Equality is an idea that has been around for a long time now, and has been the subject of many discussions. But why is it so hard to achieve?
If one was to stop a stranger in the street and ask them “Do you feel women should have the same social rights, salaries and political opportunities as men?” you are almost always going to be met with a “Yes, of course”.
Consider your reaction then if they were to say no, would you take their stance even remotely seriously? There are no reasons one could give to justify a negative response without admitting an opinion that women are inferior. I would challenge anyone to submit an idea to the contrary.
Why is it then that despite this seemingly overwhelming opinion that the above factors should be equal across both genders, we are still ‘fighting’ for equality?
I feel that the core of the issue does not dwell within the realms of finance or politics. It is within a very deeply ingrained ‘understanding’ of gender roles that have been in place for centuries. You do not need to be an expert of history to see what I mean. In fact, you can get everything you need by witnessing likely reactions to the following scenario:
“A man is walking down the street and is struggling with some heavy objects; a woman approaches and offers her assistance in carrying them”.
This is not an unlikely situation, and is certainly simple enough. However, there are some ideas that need to my considered to make my point.
Let us consider the ‘macho’ side things. This is a man who is engaging in an activity that could (or certainly did) go towards determining his worth, the demonstration of strength. No one can deny that even within the society of today, guys can be very touchy when their physical prowess in under any sort of scrutiny.
The above male could well be feeling very uncomfortable right now. Not only is he struggling with the carrying, he is struggling in front of a woman (the ones who were typically impressed by such things and were considered weaker) and to add to that she offered to help him!
If the male did indeed feel this way about her offer, how long do you think it would have taken to process this? Seconds at the most I would wager, this was an almost immediate reaction. A negative one based on insecurity.
This does not apply to every guy who could be in this situation, I am merely stating a possibility that no one can deny may happen. I for one do not feel threatened in such a way and would be glad of any assistance.
Let us look then at the female mentality that may occur in the following:
“A woman is walking down the street and is struggling with some heavy objects; a man approaches and offers her assistance in carrying them.”
A role reversal, but instead of applying an archaic mentality I shall explore a very modern one. I don’t think anyone can deny that this reaction is possible as well.
I think we have all witnessed at one point or another, an instance where a woman has been ‘offended’ by a guy’s offer of assistance. I can’t imagine being far wrong by guessing this sort of reaction takes place by taking the “I don’t need a man” mentality just a little too far.
But it is a possible response none the less, and will continue to be so. If my point isn’t clear at this point I shall summarise
In both scenarios, a fellow person has offered sincere assistance to another who is thought to be struggling, but due to centuries old conditioning in regard to gender roles they have been refuted. As people, we need to take a moment to really consider a person’s intent when they offer to help. Is it really likely to be gender based?
Likewise, it is important how we approach someone who may be having a tough time; coming across as arrogant or pretentious may aggravate them and lead to a complete backfire.
These are reactions that have been ingrained for many years and as such, will take a while to uproot. It is important we consider this when considering what is likely to be a sincere proposal.