There’s a quote floating around on social media that I’ve seen one too many times. So I’m going to rant about it, because with so much stupid shit floating around in the world, that’s become my coping mechanism. Let’s go…
Here’s the quote:
Let’s dissect this. The first part I want to address is: “Our generation is becoming so busy, trying to prove that women can do what men can do”
This is missing the point of feminism. A big part of the modern feminist movement is about giving both women and men the choice to pursue the things they want and to be the people they want to be, regardless of gender roles. In a truly equal society, women wouldn’t feel the need to prove that they can do the same things as men, they would just do whatever they want. Until then, women will feel like they must prove themselves in jobs that have historically been dominated by men, while men will still feel out of place in jobs that are considered traditionally feminine.
It’s not about trying to prove that women can do the same things as men, it’s about giving them the choice to pursue their dreams, regardless of what is considered traditionally feminine.
And now for the next part: “…that women are losing their uniqueness”
There is nothing unique about traditional gender roles. What makes women and men unique is diversity in thought, passions, hobbies, and beliefs. When you tell women and men that they must fit into the confines of traditional femininity or masculinity, you are limiting the scope of diversity. You are taking away the very uniqueness you claim to want to protect.
If all women were nurturing, gentle, sensitive, meek, and filled the traditional female role fully, they would not be unique. They would be subscribing to a way of being that has been assigned to them by society. This isn’t to say that women shouldn’t be these things, but that they shouldn’t be required to appear a certain way to retain what this quote calls “uniqueness.”
Things like strength, courage, independence, leadership, and assertiveness are not the sole domain of men. Sensitivity, compassion, empathy, and humility are also not just traits that belong to women. Limiting the scope of what people can and cannot be based on their gender is a direct assault on uniqueness.
And lastly, “Women weren’t created to do everything men can do. Women were created to do everything men can’t do”
Even disregarding the religious aspect (whether or not women and men were “created” at all or for a specific purpose), this statement is flawed. A woman who is strong, assertive, and a good leader is not in danger of losing her femininity, just as a man who is caring, compassionate, and sensitive does not risk losing his masculinity. Gender roles are a social construct. There’s no need to compartmentalize traits that are beneficial to both men and women.
Men can be sensitive and strong. Women can be assertive and compassionate. I don’t care what any religious book says, it makes NO logical sense to take positive traits and divide them between the sexes. Men and women shouldn’t have to choose between being seen as masculine or feminine, and should instead be seen by the value of their actions.
In conclusion, this quote is crap. It preys on the fear of progress, because with the demolition of gender roles comes the loss of distinction between men and women, which is scary to some people. But the truth is, gender roles are not important. Fitting into a mold assigned to you from birth is not noble or courageous. But doing what makes you happy, weather or not that fits into a traditional role, while fighting for other’s right to choose, IS.