Sexual Equality in the 21st century

I was thinking about the possibility of having a daugther today. Mostly about the wonderful and the awful things about giving birth to someone that will have all the same struggles as I did/do as a female. Honestly, though, I came to realize that I actually think it's pretty kick-ass to be a woman, and probably never more than it is right now, in our time.

I mean, lets just start with the wonderful things about being a girl in general. The ability to multi-task for starters. No one will ever convince me that men can think 2 things at once, let alone DO 2 things at once. High heels. Love 'em. Our awesome awesome bodies, which are not only more beautiful than the male form but more wonderous. We can grow and feed a baby. This will never cease to amaze me. And there is also our range of emotions. Josh counts this as the number 1 reason that he would never want to be a woman. He often likes to say that I go thru more varied emotions during the watching of a single movie than he does in a year. I would never have it any other way, though.

Then there are the great things about being a girl right now, during the 21st century. We really can do everything. Granted, the work/home balance sucks, but I really dont think that's societies fault as much as just the plain fact that you cant be 100% at work and 100% at home and that is what women want. So I will quickly re-state that. We really CAN do everything, just not all at once. You can choose, though, to stay home with your kids and be the homemaker. You can choose to work. You can choose to do one, and then the other and in whichever order you want.

And then there's all that fine equality we've got going on. We can wear whatever we want. Pants, skirts, flats, heels. What clothing is off limits? We can play any sport, we can go into any proffessional field. Women are more likely to go to college these days, more likely to get a doctorate, than men.

I think I worry more, as far as gender-specific pressures go, about Zeke. It's kind of a lame time to be a man. The work/home balance: it sucks even more for guys. While the stigma against the working mother is all but dissapearing there is still a MAJOR stigma present for stay at home dads, it's always assumed that the stay-at-home father couldnt support his family or is lazy. They also have a lot less ability and social acceptance to work part time in order to spend more time with the kids. A woman that takes that option isnt looked at twice. A man?

Plus, when little girls want to play sports and climb trees and have science kits, well they are called “tom-boys” and it's just adorable and wonderful. But a little boy that wants to play barbies and own a make-up kit or go into ballet...well people don't find it so cute. I've even gotten comments about Zeke, whom I don't personally believe is particularly feminine, and his love for cleaning/cooking/all things make-up. “When will he grow out of it?" or "When will I start discouraging it?" My answer: I truly hope never.

Dont get me wrong, I love the equality women have these days, I love the programs to help young women go into fields like science and math where we typically struggle. I just wish we had similar programs for boys too, maybe in literature or other subjects boys tend to lag in. I wish that there could be some socially accepted “jane-girls” out there, that little boys could wear a dress and lipstick as freely as their sisters put on football jerseys and roll in mud.

Equality is supposed to go both ways, isnt it?


Kay said...

I completely agree! I was talking with my father a few weeks ago about young couples hesitating to have children, and we both agreed that there's a lot of societal pressure on women in terms of what home/work choices that make that's hard to deal with. But I also pointed out that a lot of men in our generation aren't sure what kind of parents to be either. If they work all the time, they're absent fathers, and that's bad. But if they stay home, they're lazy, and that's bad too. And so many of them don't have role models for father who were active in their lives the same way girls have for mothers who worked really hard to find that work/home balance.

It makes me feel bad for the menfolk.

Melissa aka Equidae said...

I completely agree with you and no matter what people belive I will always say that there isn't equality! not really and not ever!

Jen said...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading this one. Thanks for pointing out the bright sides of being a woman. I think I, like Little Josh, sometimes forget that having a range of emotions is a good thing.
I agree that equality isn't very equal, but I don't think it ever will be. The best we can do is live our lives to the fullest we can without caring what other people think.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful new picture of you Courtney.
Loved your thoughts of equality. God designed males and females in His perfect plan. Sometimes we get it all mixed up in our fallen world but for the most part I believe males and females live, feel and react as God intended. I love you.

Trish the dish said...

I totally see your point. I am a little more traditional with the gender role thing. Not that I think everyone has to be exactly like me though. But I went to college and learned a lot, got a degree, but I just want to be a mother for a while. Maybe when my kids are older and more independent then I'll work more.
I agree about boys having more stigmas on them these days. There is so much "gay fear"- like they won't do something too associated with the opposite sex because they are afraid of what other people will think and say about them. I kind of think that some guys think they are gay because of the social pressures and things people say about what they are interested in. If people weren't so judgmental of boys/men in this way then they'd probably be even more comfortable in their own skin.