misleading discussions about generic gender roles


There is a war on women being waged right now. It seeks to erase who we are as women, to replace our value as wives and mothers, with our ability to pursue wealth and careers. It seeks to rob women of our identity as the nurturers and givers of life and to change us into the providers of casual sex, a job they promise will be accommodated by providing us with free birth control and access to abortion. It’s a war that seeks to replace the role of men with the role of the state. Insanitybytes

A few American Christians are in a tizzy about something they call ‘the role of women’. These people seem to think humans pop off a conveyor belt from a generic person specification, which is designed to determine what we do with our lives based on what genitals we were born with.

Some basic facts for these confused people:

  • Around 20% of women don’t have children during their lives, for a variety of reasons both within and outwith their control. They are women too and, unbelievably, they have a ‘role’ in society.
  • Family structures aren’t generic and are never guaranteed. People get ill, people die, people fall out, people lose their jobs. If you limit the financially-providing skill set to one adult in a relationship, and one of these frequently occurring facts of live comes to pass, you are condemning the de-skilled stay-at-home parent to years of stress, insecurity and potential poverty – still with a family to support.
  • Societies and communities within your country and around the world are all different. Families can function under a million varying successful models:
    • Some people live in close communities with extended family nearby – childcare can easily be shared by trusted family and friends.
    • Some people have the luxury of the kind of job where childcare can be accommodated into their day, with both parents working while caring for the children.
    • Some people live far from their families, many in dispersed urban settings. Life as a stay-at-home parent would be limited socially and would be unfulfilling for children who require space, fresh air, variety and regular contact with their peers.
    • Some people live in countries where they can take paid time off work (up to two years) to spend the time required with a baby to form strong parental bonds – and they can share this time regardless of their gender.

In my opinion, the most important factor in all this is that people have choice to carve out what kind of life works best of them in their circumstances. You don’t give people choice when you force unrealistic roles down their throats as the only way to live. You don’t give people choice when society doesn’t support people at their most vulnerable stages. You don’t give people choice when you make assumptions about how their lives will be.

And let’s not forget. It’s 2014. Men exist too. And most of them who have children in this day and age actually want to spend as much time with their children as mothers do. So let’s bop these terribly misleading discussions about generic gender roles on the head, and remember that everyone is different, and there are many ways to live our lives in a fulfilling manner, both with and without troublesome offspring.