I know what you're probably thinking. "But I'm a feminist! I'm completely against sexism! Equality between men and women is totally my thing! Sexist, me??" Yes, my dear feminist, that is wonderful. You want equality. Well, let me tell you a story.
There was once a career field that was entirely dominated by one of the sexes. As in, people of the other sex technically could enter that line of work, because it wasn't illegal or anything, but society completely frowned upon it. A person of this particular gender was expected to do other things instead, things that society considered "appropriate" and "proper" for that gender. There were a few people of that gender who did enter that field, but they were an extreme superminority. Meanwhile, people of the other gender were allowed to go into almost any line of work they wanted. It seemed that, shockingly, society was arbitrarily placing people of one sex in certain categories of work and lifestyle, without placing such restrictions on the other sex.
Furthermore, people of this restricted sex were not any less smart or strong than those of the not-so-restricted sex. The restricted persons were looked upon as simply being less skilled, or less naturally suited, to this job. The other gender would tease this one, generalizing them, and making fun of them for their inability to perform the tasks of this job. TV shows and movies portrayed this gender occasionally trying to do this job, and failing miserably at it, causing hilarity and disaster. People of this gender who tried to take on this certain job in real life were looked upon as odd or even as failures for not "living up" to the standards of their own "gender role".
Now, does this sound like a true story? Well, it is one. It's happening in our society today. Men and women are treated totally differently in one particular field, such that men who take this particular job are often considered failures and weaklings. This job is that of being a stay-at-home parent.
Society has developed to the extent that women are allowed to have professional jobs in practically any field, and while it is true that many fields are still male-dominated, there are many fields that are still vastly female-dominated. Women are the majority of nurses, midwives, babysitters, nannies, etc.--in short, they dominate almost everything that involves directly taking care of people. When we hear words like "nurse" we as a society generally assume "woman", even though there are plenty of male nurses. (Think of Rory Williams from Doctor Who!)
It is time to recognize this inequality as what it is, an inequality. It is time to reassess what we believe, and make a very important decision. Are we going to promote equality for everyone, in all places, in all workplaces, in every field and lifestyle? Or are we going to consider that women may actually, generally speaking, be better at certain things than men generally are? Is it fair to say that men and women may actually be (gasp) different? As in, they are intrinsically equal in dignity while being very different and balancing each other out so that there is someone perfectly suited for each necessary type of task? Is that idea utterly ridiculous, more ridiculous than the idea of a man in a frilly apron trying to cook? (because that is kind of funny, to most of us.)
(Ricky Ricardo from the 1950's show I Love Lucy, played by Desi Arnaz. Photo credit: Getty images.)
It's time to recognize the hypocrisy in the idea that women can either stay at home to cook and clean and raise children, or go out and have daily paying jobs in a wide variety of professional fields, while men can only do the wide variety of professional fields, and can't do the staying-at-home without being regarded as failures (even more than the women who stay at home are--more on this another time). It's time to end the double standards--all of them.
Note: This post is not the summit and totality of my views on sexism, feminism, gender roles, stay-at-home moms and dads, double standards in modern society, or even men in frilly aprons trying to cook. This post is simply pointing out, in semi-satirical form, a particular flaw in the logic of feminism as it stands today. I plan to write more posts in the future on the topic of feminism, and hopefully my full position will eventually be made clear. For now, suffice it to say that I am a woman, and I do not call myself a feminist, but I do truly believe that men and women are both created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore infinitely valuable and intrinsically equal in worth. However, I do not believe that this means they are exactly the same. "Equal" means equal, but it does not mean "the same". Being equal is good, but being the same is boring. Again, there will be further posts on this later. Also, no offense whatsoever is intended toward feminists of any sort, and certainly not towards women, men, stay-at-home dads, or anyone else. Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment with polite debate and questions!