How roles are defined for women and why they must correct this balance

Written by Divyanshi Chugh under Dr. Anu Goel for  18 June, 2013

Published on

I generally come across reflections that question, ‘Why we?’. I would like to systematically understand three of the most irksome questions about the obvious! The first that must have passed every inquisitive mind, who would’ve played trial and error with rationale to justify its stereotypical existence, is ‘Why are women the ones who babysit and cook and clean, and why not men?’

Well, evolutionarily nurturers, human females learn the stereotypical gender roles. Even five or the six year olds have seen their mothers staying at home and their fathers going out for work. Even if that’s not how, they’ve seen their mothers both tending towards the children more than their fathers, and also going out for wok.

As much as it’s obviously stereotypical and unfair, the young girl reason it out thinking that our mothers gave us birth, they fed us and thus it is their duty and perhaps more legitimate that they tend towards us. Not only young girls, but young boys learn this. Although, gender roles affect men and women in different ways – both are judged and judge others on the way they conform to the gender roles. The gender roles are anchored in their minds. These anchors act as effective comparison points. These gender roles become differentiated, effecting socialization and cognitive development, when the sexes assume the roles of parents. Children learn that the world is organized, that that the world has defined men and women a certain way. They internalize their structures as gender schema, or a rather unchallenged core belief.

Another question, that’s raised in every man’s mind, is “Why do women get jealous?” Evolutionary psychology indicates that jealousy is an adaptation that human beings instinctively employ for reproduction purpose. The experience of jealousy is somewhat different for women and women. While men may focus on the partner’s sexual infidelity, the women may forgive the sexual infidelity of the partner, if there’s no emotional infidelity, justifying that it was the man’s need and ‘at least he didn’t emotionally get involved’.And what may quite be expected, women often experience jealousy when the partner is engaged in emotional infidelity. Emotional clonesness with another woman is perceived as a greater threat to her and her relationship’s security, whereas a sexual relationship is merely rubbing of two bags of bones or “just sex”. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules. Some men may well be as threatened when their girlfriend or wife spends quality time with another man – even if the ‘other man’ is merely a friend who carpools with her to work.The third is another obvious question that irks many men and women: Why do women have an innate x-ray machine to scan every other girl from her hairband to heels? Women believe that they are superior to other women if they are physically better looking. There is a fine distinction made between personal and professional lives. In fact, it is often perceived as a valued aspect and a life skill. Traditionally, the professional sphere has belonged to men and the personal sphere has belonged to women. Men perceive competition (traditionally) with other men in the competitive sphere and women perceive competition in the personal sphere.

The media, too, perpetuates that women gossip and are bitchy and catty. Whereas men in their personal lives are “bhai-bhai” Because young girls learn that openly, happily or jokinly they are not supposed to be competitive, their natural competitive spirit cannot be channeled into a healthy, positive edge – and this aspect becomes inhibited and goes underground, as per research published on the website psychcentral. What could have been healthy competition becomes a secret feeling of envy and desire for the other to fail – laced with guilt and shame. Thus, what looks like hostile competition between women may instead mask feelings of insecurity, fear of success, and healthy aggression.

We require independent engendered thinking to view, well, everything! All reality is socially constructed, and has an evolutionary basis to it. From little girls learning that they are tandoori murgis to be gatko with alcohol, brothers winning TV remote fight by using force and children being parented only by mothers, the realities today are gendered. It’s time we disrupt our equilibrium to see through them.


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