Gender roles and its shenanigans!

Don’t judge the title, coming up with titles are ridiculously difficult!

Lately, it seems everyone has been going ballistic about gender roles. There is a certain “silent war” between Feminists (both male and female), “Meninists” (both male and female), and the younger and older generations, Men and Women, Religious/Believers and Unreligious/Unbelievers…the list is endless.

Before you ask me, I do not stick to one of these groups, at least not that I know of.

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Sometime ago, there was a clip floating on Facebook and other sites, of a very well known Nigerian Preacher. In that clip, he was quoted that women should not marry a jobless man and men should not marry a woman who cannot cook or pray in the spirit for an hour. People lost it! Some were out rightly calling him names, some were on his side, and some were in between, while some of us really did not and do not care!

I ask myself, “Why do gender roles cause so much ruckus?” According to hesperian.org, “Fulfilling the roles expected by the community can be satisfying and can give a woman a sense of belonging and success. But these roles can also limit a woman’s choices, and sometimes make her feel less valued than a man. When this happens, everyone-the woman herself, her family, and her community-suffers.” The problem highlighted in this sentence, is where I think the problems of gender roles lay.

I grew up in Nigeria. Nigeria is a culturally dynamic country, but there are some factors that cut across all the different cultures in the world. Some of those factors are: religion, gender roles, respect for elders and probably respect of the husband from the wife (not necessarily vice versa) and so on. These have existed for centuries in many countries, passed down from one generation to another, refined, modified, recalculated and presented in different forms. But one cannot deny the fact that gender roles are deeply rooted in the foundations of a lot of countries. It is the reason Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be nominated by her party to contest in the Presidential elections, it is the reason men still earn more than women in the same position (forbes.com), it is the reason people would say to a woman: “No matter how many degrees you earn, you’ll still end up in the kitchen!” or to a man: “you are the husband, you need to provide all the needs of the wife”, the reason a man would beat up his wife because she is “disrespectful” towards him, or “whatever I say in this house is final, I am your husband, you do what I say!”.

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On the other hand, I still believe in certain gender roles, please don’t have my head!I believe there is a reason we were created in different bodies and there is a reason those bodies cannot all do the same things naturally (I hear men can get pregnant and give birth now). When I say body, I mean everything inside and outside the body. From the mind, to the heart, to the physical reproductive organs and the bone structures-all of it! The only thing I blatantly refuse, is when one gender is deemed more important than the other-no, we’re all equal.

Life is set up in a way whereby one cannot be by one’s self. We all need the other person. To have the other person in your life, you have to love them and respect them the way you do yourself or you want to be done unto you, regardless of your age or gender- ha! The famous “Golden Rule”.

Lastly, a few things:

-I think a man should equally be able to pray in the spirit for an hour, if his woman can.

-A man should definitely not be jobless when ready for marriage; the same applies to a woman.

-A man should be able to whip up a meal for himself and his family and also help out at all times even if his wife is more than willing to be in the kitchen always.

-Men are not wired to cheat and women wired to be faithful. We are adults, we make our own decisions to cheat or not.

-Men are not the only ones that crave respect, women do too-as much as men, if not more- I know I do.

-Women are not the only ones that crave love and attention, men do too- as much as women.

-Women are not the ones to raise the children; the PARENTS are to raise the children.

-Men can still open doors for women and pay on a date, without thinking women are the “weaker gender”, loosen up, ladies!

-Women can still cook most of the time, without thinking she’s less than her husband and vice versa.

-Women are not the only ones who can be physically and sexually molested.

-Men are not the only ones who can get arrogant and dominant in relationships.

There are many more roles and misconceptions generally assigned to each gender, I say, take the role of the opposite gender and PLAY it like your life depends on it! It’ll make the world easier for each person.

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Finally, it is our duty as parents and the whole society (It takes a village to raise a child, right?), to not raise daughters based on these archaic beliefs and gender roles. It is our duty to raise sons and daughters who love and respect and help each person, equally, regardless of their Gender!