Tag Archives: equality

Healthy Changes for Modern Equality of the Sexes – SPLITTING THE BILL

Do you still think a man should pay on the first date? Pull out a woman’s chair so she can sit down? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY? Do we still buy into the lie of “ladies first” when quite clearly in most other aspects of life it has been ladies last? Is the gesture of walking through a door first really worth more than REAL equality which might mean, god forbid, walking through the door second?

If the only answer you can come up with for the question of “why?” is ‘because that’s what men should do’ then you’ve sunk just as low as those who say a wife should cook for her husband because she is a woman. There is no biological or psychological reason for it, only outdated societal norms. In my opinion, there are NO things that people should and shouldn’t do based on their gender. There are only things that they can or can’t do, for example, give birth.

Let’s take the example of splitting the bill. Women (and some men) have been fighting for equal pay for decades, and we’re still not there yet. But how can we ask for equal pay and in the same breath ask for a man to pay for our food on a date? Even if he earns more money than the woman, why does that matter? If you go out for a meal with your girl friends, would you expect the one who earns the most to pay more? Of course not, that’s not how equality works. Do you really think that a man paying for your food is a good indication of whether he is a generous person or not? Generosity is not measured in conforming to gender roles dictated by society. If you want to know if someone is generous, pay attention to how they choose to divide their time, whether they give you their full, undivided attention, how willing they are to compromise.

If historically the work place was the ‘male domain’ and the home was the woman’s then at the same time as we women enter and influence the world of employment, so too should men be invited into home and family life and valued for what they bring. Valuing equality in the world of work higher than in raising a family, is in itself sexist. If what we want is as many female CEOs as males then surely we should also be welcoming the idea of having as many fathers taking just as an important role in raising their children as mothers. I’m not just talking culturally, but legally too, men should have equal rights and protection when it comes to their children. It shouldn’t be to do with the gender of the parent but to do with the best environment to raise a child. Maybe there is a bit of that sexist hangover kicking in right about now? You’re thinking it’s justified because women are better at raising children than men? Just because someone is more practiced at something doesn’t mean others can’t learn to do it just as well. Other than the biological factors of breastfeeding etc., there is no reason why men shouldn’t play just as important a role in raising their children as women. Just as men historically said women cannot study certain subjects (or study at all for that matter) or do certain jobs because they aren’t as intelligent, we have proved that wrong. If we address the issues of ‘toxic masculinity’ and give men an equal chance at raising children, I’m certain they will prove and are already proving to us that they can do just a good a job as women.

So should a man carry a woman’s bags, they are stronger after all!? Even with biological differences when it comes to our physiology, we have proven that we women are also strong, fast, powerful. If you think about it, some women are stronger than some men, it all depends on how you choose to live your life. I am just as capable of carrying my luggage as my boyfriend, I am just as capable of opening a heavy door as my brother. However, there may be some cases where I might struggle physically and require help but I’d be just as happy for a woman to help me out as a man. It’s not to do with gender. Therefore a man shouldn’t feel embarrassed to be helped by a woman either; we all need help sometimes.

As they say, equality is a two way street. I am proud to be a feminist, and women’s rights are extremely important to me. So are men’s rights. I don’t want to undermine the incredible struggle of women thought history and still to this day. Oppression must be fought but I think we have a better chance now by working together than by hating and blaming. We have the opportunity to create a world which is more equal for everyone but to do so we must recognise areas for improvement in ourselves as well as others.

THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD – We Have It, Let’s Use It!

Sometimes it might seem that the ways of the world are so ingrained that changing them is impossible or at least highly unlikely. Things are the way they are and we just have to accept them…!? Well imagine where we’d be if everyone throughout history had thought like that. Things are much more malleable and less stable than we are lead to believe.

I wanted to write about this today after watching a video on the YouTube channel The School of Life entitled Why You Can Change the World. I quite often take the way I think about things for granted and I forget the ways I used to think and the different ways people see the world. This video reminded me of that and of the importance of knowing that positive change is very much possible.

I’ve always been passionate about justice. From a little girl making sure my two siblings and I had the same size piece of birthday cake, to debates with my uni housemates about racism and sexism to stopping eating meat 3 years ago. I don’t accept injustice just because my culture or society does. I will speak up for what I believe in and try to converse calmly (the calmly part is a work in progress) with others who are open to an exchange of opinions. Could I do more to fight it? Yes, of course I could. I could join activist groups, protest, sign petitions (I do sometimes). For now, I’m writing this blog post.

So without really realising it, I have obviously always had the belief that things could and should get better. Where did that come from? My parents? My education? I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s important that everyone has that hopefulness for a better world. We don’t have to look too far back in history to see huge changes which would have been unthinkable for the generation which preceded them- ending apartheid, votes for women, gay marriage.

History is not only a matter of the past but also the present. Every decision we make today, every conversation, is determining history. I remember wondering as a teenager why the world is how it is and never really finding an answer. Of course now I understand that it is because the world we live in was never destined to be as it is now, it is arbitrary. It could have been very, very different. It could still be very, very different but in order for that to happen, people need to believe that it can change.

I know at present it’s not easy to stay optimistic about the future of humanity, never mind the world as a whole – yes, there are plants and animals too who are also living on this beautiful, fragile planet. But the first and most important step is to NOT accept things as they are just because they have been that way for X amount of time. We live in an age of incredible knowledge, let’s use it for the better. Let’s stand up for what we know is right and not just easy.

The internet is an incredible thing and, as with everything, can be used for positive or negative ends. Let’s focus on the positive – we can now join together in numbers never before possible to raise awareness and show our support for certain causes like ending domestic violence or the refugee crisis or animal cruelty. It also gives us access to ways of thinking that we may never have come across in our day to day lives. What a wonderful opportunity for personal growth as well as positive change in society.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or straight-forward. I am very lucky in that the only way injustice affects my life is people complaining that my diet is difficult to accommodate or trying to ‘educate’ me on why they think I must be protein deficient. Or my boyfriend calling me annoying because I made a comment about the misogyny in the series we are watching. Or an awkward moment in a social situation where I let someone know that I consider something to be unacceptable. Or rare occasions of having to deal with sexist behaviour towards me. These seem almost ridiculous when compared to the injustice millions of people (and animals) suffer every single day.

I am incredibly fortunate to be safe, healthy, educated, which means there is all the more reason for me to be aware of the injustices others suffer and have open conversations about it. The only people who will lose out in a more equal and fair world are those who abuse power. Of course there are those who are privileged and therefore powerful (whether they realise it or not) and would never dream of abusing that power, but that’s not enough. We should use it to help those who don’t have it. The first step is to NOT accept things the way they are, the second is to let people know what is unacceptable and why.

If you have made it to the end of this blog post, thank you so much. I realise this was quite philosophical, political even, but there will be a few of these between the lifestyle stuff, after all, everyone should be entitled to live a happy, healthy life.