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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » men/women and emotional/physical freedom.

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Author Topic: men/women and emotional/physical freedom.
plain milyeh
Member # 32511

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so, this is something i've been thinking about for a while now. i was just wondering if anybody else had any thoughts on the matter...

it seems to me like standard gender roles (at least in mainstream western society) limit the freedom of both sexes in different ways.

women are basically allowed to exhibit emotional humanity--it's not that big a deal when we cry, and it's normal for us to be affectionate with friends without it taking on sexual implications--but physically, we are expected to disguise some pretty normal human-type stuff--the fact that we grow body hair, for example.

men, on the other hand, aren't supposed to be as open, emotion-wise, but they aren't generally expected to pretend their bodies don't do all those body things...

so are these inverted social freedoms *just* a mainstream western thing? are they coincidental, or is there a reason things have stacked up this way? has anybody read any books that touch on this idea in more detail? i'd love to get more thoughts on it from anyone who has 'em, in a book or on scarleteen...

Posts: 108 | From: caaaaanada. ('cause we've got rocks and trees and trees and rocks...) | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 26390

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Well, a Costa Rican writer I was reading in Spanish class proposed the idea that women are generally seen as superficial, irrational beings; so it's "natural" for us to be worried about acne and hair maintenance and all that other stuff. Men, though, are supposed to be the "superior sex", so they're not superficial enough to worry about those things. For example, a male friend of mine was frustrated because the other day he had to defend his right to use face creams in a discussion with his female friends, who said "only gay guys do that". But even within western societies, there are differences. Today, a friend of mine who had gone to Spain for a year to study said that he could never dress here (Costa Rica) the same way he did back in Spain; it'd be too frowned upon here.

As for the "irrational" part of the previously mentioned writer's idea, she says that fits into the idea of women being hysterical, and overly dramatic, so they're more susceptible to showing emotion. In fact, even the word "hysteria" comes from the Greek word for woman.

Just to clarify, this writer is a radical feminist, and she writes about all this in a very critical tone, not in a matter of fact tone.

"Love does not make itself in the desire for copulation, but in the desire for shared sleep." - The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

Posts: 410 | From: Dallas, TX | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 32823

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I believe that 100% of the roles and stereotypes pushed on the two genders comes from socialization and are not the result of natural genetic tendencies. Over time, a culture can become so imbedded in its own socialization and norms that the ideas begin to look as if they are universal and natural. However if the world had grown up in a different way I believe all of these norms would seem laughable by a different culture or society.

Condoms Rock!

Posts: 52 | From: Los Angeles | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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