This article is about our incoherent view on gender roles and the mutual struggle of both genders
I have one question about human beings and that simply stated is, why do we rebel against an oppressive system and then implement another oppressive system. For the men out there you may want to read on, this is not another male beating session just because the “I” in this context is a woman.
My favourite question has always been why but a smart man once told me that the pathway in is not always the pathway out. If only it was as simple as that, for human beings to stop repeating the same mistakes, in short I revision the question to how.
For me this article is about the issues facing woman and men, uniquely and independently. I see a problem for both sides and I wonder if that is the beginning and the end of the problem. Surveying the past we see varying approaches that people have taken regarding gender roles.
Being a single woman with two children I have walked a chapter in my life - a passage of self doubt - this probably a legacy of the forma patriarchal system which though now fragmented, still thrives in some sections of the South African society. When I felt withered and ashamed from my lot in life as is a common symptom of an excessive desire to please, I really shouted down the forma views of woman and cheered our grandmothers that burned their bras in the streets, that I may have the opportunity to enter the work place and feed my children.
What I have come to believe is that our lives as people, men and woman, black or white or for whatever differences we may have, we are in some ways deeply connected. The reality as I see it is you cannot hurt one part without hurting the other and I truly wish we would realise as much, that society would shift their thinking. I think we all know what the problems are but for a brief -selfishness, power, greed, control - I won’t bother with that too much I think we know what the problem is and the problem is we don’t have a solution. Not one we can visualise or perceive in a tangible way.
Let’s think of the men and boys for a moment, is it only woman who suffer in the entangled world of apposing pressures or do we have a concern for our sons. There is a grave concern for one, the oppressive image of the “boys don’t cry” conditioning that leads both woman and men to believe that men are differently wired emotionally. Even though research shows that men and woman exhibit the same biological responses to emotional events. Is it possible that the excessive alcohol abuse often associated with men (though not uniquely) could be an escape from the internal pressure of emotions trying to bubble out.
Our boys, girls, men and woman are all struggling and I could discuss this at length. In this internet link it discusses how boys are struggling with poor role modelling in schools which effects academic performance. In the work place we hear of woman trying to be men probably as a result of so few authentically woman leaders. This is the tragedy for all men, all woman and all race, nature and culture. I would go so far to say that hatred is reaching epidemic proportions.
If I hear one more person talk about equality with reference to the sexes, I might just scream irrespective of which way the argument goes. I see no relevance to the question of equality, we are not all equal, we are all different and in the same breath I say that the point is that no one is better than another, not for money, status, achievement, virtues or any of the variations we have of either good health or sickness, as I see it.
The human race would not continue if either sex dropped off the edge of the world and that is the reality. Creation of new life in a human context begins with the sum of two unequal parts. Marriage not in the sense of a contract but in the sense of an earnest commitment to one another is still one of the single most fulfilling possibilities for us to enjoy.
The hope I intend to leave in this article is that we may all live to our full potentials, nourishing and enriching each other’s lives as we seek the un-trodden path forward. That we venture into unknown territory and make and create something beautiful and that we rediscover the most profound power inherent in all of us, love.