A Spin on Gender Roles

He Said: Anthony Mattariello 

Normally I would be writing to you about something inconsequential. Something like what a long sandwich should be called or whether or not the mullet should still be an acceptable hairstyle, which it should.

However, this week the lovely lady to my left would like to talk about something much more serious, gender roles.

The roles of women in society are something I, probably most men as well, don’t like to talk about because most of the time it ends with us getting slapped and called a sexist.

Yet, here I am.

Although men and women seem to find a way to live in harmony, the roles each of us play in society have forever been a hot topic.

Throughout history men and women were given certain roles.

For example, from the beginning of
mankind, men would be given the role of hunters and gatherers while women would care for the home and children.

Today, women are preaching that men get better jobs mostly because of this outdated stereotype. Some women even go as far as to say that there is no gender equality, that men run this world.

Just because men have a larger percentage of getting hired doesn’t mean that the world is sexist.

If I write a bad article it’s a lot easier to blame the pen that I wrote with, than to say I wrote a bad article.

Personally, what I think some women forget is that equality amongst all humans means that we are all given the same opportunity, not that we all have the same jobs or the same salary.

As a little boy, gender roles made no difference to me. In elementary school I would play tag with you, whether you were a boy or a girl.

It wasn’t until high school that the idea of women having specific roles was put into my head.

I attended an all boys catholic high school. Here is where the idea of women being subordinate to men got blasted in my face.

Whether it was English class, Religion class, or even Spanish class, the subject of women not being equal always came up. Ironically, every teacher I had was a woman.

It was as if these teachers banded together and planned to make a bunch of self-hating men support radical feminism. Well, after four years of learning how to hate myself, I finally left that school only to come to a university that seems to do the same thing.

The only difference here is that there are entire courses dedicated to gender
inequality.

For example, my freshmen seminar, a course I was required to take and couldn’t choose, was in fact about gender inequality.

I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be considered unequal but I think its about time that I stop being forced to feel like a piece of s*** just because I’m a man.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like Bruce Jennering this s*** and calling it a day.

In conclusion, I just want to be serious for a moment and say that I think this country has taken individuality to an extreme level.

If women want to have certain jobs than they should be able to try their hardest to get them.

However, sometimes people need to take on certain roles for the greater good. This goes for men as well. If the man needs to stay at home while his wife works, then that’s what needs to happen.    

She Said: Giovanna Gatto

Growing up with four eyes still did not help me find the gender norms that I was constantly breaking. As a child I roughed in the dirt, I kicked butt as a martial artist and I had no idea I was filing into a mans world.

As a infant I was named after my father, John. (Giovanna is the female version of the Italian name Giovanni which translates to John).

So even as a child I was pushed to abide to a male context. In the third grade my teacher refused to refer to me as anything but Giovanni. My prepubescent heart struggled to understand why my classmates would laugh at this mistake. It seemed trivial to care about the gender of a name.

This was the same year I enrolled myself in martial arts, broken my arm within the first week and then went back to earn two black belts over the next ten years.

Gender roles were never something I understood. As a kid I was fascinated by martial arts, so I signed up. One of my best friends was a boy who loved climbing trees and playing outside, so I did too. It never occurred to me that girls took dance classes and put makeup on.

This was not something that was pushed onto me. In fact, my dad is the one who enjoys cooking and cleaning. He even had his own garden that I would help tend to.

As a high schooler, gender norms slapped me in the face. I attended an all girls academy where girl power was preached and feminist hearts roared.

However, again I could not understand a need to create two columns where men and women were separated.

Gender roles are not an ancient concept. They have developed over time as a way to place a line between the purposes of men and women. Cleopatra had men kissing at her feet as she ruled an empire, but during the industrial revolution women were pushed towards domestic responsibility.

Today our world still bickers over where men and women should file in. Personally, I believe there should be no filing cabinet. I am not writing to abolish gender or to exterminate an identity. What I am trying to say is that the line between man and woman should be blurred.

If a woman wants to be a mechanic then she should be a mechanic. Now, I know there is no written law saying that she cannot be a mechanic. Yet, social norms make it hard to be taken seriously as a man or woman in a contradictory field.

For a personal reference, I am a proud Sacred Heart Factory employee. When I was first hired to work in the IT department, there were only five other female student workers out of 30. Again, this ratio did not even cross my mind. I thought computers were cool. So I applied for the job. The math was easy in my head. I liked something, so I did it. There was never a consideration of gender roles or norms and there never should be.

Still not sold? NFL players have been known to take ballet as a way to strengthen their muscles and refine their footwork.

Despite celebrities pushing boundaries like Jaden Smith who sports a skirt when he feels like it, there are still problems with acceptance, creating a need for
clarity in our world.

However, this clarity is not something we should need anymore. I think the difference between men and women is pretty easy to understand. Yet, for some reason we are left creating gender only products that just are not necessary.

For example, the company Bic has a specialized pen only for women. Now you can try and tell me that it fits a woman’s hand better or it is specifically designed for the grip of a woman, but that might not apply to all women.

This is the 21st century and our world should be praising individuality. We should not be telling each other where we should stand based on gender roles. My naive child heart cries as I try to bring this change.

Whether you are a girl or a boy, kick butt at whatever you choose to do. Men should wear makeup and women should fix cars because ultimately it does not matter. There should be no line of division but instead a box of inclusion where we celebrate gender as as advancement in our social society.

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