Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Gender norms vs Equality


I was talking to my boyfriend recently about raising kids. He talked about how we should teach our children to do what they can to accentuate their inherited characteristics for the good of their success in life. In other words, he thought that mothers should teach women to be feminine (the strong kind not the weak kind) in the workplace to uphold power for women, rather than being inferior, resorting to bland suits as Adichie mentioned in her Ted Talk. He said that it was empowering that Adichie could own the room, and still wear her shiny lipgloss. Before we connected this to Adichie, I kind of freaked in defense. I told him that I would not be encouraging my daughter to wear make up for any kind of aesthetic appeal because she would just be taught to succumb to society’s standards. We agreed that I would not do that until our daughter was at least in high school. Remember that there is a fine line between looking appropriate to show professionalism, and wearing makeup or dressing up because of dependence on society’s approval. He has a point. While we want things to be equal between men and women, they simply aren’t. A father is not going to choose to not teach his son to be tough when he falls because it is related to the standard of masculinity. He’s going to teach it because it is a good virtue to learn. A parent isn’t going to tell their daughter, sit however you want, legs open or closed, because we don’t want to conform to societies standards of a lady. Being tough is a good trait for men and women, and so is good manners, and so is dressing to the pin for formal occasions. If we want equality we have to uphold good virtues for both sexes, not diminish ones that play a part in gender binaries.


3 thoughts on “Gender norms vs Equality

  1. This is a great point! A lot of people try to fight the gender binary by going full swing in the opposite direction. They’ll force their daughters to do sports and hate dresses and force their sons to wear pink and not be afraid of emotions. Of course, all this does is force the kids into even smaller boxes. No one can control what anyone else likes or dislikes.

  2. I feel like it would all be in the teaching of such virtues themselves; telling your children why you believe said virtues are not sexist at their core and emphasizing that all genders adhere to such values.

  3. Yea agreed. They need to be aware that both men and women should strive for a good education, play with interactive “figure” houses, learn to cook, look presentable in public, defend themselves from danger, keep sex between someone you and someone you love, take command in an office, etc!!! The world is twisted. But we as knowledgable students and future parents have agency in changing it little by little.

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