The Role of Gender

Yesterday, I talked about reading Stephenie Meyer’s new “book” Life and Death. While I was at work, I talked about it with someone I was working with. She was saying that she was following someone’s live tweets as they were reading the book and found it to be hilarious, even if she hadn’t read the book yet. She also talked about how it would be interesting if someone wrote a thesis about the gender swapped books and how people are viewed differently when two people of different genders do the exact same thing in the same situations but get viewed differently because of their gender.

This thought has intrigued me and made me start thinking about it more closely. Even though I haven’t gotten far in the book, I’m already viewing Beau differently than I did when it had been Bella in the situation. When it had been Bella as the main character, I couldn’t help but think “Wow, all you want to do is cook for the men in your life and let the men go out and save you from the scary outside forces and get married and have kids?” Not that it’s a bad thing, necessarily, but today’s modern thought has made us view these things aimed at teenagers a little iffy, as we want more girls to step up and become themselves in society. But with Beau, who is awkward, quiet, and wants to cook for his father, and hate sports made me want to scream at him to go out and do things that guys usually do.

And that made me take a step back. Why does it bother me that a man (or a boy in this case) doesn’t like being active in sports and outdoorsmanship and only wants to read and cook? Why should it bother me that he wants to do the housework that women are typically expected to do? Why can’t women be the breadwinners? This probably reveals how traditional I still am (and probably thousands of others in the United States as well). Even though I consider myself to be a modern person, I’m still traditional in other aspects of my life.

Where should we cut off traditional values? Where should we still be traditional? And what do we need to work on when others want to defy normal expectations, whatever “normal” might be for each of us? Expectations are given to us from all over: from the media, from what has been handed down to us from our ancestors, from what we read. We’re still evolving and pulling back every day and perhaps the only way we can improve ourselves is to continue to scrutinize ourselves and decide what is best for us and how we can fit that in with others without hurting them.

I’m probably not making much sense at this point, but at least I’m thinking about it. Taking a look at what we read and how we affect us is definitely something we need to talk and think about.

What say you?

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