Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Traditional Roles

Have you ever considered that the traditional male/female roles may have developed (organically) from physiological differences between men and women??  And have you ever considered for a moment that the whole women's movement, rightly aimed at giving women the same financial status as men, may have gone against the biological make-up of the female body and mind?

It's not a popular stance to take.  It may even seem wrong to even consider it.  But has the women's movement harmed women in ways that were not expected?

Recently I've seen a couple of media pieces cross my computer - both about women on the verge of killing themselves from work and family obligations:

1)  "Women on the Verge of Exhaustion" by Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-gender-ourselves/201403/women-the-verge-exhaustion


2)  "The Motherload" on CBC:

Let's not get too deep into the details here - what I want to do is encourage you to think about this.  So just a couple of things that come to mind:  Women are biologically designed to take care of their families.  We are designed to grow little people - we have no control over that, and it takes a lot of energy to create a person (something we really shouldn't be doing while we are working 40-60 hours per week). Our bodies are designed to feed them for the next several years of their lives (and, no, we probably shouldn't be weaning our children at one year old or less).  We have traditionally expanded this role beyond breast feeding and fed our families with other skills as well - gathering, storing, preserving, preparing food - something often done in groups and with cooperation.  We don't sleep well because we have evolved to listen for our children at night if they need us (men sleep better).  We have evolved to work together and keep conflict to a minimum (men evolved to hunt - a skill based in conflict).

So women, feeling like minor players in a world where the monetary economy is primary, fought for economic equality with men (something that is still not there more than 40 years after the start of the women's movement - things are "better", but not equal).  We have tried to prove that we could do all the things that men could do.  Why?  Because men's roles were seen as more important than women's roles.  After all, they made the money.  The work women did could be bought and paid for with money - so why not go out and chase the dollar and pay someone else to raise the children, cook, and clean?  All of this went against what our bodies evolved to do - create and sustain families.  We don't sleep well, we don't do conflict well, we have to take time off to create families - all things that men generally don't need to deal with.

It has been shown over and over again that women now work as hard as men, don't make as much money, and still come home and do most of the household work as well.  And they tend to do the majority of the work raising the children.

I see two harmful patterns here - the women are over-worked, over-stressed, and killing themselves - and men are devalued.

The way to fix all of this?  Not sure we can, because now our lifestyles demand two incomes - but if we wanted to fix it, if we truly wanted to see more balance and help people's psyches?  Well, start valuing the traditional female roles again.  Start valuing home made food (there is certainly a movement out there for that - and it doesn't matter if a man or a woman does it).  Start valuing the role of the parent who is at home to spend time with their child (it is SO important for children to have time with their parents).  Start valuing a comfortable home.  And stop valuing all the extra "stuff" that a second income brings.

I see this movement happening.  I see it coming.  But it is certainly a reversal from what I grew up with in the '70s and '80s.

See Part 2 written the day after this post.

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