Who am I to Speak?

Who am I to Speak?

This is the part where I tell a tale of epic hardship and how, through the principles I’m espousing, my life turned around and I’m now living happily ever after and have started a crusade to share my path with others.  Yup.  Um.  I got nothing.

Truth to tell my life has been privileged.  I grew up in a safe neighborhood, had two siblings to play and argue with, my dad was the breadwinner with a steady job, and my mom stayed home while we were younger.  It was expected that us kids would go to college and become contributing members of society, at which we’ve mostly succeeded.

That’s not to say I haven’t experienced hardship, because I have, or loss, I’ve been there too.  But I have knowledge holes on both ends of the societal and monetary spectrum.  What I do have to offer comes not from a glorious life turn-around, but rather a series of quiet events.

There are depressing quiet events.  The consultant who accepts answers from a male co-worker but not me… even though we used the exact same wording.  The boyfriend who feels emasculated that I earn more money than he does.  The martial arts training partner who refuses to hit a girl.

There are uplifting quiet events.  The co-workers who have always judged me by my merit rather than gender.  The couple who has successfully traded primary parenting responsibilities every couple of years.  My husband who has no problem acknowledging me as an equal in martial arts skill.

Mostly I find the depressing events are based in fear and expectations and the uplifting ones are based in respect and a certain willingness to throw societal expectations out the window.  What are these societal expectations that define an event or get thrown out?  In current society, I see men who are struggling with an old set of expectations on how to act and be a productive member of society.  I see women who are not sure how to achieve gender equality, partially because they all have a different idea of what that looks like.  One thing I see missing in these and other instances is an understanding that HAVING a choice is more important than the actual choice a person makes.

I want to spread that opportunity to choose, because the more people who have a choice the less there is to fear in what others choose.  I want to challenge the status quo of societal expectations, adjust them until the only expectations are ones based in knowledge of the person.  I want to be a vehicle of change, but I cannot do this alone, because alone I am just another person throwing societal expectations out the window.


So, who am I to speak?  I am simply a voice.

The more important question is: Will you listen, evaluate, debate, and discuss what you hear?


Feminism and Maleism

Both men and women are defined by specified roles in today’s society.  Women – through the feminist movement and other efforts through the years – have gained many of the socially acceptable rights and responsibilities of men.  They can wear pants, earn a living wage, vote, etc., etc.  That’s not to say they’re equal in all things, just that they have made significant progress in many parts of the world.  Men… men have not had a similar movement.  It’s not socially acceptable for men to wear dresses, be a stay at home parent, or express emotion.  Though I have recently seen progress being made in this direction!  To balance men’s requirement to maintain traditional masculinity, women must therefore maintain a certain level of the traditional role.  Men are being limited and that in turn limits all of society. 

 One definition of feminism is equality of the sexes.  Yet the words feminism and maleism are polarizing and, in some ways, biased by their very names.  The first portion of the word “fem” for female or “male” for… well… male draws the focus.  We need a new word.  One that encompasses the full spectrum of gender variation.  When trying to come up with this word my grand idea was to create the thought of equality for all using the term “genderism” only to find that genderism is already defined as the concept that there are two and only two genders.  Grand idea fail.  So while I ponder the name, here’s some more food for thought.

 It is my firm belief that gender equality cannot move forward with half of the equation (masculinity) frozen into a particular shape.  Don’t think, just respond: Would you rather your male child play with cars or dolls?  What about your female child?  Many forward thinking people would be insulted at the idea of their female child only being allowed to play with dolls, she can do anything a boy can!  But the same is not true at all for the boys.  Can’t they do everything that a girl can?  Shouldn’t they be allowed and encouraged?  What is so very wrong about a boy playing with a doll?

 The same double standard exists for emotions and behaviors.  Women and girls are more and more encouraged to show leadership skills (previously called “being bossy”) while men and boys are still not encouraged to show empathy for others (as is needed for care based tasks).  “Stronger” emotions include anger, conviction, and confidence while “weaker” emotions include things like crying, vulnerability, and uncertainty.  You, the reader, already know via social norms that we all experience which genders are associated with which emotions and the negativity associated with expressing emotions “owned” by the opposite sex. 

 So how do we move forward?  How do we free all genders to express themselves as a human without following a scripted gender role?  Let us start by exploring and supporting the concept that gender equality can only be reached by all genders supporting … all genders.  Gender equality for all.



1)      Maleism: slang word for “Masculism”; belief of men’s rights and defending the male image from the extremist views of feminist groups. The opposite of Feminism; the male’s version of Feminisim. 
Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Maleism

2)      Feminism: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes  OR organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

3)      Genderism: Genderism, or gender binarism, is the cultural belief that gender is a binary, or that there are, or should be, only two genders — man and woman — and that the aspects of one’s gender are inherently linked to the sex in which they were assigned at birth.