Sep 212003
 
Authors: J.J. Babb

When did we come to this place in society where a man can no longer be chauvinistic without being considered domineering, and a woman can’t want to be taken care of without being a “bare-foot-and-pregnant house wife?”

When did we come to this place where a man can not stay at home with his children and not be called “whipped,” and a woman can’t climb the corporate latter without being labeled a “witch?”

It’s been over two decades since women started entering the workforce at greater numbers than ever, and thus essentially reached equality. Yet, we still struggle to overcome remaining gender-based biases, and continue to force men into stereotypes.

Today’s men have the choice of being controlling or being inconsiderate. To be chauvinistic and take care of a woman, a man is labeled controlling. Yet, the second he stops being helpful he becomes inconsiderate or “too politically correct.”

I noticed this in my own attitudes last Friday. I had a flat tire and was putting the spare on in my driveway when my roommate’s boyfriend offered to help. My first impression was disgust as I thought to myself, “So just because I’m a girl he thinks I can’t do it myself? Is he that controlling?” Yet the longer I thought about it, all he was doing was being polite, not controlling and not an egotistical jerk.

This double-edged sword is why I would not want to be a man today. The second a man asks a woman on a date, he may offend her by not letting her be independent. Yet, he may wait for her to make a first move and she might be waiting for him to make an advance.

Some women still relish in the chauvinistic ways. Some of us still want to be cared for and paid for. I am not saying things should not be equal, but there are those women out there, including myself, who still likes dinner bought occasionally, flowers and doors opened.

We call these women old-fashioned. In fact I am often labeled with this term because I hope to stay at home with my children. Yes, I want to be a stay-at-home mom. This is “old-fashioned,” because now that we, as women, have equal rights we feel we should take society up on this great offer and make something out of ourselves. Well, don’t worry– I plan to. Unfortunately, the man I marry may be looked at as controlling. People already ask me, (kidding, with a ring of truth) “So he wants you to be in the kitchen bare foot and pregnant?”

Why is he seen as controlling and domineering because I want to stay at home with my family? Isn’t that part of the feminist movement — the option to have choices, including the choice to stay at home?

Maybe now we shouldn’t focus so much on women’s movements. Maybe we should instead spend our time on gender movements. Neither gender should be forced into stereotypes and thus have less choices. Men should be able to stay at home and/or buy dinner without being whipped or controlling. Women should be able to be president of a company and/or cook dinner without being a witch or domineered.

Once a woman can stay home with her children without being questioned about her motives, and once a man can open the door and buy dinner for a women, with out being controlling, we may be one step closer to gender equality.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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