Women& Gender in the Modern World
Women& Gender in the Modern World (TraditionalFamily Relationships, And Its Disadvantage to Women)
Theissue of women in the society has over time been discussed indifferent contexts, and for different purposes. Women’s role hasover time changed and continues to change. Women in the recent worldcan be termed as more liberalized than sometimes back. The role ofwomen has in turn undergone numerous and notable changes to itscurrent state. One of the aspects that have changed is the genderequality as communities and the society at large continue to embracethe aspect of women liberalization, and equality. Different culturalbeliefs and practices have different definitions and regard to women,with women having a varying role in the society as well as in theirfamilies. Cross-cultural perspective on women has varying informationfrom one culture to the other (Brettell,Caroline and Carolyn206).
Today,women are coming forth in social trends as the role of women in thecurrent times has drastically changed as compared to how it wassometime back. No more than two generations ago, a girl child wasexpected to leave her academic ambitions and assume the role ofwomen, which was being a housewife. One of the factors that arebelieved to have contributed towards the change is the act of womenadopting and performing duties that were traditionally attributed tomen. The aim of this paper is to examine the various disadvantagesthat have faced women in relation to the traditional familyrelationship in different cultures. In addition, the paper will thenlook at the various alternatives to marriage that might enable womento have a chance of empowering themselves.
TraditionalFamily Relationships and How They Disadvantage Women
Inevery society, family relationships were the basis in which bothwomen and men had their roles defined both within the family and inthe society at large. Every community has its own respected culture.In most of the culture, women were regarded as the weaker sex, andwere left behind to take care of the family and the household. Theissue of traditional family relationship and its effect on women hasbeen addressed by many researchers in the recent past. This isbecause of the importance of the topic to the society at large. Theyhave found that in many societies, the greatest disadvantage thatmost of the women have is the lack of the freedom in making choices(Brettell,Caroline and Carolyn205). They are not given a chance to choose what they want especiallyon the number of children that they want to have. The malecounterparts are the decision makers who decide the number ofchildren that their wives will have. On the same note, the womencannot decide or choose what to do as the final decision is made bytheir husbands. This applies also to careers that the women may wantto pursue, but due to culture they are hindered from achieving thesedreams. Most of the researches reveal that a woman is expected tostart a family when she reaches a certain age of her life and willnot be seen as a complete person if this does not happen. All thispressure makes them end up doing things that are not to their will.Cross-culturally, there are places where women are also not given achance to choose their life partners as a result of the culturalsetting. This is a disadvantage to the women as they may end up withpeople they do not want or those who may abuse them in one way oranother.
Therelationship between male and female and especially wife and husbandis culturally controlled with different beliefs determining how thetwo should co-exist. According to Brettell,Caroline and Carolyn(Brettell,Caroline and Carolyn204), in early days women were taken as sex creatures. Some of thetraditional beliefs also contributed to the understanding ofsexuality between men and women in the society. On page, 205,Brettell,Caroline and Carolynhas indicated that, aspects such as menstruation blood in women wasbelieved to contaminate men. These are some of the biological andcultural aspects which greatly contributed to the definitions oridentities of masculinity and femininity (Brettell,Caroline and CarolynP, 205). This definition in turn limited the gender definitions ofboth men and women, however, the sale aspects, especially thecultural element massively defined the role of each gender in thesociety. Finally, the in every culture or society, the elements ofgender, sex, and bond are identified, named and also given meaningwith reference to the culture’s rules and customs (Brettell,Caroline and Carolyn206).
However,this is not the case when it comes to societies in the USA and otherwestern countries as they have made numerous steps towards womenempowerment. Cases of oppression against women in the USA since thelaw are very clear on the way certain things can be done. The societyhas given women a chance to choose when to carry a pregnancy tocompletion or when to carry out an abortion. Clear outlines are alsoplaced when it comes to divorces, which indicates that, both womenand men have equal rights when it comes to a family set-up.
MarriageAlternatives that would Empower Women
Thereare various alternatives that women can have that can give them abetter chance to experience life and empower themselves. One of thesealternatives is to avoid early marriages. The greatest disadvantagethat has faced women in the traditional society is the practice ofearly marriages that leave them under the mercies of the society.This means that in case of anything, they do not have a choice otherthan obeying what their husbands say. Instead of getting married at anotably young age, they can instead spend this time to chase theireducational goals that will give them more choices in life. It willgive them more freedom in terms of career choices that will liberatethem from the historical oppression and disadvantage brought about bytraditional family relationships. Research on the influence ofwomen-centered households on liberation and empowerment of womenreveal a negative trend. This is because of the responsibilities thatare bestowed on women in taking care of the children in terms of foodand education may hinder them from achieving what their dreams. Theimplication is that women can do better in families that are completeand where they are appreciated. This can only happen when they havethe chance to make more choices in their lives.
Thereare many cases of women who have achieved their goals while still inmarriage, which means that education is one of the key things thatwomen can make use of to liberate themselves. Additionally, workingclass just as the case of men would be in order to liberate women.According to (Ward, Martha & Monica 92) working-class women inthe West Indies have taken to the idea that, getting married would ina way restrict their alternatives. This is due to the fact that, theworking class women would cease depending on their husbands foreconomic support.
Women-centeredHouseholds Impact on Women’s Lives
Women’sliberation has been an ongoing process however the aspect ofwomen-centered household has been one of the contributing factorstowards the liberation of women. Women centered households, made bysingle and the unmarried, either by choice or through circumstancehave greatly contributed to the independence of women in the modernworld. Despite early time victimization, the women centered householdaspects has contributed to the independence of women. Singlewomen/mothers and other numerous women who didn’t fit into thestereotyped nuclear family, ‘matrifocal’ (household dominated bywomen) households aren’t limited to the lower classed andeconomically challenged groups (Ward,Martha & Monica 91).Some social scientists have held to the idea that house hold underwomen leadership are deviant or else pathological, however, there isa surprise as women centered household are taking center stage (Ward,Martha & Monica91) This is due to the fact, the households have to support everyaspect just like a normal house hold, hence bringing along equalitybetween man-centered and women centered households. Female headedhouseholds have been common in urban areas compared to ruralsettings, and this has greatly liberated the position of women in thesociety in the modern world.
Inmost cases, the fairy tales have the lead characters being women. Themain reason is that most of these fairy tales were told by groups ofwomen. This means that most of them were based on the life of mostwomen, which was always happy at the end. Attractiveness is one ofthe best qualities that a woman can possess and in fairy tales, itwas used as a symbol of future happiness. Most of them are beautycontests where most of the women emphasize on the importance of theyouthful nature of a woman as the best assets that she can have.Women who are not beautiful are a source of suspicion, which meansthose who are not beautiful are not considered good at all. Thebeautiful ones are considered straight.
Themessage that these fairy tales teach girls is the idea of being goodin order to have a happy future. Most of them emphasize on the needto have a good future where one is in a happy marriage. This preparesthe young girls in the sense that they envy their wedding days. As achild, listening to such fairy tales meant the greatest asset in lifeis happiness. I would teach these stories to my children as it willmake them prepared for life in terms of doing everything it takes tomake sure that their lives goes to plan. The female child would bethe most impressed and motivated by such stories as the center stageof these tales are usually women who have good characters and a happyfuture.
Brettell,Caroline and Carolyn Sargent. Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective(6th Ed.) Pearson 2013
Ward,Martha and Monica Edelstein. A World Full of Women (6th edition).Pearson 2009.