Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Roles with the Changes

I am going to talk about gender roles.  It is mostly a male perspective, because I am male.  I know we live in a male dominated world.  I am not claiming any misandry in our society.  I am not taking away from the struggles that women have in our society.  The disparity and the issues they face, because of this are not to be ignored.  What I am discussing is the toxic nature of the binary gender roles we have in our culture.  The general public makes assumptions about gender and sexual orientation based on how people fit into the binary equation.  One small problem, the universe and people do not fit easily into a binary equation.  Let’s get to the discussion.

I have experienced much when it is comes to breaking gender stereotypes.  I have been accused of having too many Stereotypical feminine traits.  I am a bit of a Nurturer, Emotional and Moody at times.  Some of the folks who have accused me were in glass houses. People assume that some of these traits found in men automatically makes that person Homosexual or Transgendered, but anything other than Heterosexual.  That is seriously bull manure.  Recently a young man who was a My Little Pony fan attempted suicide after constant bullying.  It is sad people cannot live and let live.  Why does it seem that other people’s lives invalidate the lives of others?  That is the attitude I see in the media.  They believe a gay marriage invalidates a straight one if it is allowed.  If people do not follow the socially prescribed gender, ethnic and religious roles and/or stereotypes the whole world would be thrown into anarchy.

Gender role issues are large concern and I know I will never solve it by myself.  Many men who break the roles are treated by our society badly.  Men who are Nannies and Nurses typically get guff for being in a profession stereotypically female.  Male Nurses are asked why they are not Doctors.  Male Nannies are suspect for wanting to be around small children, the inference is creepy.  I worked as an In Home Caregiver myself.  If it was not for the fact I was in a relationship with the one I was taking care of, I believe I would have been given some flack.  Males can nurture.  I grew up in Southern California in the 1970’s to mid 1980’s; the attitudes about gender roles there were more progressive.  In 1985 I moved to small town Oregon.  I had a class where we did the whole mock marriage and egg baby assignment.  My partner was so traditional that when I told her I enjoyed cooking, she told me that a man does not belong in a kitchen.  I had not experienced this before.  Since then the idea of the domestically gifted male is more acceptable.  The opposite side of this double standard is that strong career women are perceived by society at large as ambitious cold bitches.  Also if a woman does not want kids it is assumed that there is something wrong with them.  Not everyone one is built the same way.  We need to allow people to be who they are, without judgment. 

 Male survivors of domestic abuse are treated like they are less masculine for “allowing” the abuse. I myself was told by people why did I put up with that from a woman with my own situation.  Most of the attitudes I was getting was during the abuse, I have not received as much crap since I left.  I also have been careful with who I surround myself with.  I believe that some of the people who were threatened by my situation were male abusers themselves.  That does not mean that our society does not give male survivors of domestic abuse any slack.  I am not trying to take away from the challenges of women who are abused.  They have their own issues in our society.  We need to help anyone in an abusive relationship get help, regardless of who they are.   

Another gender role issue I have seen regards child sexual abuse.  If the abuser is male and his prey is female, our society can deal with that.  If both the abuser and prey are male, they can deal with it, but not as well as the first scenario.  If the Abuser is female, our society just cannot get it head around it.  Many Male survivors of female abusers are told they got lucky.  That it was normal.  It is abuse, the same if the genders were in reverse.  It is an adult taking advantage of a child and introducing then to something they are not physically, emotionally and psychologically prepared for.  I use the term prey; because that is what sexual abusers do they prey on children.  I am not comfortable with the word victim and the word survivor gets overused too.  Males who have female abusers are made to feel they want it by the abuser and society.  That they are weak, because they just cannot bounce back.  Some are made to feel that they are ungrateful for rejecting something that is a fantasy for some.  I may be wrong; these feelings come from personal experience.

Double standards are pervasive in this society.  Recently Paul Dini and Kevin Smith talked about how Network and Advertising Executives do not see girls as a viable market.  They do not buy toys.  They are not worth the time to cater to.  I have seen female superhero characters sell out in various stores.  The problem is the stores or manufacturers do not stock or make enough for demand.  Toys marketed for Girls are stuck with the whole stereotypical female gender roles.  Building toys, vehicles, athletics, action toys are not marketed to them.  For every Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Black Widow and Powerpuff Girls there are half a dozen Barbies, Bratz, Princesses and so on.  Boys are also excluded from any toy that promotes cooking and nurturing.  The Cooking part is changing.  Dolls, princesses, My Little Pony and the like for boys are highly discouraged.  As a young boy I wanted to play with dolls and have a play kitchen.  The dolls part was highly discouraged by many people in and out of my family.   

We need to encourage kids to go with their strengths.  An A type personality girl that likes building and superheroes should be encouraged.  Boys that want to be princesses or cook or ponies should be encouraged.  Shaming people to fit the same old cookie cutter ideal is garbage.  Gay, Straight, Transgendered be who you are and wish to be stop trying to fit others’ expectations.  Blur the lines if it suits you.  For me a lot of the stereotypical feminine stuff is not for me.  Don’t put girls in a pink ghetto or deprive boys of that possible expression.  To paraphrase Chuck Berry form My Ding-A-Ling, be what you want to be and live the way you want to live. 

I will admit most of this is from my personal perspective.  It is what I know.  I also know compared to the typical female in our society, the issues I have seen in regards to a double standard are nowhere near the severity.  The other thing I have to offer is my perspective, which is not the typical white heterosexual male one either.  I am not trying to take away from anyone’s struggle.  I am just trying to shed light on some struggles we do not hear much about.  That Is My Not So Humble Opinion.

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