Who do you talk to when you are feeling depressed? The average person would probably go to their friends or family first—often times their mother is an easy fall back option. But why not their father? Of course, maternal roles exist because females are the only ones capable of giving birth, but that is disproportionate to the amount of care that is thrust upon women nowadays. The stereotypes of caregiver and hyper emotional are put upon women in the attempt to keep them down in society.
I have no doubt that many women would describe themselves as emotional, and I have no doubt that many men would refuse to be described the same way. For whatever reason, we have associated emotional displays with the weakness, and then characterized this as a solely female aspect. Many people I know would blame this on our ancestors—women were the gatherers, and they had the luxury of being able to show no fear. Men, of course, were the hunters, and therefore had to be cold and unfeeling in order to maximize their abilities as hunters. They would say that it is engrained in our biology. Even if we assume that were true, we also live in an era in which we (in most industrialized countries) do not have to hunt for our food. Men and women both form social cliques, hence the phrases “girls night out” and “the man cave.” The most work we have to do for food besides paying for it is cooking and cleaning, which rarely endangers a person in a way that they cannot control. I suppose it could be argued that anyone who grows or raises their food still has to put a little more work in, but often times that is a choice, rather than a necessity.
Regardless, in the majority of circumstances, men no longer are required to be as hard edged as the rest of the world requires them to be, and women no longer have to be the only ones to show their emotions. We all have emotions. Likewise, women are no longer the only ones at the house to take care of the children. Sure, it’s traditional for the women to stay home and raise the kids, but it isn’t a requirement anymore. More and more women are entering the higher-level professional careers (though not nearly as many as there should be, as noted in my previous blog posts), which means more and more often they cannot stay home to take care of the kids. Just today I spoke with a woman who was telling me about how she didn’t want to choose between her ability to succeed and having children. Now, I will talk about the morality of that statement at a later time, but it’s true. A woman shouldn’t be required to watch the children while her partner succeeds. Especially not if she is more capable or more qualified than he is.
This caregiver stereotype goes further than just the household though. It is also part of why women typically are youth teachers or secretaries, or any other position of similar involvement with people. Each of these positions require being able to deal with people in a polite and well balanced manner. So maybe we have more polite and balance women than men, and maybe that’s a general reason we describe women as “nice” or “sweet,” which isn’t all negative. Unfortunately, it also makes us take women less seriously. Which destroys any hope for a woman to move up in the world.