also because Man has been told to be strong irrelevant of who he is. Now, I want to begin another round of questions — hopefully your understanding of gender is a little clearer than before. Have you ever met a man who seemed fit for the society’s ideal woman? Have you ever seen a woman who seemed fit for the society’s ideal man? Before you start thinking of who these people are, I want to tell you my answer for the first question. My father is very religious man. He knows how to cook,clean, change diapers and he was also soft spoken. For most of my childhood — I deemed him perfect. He had a good job and he knew how to do everything by himself. And I, for one — or anyone I knew never called him less of a man. Although, my father never revealed his feelings. His frustration would sometimes bring me pain, because even he would contain it still. Never letting go. Why was he so stubborn? Why didn’t he ever cry? All I’m trying to say is, he was never allowed to. His happiness became his family’s happiness, even if it actually didn’t make him happy. He never learnt to love himself. He needs a push to try on new clothes or buy an expensive watch — because he is burdened by the fact, that if he does this for himself, he might not be able to afford something for his family. And this is why I need feminism for men. For gender roles to be eradicated. For emotions to be felt by both man and woman. You will wonder why I blame the society so much but it comes from within, when I’m enraged by a rape, or a suicide and have to bear with the fact that our whole society is oblivious to the fact that we have stubbed the feelings of Man, and given him more power instead. But with power, comes ego — no wonder Nirbhaya’s rapists didn’t think twice before putting an iron rod in her vagina piercing her intenstine. Women too are never led to believe they are physically capable of moving a rock. You would immediately give your son the work of moving things and your daughter, one to serve the guests. Imagine, if you taught your son how to cook, and your daughter how to be more fit for doing things, usually assigned to man — what harm could you do? You’d equip your boy and girl alike, and that’s about it. I’m all about sharing the blame, to be honest. So I am going to ask you a third and the last set of questions. Who do you think is the society and why have they done this? And secondly, why do I continuously talk about parenting?

If you know the answers, you have understood my message before I could conclude this article. But I’ll still take you through it. Imagine — it’s been a long day, you’re back from work and you live with your parents. Who do you see serving you dinner? It’s not really question, is it? Not for the majority because the answer is so well rehearsed through the coding of gender roles by the society inside our system — it feels like the most obvious answer there is. So answering my own question to you — we are the society, we feed off the norms so life is easier. Let me tell you one thing though, life isn’t easy for the girl who got raped, or the boy who did it because he’s behind bars and he doesn’t know what wrong he did. How would he? For him, it is routine. Father beating up his wife, wife never letting the little boy intrude. Only one backstory. You wouldn’t believe how many more there are. I’m not justifying the rape, I’m asking you to think from the psychological end. From the bra snapping at school to the emotionally numbing leading to suicide, where did we go wrong? Coming to the very last topic I would want to touch upon- Parents and Teachers teaching their children gender roles. This is where you come in. You didn’t probably mean to be caught up in this mess- but still you are teaching your child something that could destroy their life. Because parents and teachers guide children from a very young age, the first idea of gender roles are taught by you. Make sure, you do it right — I would want to for my child.

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