Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the "women can be men, too" movement.

The other morning I read an article about how women have this innate need to rely on men. The article explained that back in our cave-dwelling days, women sought out men who were big enough to protect them and who had enough social status to bring their own social status up. Additionally, the men would find a women who was most capable of bringing him a son and he would guard and protect that woman so she never had a chance to stray because it was a huge dishonor for him to be made to raise another man's child.

The article went on to explain how this set the stage for gender roles throughout the ages. The man is the bread-winner and protector, the woman is responsible for the bearing of children. Today, there are still many people who align their lives with those traditional gender roles, there are others who don't have the opportunity to fill those roles, and there are those who fight against those gender roles. 

Women, by genetic design, are generally smaller and weaker than men. That's why they seek a man who can protect them. Men, by genetic design, are unable to give birth to children. That's why they seek a woman who is capable of that task. 

Do you see the pattern here? Genetically, we have different strengths and abilities. 

Women, of course, are highly capable and intelligent. I would submit that that's genetic, too. Men are also highly capable and intelligent. Today, both genders can vote, can get educations, and can be successful in business and careers. I love this. 

I love when women choose to further their education, when they embrace their talents, when they strive for high levels of success. I love men who care deeply about their families, who tenderly embrace an injured child, who will sit and play barbies because their niece begged them too. 

But no matter how caring and nurturing a man has the ability to be, he still cannot give birth to a child. So, doesn't that kind of stink for men? We've progressed our society to the point that women are capable and allowed to do everything a man can do, and many women can be better than men at a lot of tasks that traditionally have belonged to men. But men can never experience the joy and pain of pregnancy. 

Maybe this seems unfair? Maybe not. 

I've seen and read a lot of information on feminism. The ultimate goal is to establish equality in education and employment. Equality is such an interesting concept to me. Similar words: sameness, uniformity. It seems to me that until men are able to have children, there will never be a true sameness or equality between men and women. Am I right? I picture equality as a giant balance scale. Men are on one side of the beam, women on the other. So, we all know how a scale works, right? If you want the things on each side of the beam to be balanced (or equal) you either have to add or take away from one side. 

Over the years, we've added many business and education opportunities for women. That will bring them up a notch. Women also gained the ability to vote, so that brings them up again. Now, let's think about what's happening on the other side of the scale. As one side goes up, the other side moves down. But how? We're not taking anything away from them, merely adding to the women's side. 

I won't drag out the scale analogy because I think you get my point. There is never going to be a balance between men and women. We will never reach equality. Because, guess what, we are different. Yet, somehow, much of society has this need to advance the opportunities for women, without caring what effect that will have on men. 

If women have value as child bearers and receive additional value in their employment successes, that's not really a bad thing, right? But then what happens for men? Suddenly, their abilities and their role as bread-winner looses it's value because a woman could do the same thing. And suddenly, all success in life is career-based and the importance of childbearing and homemaking has lost it's value.

Yes, men have strengths beyond being breadwinners. I absolutely believe men can be very nurturing, great fathers. Many of them are probably way better at doing laundry than I am. But if women are suddenly so equal as breadwinners, does that make it less rewarding of a role for men? I don't want to point fingers or state this as fact, because I don't know. I genuinely want to know: Do you think that women having the ability to be breadwinners lessens the respect for men who are? And do you think we're losing the value/importance of childbearing and homemaking in society?

The truth is: men and women ARE different. Everyone is different. We all have different strengths and abilities for a purpose. Together, we can all do great things. But if we are equal and doing all the same things, suddenly nobody is unique or talented or gets the opportunity to serve someone else with what they can do that the other person can't. I think gender roles are less about "having the right" to do everything a man/woman can do and more about embracing our best selves and our talents and using those to best progress our lives and bless those around us. 

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