Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why Discussing Gender Roles Matters to Me

This is an idea for a blog post that I've had for a while, but after noticing a comment in the following article I recently read, I felt like finally getting around to talking about this. Here's the article:

http://www.cracked.com/article_18529_6-absurd-gender-stereotypes-that-science-says-are-true.html

That article's generally bull shit, but I didn't feel like going into full detail about it. What I'm really going to argue against is this specific comment by chsirish73:

"Hey, everyone that's getting so angry, the article is based off of scientific research and states on average that these things are true. Also, the article is written by a woman, so everyone that's getting so upset and saying that it's biased against women isn't making any sense."

Most scientific studies done on the differences between men and women are highly questionable. Those studies tend to generalize a whole spectrum of people, and people can easily justify what they say because they claim that it's science that says so, like there's no way any sort of experiment could possibly be biased or conducted improperly. The big problem with the generalizations is that there is typically an exception to the rule, hence is what my girlfriend and I tend to be. In this case, if there is an exception to the rule, then the study is not reliable, and therefore, you shouldn't trust the findings within.

For instance, if you want to test the hypothesis that all heavy things sink, you'd try to put a bunch of heavy objects in water. Turns out, most heavy things do sink. However, once you try out a big log, it floats. Suddenly, your hypothesis isn't correct, and a new one must be made because of this astounding new discovery. This is how science experiments works. It's not correct to continue saying that all heavy things sink if not all of them do.

And the other problem is, like I said, people trusting this "scientific research" because it is just that (in their eyes, at least), including the woman who wrote the article I linked to. This causes a great number of problems that are involved with believing these stereotypes. This is the very thing that causes any sort of anger or hatred against a particular group of people. This, of course, causes inequalities among the human race. In this case, it does for women more so than men. Why?

One big reason why is because people consider women to be biologically inferior, including other women. This encourages them to justify any sort of disproportionate treatment of women, such as leaving them at home to be housewives because they "can't handle the work environment like men, and are naturally homebodies regardless." But one of the worst atrocities in this country is the lower payroll that women receive on average, and this is for almost any job you go to. It's not just because women tend to have jobs that are lower in position than men do, since this happens with women who are in the same position as men as well. But what's the justification for this? Typically, the answer is, "Women are biologically inferior to men," or something along those lines. This is said regardless of women's overall job performance, even if it's better than men's. Check this website out for more info: http://www.womensmedia.com/new/Lips-Hilary-gender-wage-gap.shtml

Also interesting to note is that lawyers have been using women's premenstrual syndrome as a defense for their actions, as if women become savage beasts every time they're on PMS. Sadly, this argument has been working out for them so far: http://www.nytimes.com/1982/07/12/style/premenstrual-syndrome-a-complex-issue.html?sec=health

And it's not just a problem having to deal with work or economics otherwise. It's also a big social problem, particularly in relationships. The first article showed the popular book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, written by John Gray in 1992, which ultimately has separated the sexes more than it has brought them together. In part because of this book, people still to this day tend to claim things like, "Women complain about problems because they want their problems to be acknowledged, while men complain about problems because they are asking for solutions." Like neither party would ever want or take either side's point of view. Of course, John Gray admitted that what he was writing was about stereotypes, and shouldn't be applied to the individual. The problem is, most people have been doing that. Any time a generalization is made, that generalization will spread, and the people who have that generalization applied to them may actually adapt to that generalization. There is a Sociological theory that I want to name related to this very thing, but I can't remember the name. I'll update this post as soon as I find out the name.

Also interesting is the fact that women who serve in the military don't receive as much respect as men who serve: http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2009/12/14/3629959-back-from-combat-women-struggle-for-acceptance

Although most of the problems tend to fall upon the women, men also have their fair share of problems as well, though that's usually due to social stigma. From what I understand, just a few things that are part of the cultural norms for men are not being allowed to express their emotions (otherwise, they're gay, and that's a bad thing), they're told not to wear skirts or makeup (unless you live in the 1980s, of course), and they're told they're the ones that have to get a job and support the family, among various other things. This, of course, limits freedoms. For what reasons, I can't tell you, but one thing I can easily come up with is tradition (we've always done it, so let's keep on doing it), which is really more of an excuse than it is an argument.

This is obviously a serious problem, and that's why I find it so important to let people know about just how our traditional gender roles are breaking us apart. What gets to me most is that most people don't even recognize that they're accepting these stereotypes blindly. Please, don't fall down into the slippery slope on the way to hatred and bigotry. Accept people for who they are or who they want to be. This is necessary for America to be a free country.

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