19 March 2015

How Far Have We Come...Really?

My sister posted something on Facebook that got me thinking - it was regarding the idea that girls like to receive clothes as a gift whereas boys don't and whether this attitude changes as you age. It got me thinking that socializing girls and boys hasn't changed much in the last few decades. A lot of parents and feminists are probably raising their voices against me already for that statement. Probably thinking that things are vastly different in the way we raise our children. My observations are a bit different.

I was watching Castle (S07E17) the other day and the story line was that Beckett (female lead detective) was feeling a bit like she hadn't accomplished as much as her colleague had. They started out together, graduated the academy together, and here she was still a homicide detective and not a captain. Along comes another detective that appears to have it all - family, fabulous husband, excellent career. And Beckett begins to envy this female detective for having everything while Beckett is still feeling...lacking. By the end Beckett finds out that the visiting detective is going through a divorce because her career got in the way - and that balance is harder to achieve than she thought. 

So why does the female character need to find balance between family and work? Why is the male character not ever seen to be torn between his children and his career? Women are allowed to work in today's society - but she will be punished if she doesn't have a family or if she puts her family second in any way. So all these little girls watching that Castle episode may dream of having a career but that dream will be slightly dampened by the pervasive thought that she will have to find balance in home/family/career. Men don't have this dilemma in today's society. It's 2015 - how is this still a thing?

Another example is the phrase I hate with a passion - "I didn't even try to ask her out - she's out of my league because she's so pretty". Wait, what? So a girl's worth is measured by how pretty she is or how pretty she presents herself to be? Like a boy won't even try to get to know her because she's too pretty for him and she will only go for a boy that's equally pretty? Where are the ideas that she is too intelligent for him, too advanced in math for him, or too athletic for him? And this isn't just my generation talking here - I've heard S use the phrase when describing a hottie from his junior high school and I've also heard my younger son J talk about girls he knows that are 'out of his league'. I can't believe boys still talk that way in 2015. 

So with all of the advancements women have made in the workforce over the last 45 years it still boils down to her physical beauty as her worth. Wear a low cut shirt to get a raise, doll yourself up to get the job, look pretty to get the guy. What in Hell's Bells are we teaching our young ladies? Why are we allowing our boys to continue viewing women this way, why do we allow the media to portray women as things to have that are pretty, and goddammit why do women perpetuate the idea by using their beauty to get some attention? 

One point of view on this is female streamers (people that play video games and record the gameplay and their commentary - two points of view are used: one to see the game being played and one to see the person playing the game) and this video mostly illustrates my point:

Please don't get me wrong, I don't agree with everything he says or even the way the information is phrased, but I am tired of the duality between 'please respect me' and 'here are my boobs for you to look at'. Maybe as a society we could stop trying to change men's minds about women and instead alter our own views on ourselves. And this would start with how children are raised.

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