In this issue of Ceres, we have tried to understand through history the motive behind this “gender role” where the man is supposed to be the breadwinner, and the woman his companion who supports him and raises the children. We have learned that our prehistoric ancestors did not follow these "traditional" roles as both males and females contributed to providing food. Men, being stronger, were hunters, while women, having also to care for the offspring, were gatherers. This equalitarian model has survived in some Oceanian, Asian, African hunter/gathering cultures where the concept of gender is nonexistent.
We know that, beside our physiology, men and women are alike with sensible differences in the way we perceive the world. But this notion is also questionable as the transgender population has shown that this male/female designation is not set in stone either. The beauty of gender reinvention is the variations in masculine or
feminine interpretation of oneself.
We have reexamined the age old question: “Can we do and be good at the same job?” Rosie The Riveter has already proven that! Nevertheless, women still have to fight to be recognized in fields that are male territories. Women can do men’s job, but men can do women’s job as well. After the last recession, though it wasn’t the only catalyst as this has been happening for decades now, role reversion has become more obvious. When a lot of men lost their jobs, the women became the sole breadwinners. More fathers are now involved in raising the kids and in household chores while their wives are at work.
Then why must women continue to fight for those basic rights? Traditions, beliefs and habits die hard! For so long, men have taken charge, conquered and dominated civilizations through
war, religion, and oppression, and made it a world where women were looked upon as a sexual reward. These backward views have endured in many eastern countries where the enslavement of women is perpetuated.
Although it is fair to say that women have gained more freedom all over the world, there are some societies where prejudice persists. Women can be “punished,” beaten, tortured, killed as a means to spread fear among the female population, and as a reminder of their status as a husband or father’s property. However, we don’t have to look that far to find the same prejudice in our own backyard. Women of lower classes are more likely to become victims of domestic violence, or just pressured to be
Being a woman has never been easy, even in today's western society, where we have so much more freedom and rights than ever before. It is often a hassle to constantly have to justify our choices, to prove ourselves, and to work harder to be worthy of a raise or a promotion. Gender discrimination persists, and it dictates every facet of our lives. Though the role of women in society has shifted over the millennia, a balance between genders has not been achieved yet. Disparity in wages is the main argument highlighting inequality. But it is not the only example we could bring up to demonstrate that women are still considered inferior to men.
Reflection by Lands of Void.
74 | Ceres Magazine | Fall 2016