Evolution of Gender Roles
Gender issues have always been a social problem, not only in the present, but also in history. As we all know, women have always been seen as inferior to men because of their natural physique that they are said to be less capable than men in a lot of areas. Generation after generation, this comparison between men and women has gradually become a social value that is agreed upon without much explanation. This value has already been implemented in people’s minds that they are already used to this social routine, and they stay in their “gender roles” without any doubt.
All women are brought up from the very earliest years in the belief that their ideal of character is the very opposite to that of men; not self-will, and government by self-controll, but submission, and yielding to the control of others. All the moralities tell them that it is the duty of women, and all the current sentimentalities that it is their nature, to live for other; to makes complete abnegation for themselves, and to have no life but in their affections. -Mill(659)
Socialization plays a very important role in molding and sculpting a society and how it works, and the socialization of gender values have influenced not only certain countries, but the whole world. As of now, there are still countries, especially developing ones, that still strongly hold onto gender classification. On the other hand, as important as traditional cultures and beliefs are, a lot societies are already looking to evolve and to bring themselves to a new era. People’s thoughts begin to change, and they begin to realize the underlying problems in the beliefs that they have held for centuries.
As I was reading Mill’s “The Subjection of Women”, a movie popped up in my mind – Mulan. You may think it’s just a cartoon by Disney, but Mulan actually existed in Chinese history, representing Chinese women’s empowerment. During Mulan’s time, China was still a very traditional country – people still wore traditional clothing; it was very different from the China you see now.
Women were treated as weak and inferior, they were to stay at home, do the housework; girls were to obey their parents, especially on marriage matters – they were to honor their families by marrying a family of decent background – and this was just a small part of women’s role in the society.
But Mulan proved herself to be brave and capable of doing what men could do – fighting in a war for her father, just like a real soldier.
And when we bring what we saw in the video clips to the current era, we would realize that women’s empowerment is one of the most discussed topics amongst people. Not only are women trying to achieve what people say they can’t do, but in fact are successfully moving up the social ladder, gaining a social status that will soon catch up with that of men.
With regard to the fitness of women, not only to participate in elections, but themselves to hold offices or practise professions involving public responsibilities; I have already observed that this consideration is not essential to the practical question in dispute; since any woman, who succeeds in an open profession, proves by that very fact that she is qualified for it. -Mill(679)