Traditional male gender roles

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    Dec 06, 2012 1:34 AM GMT
    For the past few decades, there's been an effort to socially abolish traditional gender roles. We've made great strides with respect to freeing women from the oppressive gender roles that they have faced. Women now make up over half the work force and are earning most of the higher education diplomas. And while there may still be a ways left to go, what about men and freeing them from traditional male roles?

    The traditional male gender role has been that of stoic protector and provider for women and children. True, women were once regarded as chattel for their husbands, but the other side of the picture usually gets omitted: men were regarded as beasts of burden. Men didn't just have the "right" to go to work and earn income - it was an obligation for them to go out and work to provide for his family. Simultaneously, it was men who were also expected to go to war and risk life and limb to protect their country. Men were, in essence, regarded as the disposable sex.

    And yet, what are we doing today to free men from these gender roles? Don't child support and alimony rulings from family courts only reinforce the traditional male role as provider? In the US, in order to have the right to vote, men (and not women) must register for selective service - doesn't this only reinforce the traditional role as protector? Doesn't the fact that most government programs render assistance to only women and child victims of rape and domestic violence only reinforce the notion that "real" men should just "man up" and take it?

    Do you guys think we as a society reinforce the traditional male role? Do you guys think gender roles and expectations should still exist?
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    Dec 06, 2012 5:00 AM GMT
    Not sure if this is a serious post or just a rant. If serious, the goal was never to free genders from stereotypical roles but rather to give women equal opportunity, pay, and choices.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 06, 2012 5:21 AM GMT
    i think anyone who participates in this discussion needs to have read judith butler and laura mulvey to be taken seriously
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    Dec 06, 2012 5:31 AM GMT
    Myol saidNot sure if this is a serious post or just a rant.


    It's a serious post, though I admit it was slightly rant-y.

    Myol said
    If serious, the goal was never to free genders from stereotypical roles


    I know quite a few feminists who would disagree with you. A major part of second-wave feminism was the idea that women should be able to forgo the traditional female role of housewife/homemaker in favor of a successful career, should they choose.

    Myol said
    but rather to give women equal opportunity, pay, and choices.


    Isn't giving women choices and opportunities outside the realm of housewife/homemaker not a form of freeing women from gender roles?
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    Dec 06, 2012 5:34 AM GMT
    calibro saidi think anyone who participates in this discussion needs to have read judith butler and laura mulvey to be taken seriously


    do the Mulleavy sisters count

    rodarte2.jpg
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    Dec 06, 2012 4:00 PM GMT
    Well if your intent is to build equality in standing then you wouldn't take the 'preferred entity' and give them more because then you would be defeating your purpose. You give the 'underdog' help to even the playing field. Yes, I'm sure there are times when the man is the underdog and might benefit from the help that is traditionally afforded the woman but if you provide that then can you truly achieve an equal playing field?

    I would think that the changes being made would need to address the issue and not the issue by a specific gender even though one gender may benefit more than the other simply due to society's gender roles currently accepted.

    From a society's stand point, I think they are viewing gender roles less and the lines are becoming more blurred as we see more stay at home dads, male nurses, female CEOs, etc. Roles traditionally gender specific are now becoming more accepted by both genders.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Dec 06, 2012 4:26 PM GMT
    Your feminist friends are having terminology confusion. The previous fights were for equality, not abolition of gender roles.

    Although it is more accepted to have a working mom and stay-at-home dad, it isn't the norm. What do we still teach our children? Girls get dolls, boys get cars. Girls get pink, boys get blue. Girls get dresses, boys get suits. Etc. Not many people are fighting for abolishon of gender roles. They are no longer rigid and confining, yet maintaining them gives society some structure.

    Not to mention that, like very, very few other things, gender roles is a cultural universal, seen literally everywhere on the globe. For a reason. Unless you think this is a good idea:

    http://www.thestar.com/parentcentral/babiespregnancy/babies/article/995112--parents-keep-child-s-gender-secret

    I'll leave you with a quote:
    "Feminism is the attempt to solve the problems of both genders by focusing on the problems of one". A bit narrow minded, don't you think?
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    Dec 06, 2012 5:25 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidWell if your intent is to build equality in standing then you wouldn't take the 'preferred entity' and give them more because then you would be defeating your purpose. You give the 'underdog' help to even the playing field. Yes, I'm sure there are times when the man is the underdog and might benefit from the help that is traditionally afforded the woman


    The current gender narrative would have us believe that men were uniformly privileged over women. I think it's an exaggerated and outdated premise. That women and had their issues and inequalities to overcome is absolutely true. But to paint men as the "preferred entity" without their own very real issues is to dismiss an entire perspective of history.

    eb925guy said
    but if you provide that then can you truly achieve an equal playing field?


    So an "equal" playing field involves denying one sex special protections that the other sex has? To me, the sounds like privilege based on sex - the very thing we're fighting to do away with. Let me ask you this: if you were in a physically abusive relationship with your male partner, where would you seek haven - besides a friend's place - when most domestic violence shelters only take women and children? They'll certainly take in the lesbian victim fleeing her abusive partner...but you? At worst, they'll kick you to the curb. At best, they'll probably give you the number and address for a hotel. That's not equality.

    eb925guy said
    I would think that the changes being made would need to address the issue and not the issue by a specific gender even though one gender may benefit more than the other simply due to society's gender roles currently accepted.


    Well this is where I have a problem with modern feminism, because it does exactly that: it seeks to bring about "equality" by focusing only on the inequalities of one gender. It completely ignores, minimizes, or even flat out denies that the other gender has its own serious issues to deal with. And yet, we have legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Act (instead of a, say, Violence Against People Act) being pushed in Cogress even though men are the overwhelming victims of homicide and suicide; and reliable studies show near gender symmetry in the perpetration of domestic violence.

    I'm not inclined to think that the feminist tagline of "Patriarchy hurts men, too" is an adequate way to deal with inequalities and issues men face.
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    Dec 06, 2012 5:51 PM GMT
    Medjai saidYour feminist friends are having terminology confusion. The previous fights were for equality, not abolition of gender roles.


    Well that's why I specified "Second-wave" feminism. As I understand it, "First-wave" feminism was about political equality - female suffrage, etc. But second-wave feminism began to move in the direction of deconstructing social norms for women, particularly housewives, with Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. Again, I'll put forth the argument that although a push to let women work outside the home wasn't necessarily a fight for the abolition of gender roles in name, it was a step in that direction in practice. Third-wave feminism that kicked off in the 90's is where the deconstruction of gender roles comes to prominence (see Judy Butler's work on gender performativity, etc.)

    Medjai said
    I'll leave you with a quote:
    "Feminism is e attempt to solve the problems of both genders by focusing on the problems of one". A bit narrow minded, don't you think?


    ^^ This.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Dec 06, 2012 6:09 PM GMT
    A lot of this is beyond my comment, but one thing strikes me. Alimony and child support may have something with traditional roles, but in at least one sense, the fact that a man has fathered a child does make him responsible and child support makes that a legal obligation. I can't say that I find that part objectionable.
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    Dec 06, 2012 6:40 PM GMT


    Edit: inb4 "lulz woman in the kitchen" jokes icon_wink.gif