We are back! Hope you all had a good weekend. Today I wanted to open up a discussion about gender roles in society, and how it categorizes us. I think it is reasonable to start with women because this group is significantly more disrupted by their gender roles in society than men are, as well as significantly more outspoken about their issues (this does not make their issues of less value, by the way. Just because someone is willing to say they have a problem does not make them a complainer). The obvious gender roles of women are as follows: passive, subordinate, physically appealing, emotional, caregivers, and incapable.
To begin, I would like to discuss the roles of passive and subordinate. They are quite clear, as anyone can perceive. The man has, historically, been the breadwinner, while the woman is generally his supporter. Even in when this is spun in a positive light, the stereotype still exists. Take Hermione from the Harry Potter series. Brilliant, but she’s not exactly the go-getter that Harry is. And she definitely isn’t the hero of the story—I mean it’s titled Harry Potter. Another cult of adoration is for the many partners of The Doctor in Doctor Who. They are always intelligent, and often times are even are the more forward member of the male-female partnership. But they are not The Doctor. And when The Doctor loses a companion, or is abandoned, he quickly moves on to the next one. Thus, through these allegories of our global “appreciation” for women, we have pigeonholed women to mere roles of “assistant” and “secretary” rather than “CEO” or “owner.”
I realize that these are fictitious, sci-fi stories, and both of which are technically British works in their own respects, but our cultures are not too different. They are close enough to where there is a massive following and even references to these works in American popular culture. Seriously, here’s a list of several Doctor Who references in television:
This role of subordination is one of the features that has persisted throughout the multiple feminist movements, and while we certainly are better off than we were, say, a hundred years ago, we still have quite a ways to go.
Passiveness is definitely something that goes along with subordination, but I think it is something that we have made more strides in. Mostly because it is not society that stops being passive, it is the women within those societies. Simply speaking up and going against the grain is the opposite of passive. Unfortunately, we have quite a feel people that still promote the idea of the silent women. Trump is the best example I can think of for this idea, but in general the use of the word “bitch” to describe a woman who speaks out is akin with these ideas. It is no doubt a latent reason why so many people are against Hillary Clinton in the race—because she speaks out just like any other candidate. Yet because she is a woman, she is treated differently for it.