Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why do damaging gender roles exist?

So I'm reading a post at GMP (I would post a link but forgot to add it when I had this on my mind and have since forgotten it) when I come across this:
Why does child custody in divorce cases often default to the female parent? Because of the cultural expectations that men aren’t nurturers or care-givers.

So my mind got to turning about exactly why these cultural expectations exist. What purpose do they serve.

I'm sure that there are two explanations for this that you have probably heard countless times, depending on who you listen to.

I'll call this one "No it's all about the women!!!!"
The reason it happens is because women in order to play their assigned role in the system, culturally and socially influenced into parenting. This explanation seems to go with the idea that the narratives that are in effect here exist for the purpose of keeping women in a set place and any harm that befalls men is not a feature of the system but a bug. Collateral damage if you will. The place where they are deemed most useful to the system.

I'll call this one "No it's all about the men!!!!"
The reason it happens is because men, in order to play their assigned role in the system, are culturally and socially influenced away from parenting. This explanation seems to go with the idea that the narratives in effect here exist for the purpose of keeping men in a set place and any harm that befalls women is not a feature of the system but a bug. Collateral damage if you will. The place where they are deemed most useful to the system.

Now let me run this one by you. I'll call it, "We're all getting dumped on."
In order to keep men and women in their respective assigned roles cultural narratives were developed and maintained by the system to influence men away from parenting and women into parenting. This explanation seems to go with the idea that these narratives in effect here are in effect because the system wants to keep men and women in their respective roles for the sake of the system itself aka places where they are most useful to the system.
I think those first two explanations don't tell the whole story.

It seems that those first two are coming from a lens that starts off deciding that one (or the other) is the primary target of a system (you may know it as "Who has it worse?") that is really mowing down everyone regardless of gender, race or whatever.

I'm starting to think that despite what people on different sides say I'm just a lonely ranger in thinking that that maybe, just maybe, this system wasn't designed with the purpose of harming any specific group.

What do you think?


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