Must Tradition Change For Equality to be Gained?
One of the most important movements for the past 100 years in the United States has been the push for women’s rights and equality. I for one am a strong supporter of this movement and ideology and would like to see nothing more than for men and woman to earn equal incomes, positions, and respect in society, but I don’t think traditional roles of each gender must necessarily be changed in order for this to happen.
The traditional roles of women in the past have to do the cooking and cleaning for the family, raise children, and stay at home. However, in the recent few decades there have been higher rates of woman going to college, working, and serving as the primary source of income in households. I believe this has been very beneficial to women’s rights, but not because it is changing the role of women but instead because it gives women the power to be able to choose their roles instead of being forced to one in specific.
There are many cases of ambitious women who become successful in the business world, music and film industry, and government and this has opened many doors and provided numerous opportunities for women. However, there are also many women who support equality, but who would rather choose to stay at home, cook, clean, and raise their children and I believe equality is about allowing these people to do as they please just as we would allow a woman to become the CEO of a company.
Choosing to go about life in a more traditional way does not necessarily mean a woman doesn’t support women’s rights, but instead only means that they recognize the many different positions they can have and would like to chose a role that is more traditional than the modern liberal role as income earners.
In his book The Subject of Women, John Stuart Mills explains how traditional roles must be forgotten and things such as chivalry must be eliminated in order for men to see women as equals. I believe that this is not necessarily true because chivalry can be seen as a sign of respect toward women and not a sign of inferiority.
Men and women have always been viewed differently in society due to how men are seen as masculine and women are seen as feminine. Therefore, in many cases if a woman acts as an aggressor it is looked down upon, but if a man in the same position acts this way it is seen as a sign of strength and confidence. This is what I believe is what prevents women from gaining complete equality. In professional environments the mentality of expecting women and men in the same position act differently is what serves as a barrier between the two genders. In social or informal cases men and women will always be expected to act differently, but in work environments and other such formal environments men and women should be expected to act equally so that people do not differentiate between expectations for a male and female who both have the same role. One example is a female candidate in a presidential debate verse a male candidate who both act the same and say the same things, but one person’s actions are seen as good while the other’s are looked down upon.