01/27/2011

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Is there a person in your life who always has a hug and makes you feel better when they're around? Who is it – and what do you love about them? Real Men’s Talk<br/> <br/> Close your eyes. Imagine a world where peace and justice prevail.<br/> A place that is free from discrimination, subordination and prejudice. A society living away from a patriarchal mind-set caused by the continuous, rampant and obvious unequal footage of individual- the thought that one specie is dominant from the other, leading to abuse and misuse of power, may it be subtle or overt.<br/> I know, we are just imagining. We are still away from the equality that we are hoping to have. For now, all we can do is open our eyes to the things that we usually take for granted. Important aspects of life that we thought to be the real way of living but actually boxed, limited and worst victimized for we accepted it as a norm. Various roles, behaviors and attitudes our society imposed on us, lead to gender inequality.<br/> In gender topics, sex pertains to the biological differences between men and women; it is being male or female. Gender, on the other hand, is a social construct- a woman’s or a man’s traits are defined and roles are assigned by social institutions. Expectations based on gender limits the potentials and actions of the women and men on the other hand have lesser limitations- this is gender stereotyping.<br/> Not known to everyone, especially to those apathetic, that the gender stereotyping are created and perpetuated by institutions which we usually perceive to be righteous and which teaches us the values that distorts the true essence of equality, for most of the time it is subtle. We did not realize that those institutions abuse us without our knowledge.<br/> First is the family, known to be the basic unit of the society. The foundation of individuals’ values, the institution that first teaches us the supposedly concept of morality. But seldom have we known that this very institution injected to us the things that portray the division of gender and of roles. The giving of toys, color of clothes and household chores may look like small matters but eventually lead us to stereotyping and inequality.<br/> Picture this, most of the time, robot and gun toys; and blue shirts are given to young boys which subtly impose violence and dominance. On the other hand, young girls receive pink clothes, cooking utensil toys and dolls that made their young minds think that they should only be doing the household chores like cooking, taking care of the children and be submissive.<br/> I may sound skeptic and different considering the environment I am living in or even crazy citing these things. But critical minds should see things in a bigger perspective and possibilities. These things are taught to us and we accepted that life should be this way when actually it is not.<br/> Another institution is the school. The place we consider as second home and teach us the things that will equip us for the security of our future. But aside from good things, this institution labels what men and women should do. It may dictate the path an individual should walk in based on gender.<br/> This can be observed through the courses and curriculum. There are courses that are dominated by male such as engineering, information technology, business administration or even medicine courses. Although there are women enrolled in given courses, still men rule. Meanwhile, women are usually labeled for home economics, education or nursing courses. It is caused by the inflicted attitude that men are more logical and strong; and women are emotional and weak.<br/> Next is the influential institution of religion. Because of the values of virginity and chastity taught by the church, it stigmatizes women to explore things and label them as immoral once found to be devirginized before marriage. But on the other hand, when men had multiple partners they are tagged as macho. I am not advocating pre-marital sex here and I do not have toll for personal activities, the point here is the double standard in women- the expectation to be just tamed and submissive.<br/> Laws and government institution also contribute to the gender stereotyping. Most of the time, men occupy the top positions while women usually had secretarial jobs, for people already have the mindset that men are more intellectually superior over women. Aside from this, this institution sets different standards of behavior between women and men through penalties and sanctions. Example is the case of adultery and bigamy.<br/> Lastly is the most powerful and influential institution, the mass media. Since they enter every household through television, radio and prints, the impact is alarming especially for children. They portray women as sex object and/or as housewives or maid especially through advertisements that commodify women to sell products. The ads for liquor and detergent soaps are the usual examples. Mass media also impose the macho image of men- womanizer, drunkard and abusive.<br/> There are still a lot of things to process with the issues of gender. I know that this is not an overnight realization. The fact that these inequalities are more visible nowadays, it is already very difficult to change in a snap. Many people can even deny and repel to everything that I have just said. This is a long process but least try to open your mind and be critical.<br/> Who knows, by the time you open your eyes, you’ll be seeing a world where peace and justice prevail. A place that is free from discrimination, subordination and prejudice. A society living away from a patriarchal mind-set…<br/>