Updated: Jul 11
Here is the audio/video version of this blog
Today I want to briefly talk about something that really, truly irks me in society. And that is gender roles. I hate gender roles so much, you have no idea. “A man is supposed to do this” “A woman is supposed to do that”, etc. I hate it so much, why?
It constricts a person only to a particular bubble or place and chooses/tells them where they belong, regardless of whether that person feels they belong in that area or not.
I specifically hate gender roles because I grew up in the African community and gender roles are huge here, especially towards women. All I heard growing up is what a woman can or can’t do. What she MUST do or learn to do because she’s a woman. How she must speak, act, and interact with others, especially with the men, because she is a woman and women should only behave a certain way.
I learned how to cook when I was 15 years old, not because I wanted to learn ( I did not), but because my mother said I am a woman. She said It’ll be "MY JOB" to cook for my husband and kids. I cleaned the house while my brothers played video games because I’m a woman and it’s "MY JOB" to do so. I did the laundry for my parents and siblings and folded them alone, because I’m a woman and it is my job to the laundry. My mom told me to learn how to make my bed properly every morning before I leave the house because when I get married, it’ll be my job, not my husband’s, to make the bed.
A lot of my male siblings know how to cook but every time there was no food, my mom would ask me to cook. I would ask her why she never asked my brothers to do it, and she’ll simply say, “Because you are a woman.” My mom placed a lot of pressure on me to learn a lot of things simply because i was a woman. But that same pressure was never applied to my brothers. I hated that so much. I nicknamed myself Cinderella because while my siblings where out having fun, I was always stuck at home doing household chores because "I’m a woman".
At a certain point, I hated being a woman. I felt being a woman made my life harder.
Now as an adult, while i appreciate the fact that i learned and know how to do various things, the hatred behind WHY I NEEDED TO LEARN those things is still there.
Society has also tacked this behavioral gender roles on men and women and it restricts them from truly being themselves. For example, a man needs to be strong and masculine all the time, and he is not allowed to show any sort of emotions, if not, he is perceived as weak. But my question is this, is he a man or a robot? Is he not a human being who hurts too and feels pain? Why is it not okay for him to display his hurt any way he sees fit? Why does society have to dictate that?
On the other hand, it's okay for women to be emotional. It's almost expected of them to be, even if they aren't or don't want to be. Women are also expect to act "proper." To be gentle and polite. Not to be loud or blunt but be sweet with their words or else they stand the chance of being too intimidating and that is not good (supposedly).
I'm normally very bold and outspoken by nature, but many times, I've been told to suppress my personality because that is not how a woman ought to speak or act. I've been told i'll have a hard time finding a man if i don't change this personality that God gave me from conception (please insert laughing emoji/gif).
Society expects men to make more money and women to make less. If the man makes less, he is seen as less of a man, if a woman makes more, she is seen as intimidating and in a sense, emasculating the man. Society also expects and puts a lot of pressure on women to marry and have kids but that same pressure is not placed on men. Men are instead expected to focus on their career and are applauded when they succeed in that area but a single woman who is all about her career is shunned because even though she has everything she could possibly need, society deems her incomplete because she doesn't have a husband and kids.
Why can't people be free to be who they want to be, and live their lives how they want without society telling them who they are and how they should be?
I’ve also observed a lot of relationships around me and I have realized that gender roles are so active in those marriages and it’s burdensome, especially for the woman. For example, for one such relationship that i know of, the woman has to cook, clean, bathe the kids, put them to bed, wake up at night (alone) to tend to the kids while their spouse sleeps through the night (every night), wakes up early in the morning to drop off the kids to the babysitter before going to work. Husband is off that day. He can do that as that’ll greatly lighten the weight for his wife but doesn’t. He lets his wife do it, because its "her job". Wife gets off from work exhausted and tired, picks up the kids (though husband is off and can do it), feeds them, prepare them for bed, etc.
You can tell she is exhausted by this routine. You’ll think she is a single mom. But she isn’t. She has a husband, who doesn’t do what he thinks he doesn’t need to do because what his wife is doing is a “woman’s job”. And honestly, vice versa.
INTRODUCING LOVE ROLES
This is why I hate gender roles. They’re exhausting for everyone involved. I believe in Love Roles.
Love Roles is going outside of your “societal role” to do what needs to be done to better and lighten the other person’s life.
Gender roles says the woman is supposed to make dinner. Love Roles say she’s had a long day, I’ll make dinner, or order food. Gender roles say she’s supposed to give the kids their bath. Love roles says I’m available, they’re my children too, I’ll give them their bath and prep them for bed.
Gender Roles says he’s supposed to pick up the kids. Love roles says I’m available, I’ll do it. Gender roles say he’s/she’s supposed to do that so I won’t do it because that’s their job. Love Roles say I’m here now and this needs to be done so I’ll do it.
Love Roles always asks, what needs to be done and how can I help? It’s all about throwing the societal roles and rules out the window and working together for the betterment of your home.
Like i mentioned above, gender roles in a marriage is exhausting, especially for a woman, because a huge percentage of the household responsibility falls on her, per society’s standard. If you love your wife, throw away gender roles and pick up the slack when need be. Its not "HER JOB" to do ANYTHING. And it’s not "YOUR JOB" to do ANYTHING. You are both responsible for your household. If she’s not available to do the dishes, vacuum, feed the kids, make dinner, fix the bed, do the laundry, etc. You do it. You’ll make her life easier and she will love you so much more for it.
God knows I have been scarred with gender roles. I cannot marry a man who believes in gender roles and believes that a woman’s place is here or there. It will never work.
If I have to wake up two three times at night to take care of your kid, next time you’ll wake up too. This kid is not "MY JOB", its OUR JOB, etc.
I believe in doing something because it needs to be done, not because its "MY JOB".
Motivate each other with love through your actions. Make a conscious decision to make each other’s lives easier by helping your spouse and lightening their load any way you can.
Throw away societal norms. Live your life as freely as you want to be. Express yourself how you see fit and be free to be you at all times.
Lead and live through love.
Goodbye, Gender Roles.
Hello, Love Roles.