One of my favorite movies of all time is Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits. If you haven’t seen it it’s quite difficult to explain, but there is one line in particular I have always found useful in every day situations. In a gang of characters, the following dialogue takes place.
Character 1: “No, we agreed we’d have no leaders!”
Character 2: “Right! Now do as I say.”
I could be crazy, but I think this kind of mentality is standing in the way of gender equality for both men and women, but maybe particularly women. Tell me if you’ve seen or heard conversations like this before:
“Women should be allowed to do whatever they want. Women that do xyz are pretty dumb though.”
“Stop telling women what to do. They should really do this.”
“Young girls are growing up in an age when they can look forward to doing whatever they want when they’re grown up. They should really excel in science and math.”
To quote Will Ferrell’s character from Zoolander, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.”
Let’s talk about this discussion
OK, so…when you say “She can do whatever she wants,” what does that really mean? To me, and tell me if I’m way off, that means, “She can do whatever she wants.” That means that if a woman wants to become the world’s greatest physicist, she should be able to do that. If a woman wants to stay at home and eat bon bons all day while her sugar daddy works, she should be able to do that. If a woman wants to work out of her home, she should be able to do that. And these women should be able to do these things without seeing raised eyebrows.
Raised eyebrows are creepy in large numbers.
Now, if you have opinions about how women (or men) should live their lives, more power to you. Most people have opinions about something, scientific studies show. However, voice these opinions in a truthful fashion. Instead of saying, “Don’t tell women what to do,” say something like, “If I ruled the world, this is what women would do.” Or maybe, if you’re feeling less ambitious, “Here’s how I live my life and why I think it’s good.”
Why tear people down?
What is really bothersome about these “Don’t tell women what to do” posts is that they seem to knock women off their game more than to stand up for women, but it’s all done in a very back-handed way. “Don’t tell women what to do. They should really do this.” Well, that insinuates that if you’re not doing “this” you’re doing something wrong. The same holds true for men. Why write a post saying, “Well, men need to do this that and the other thing” when really you are just verbalizing YOUR opinion about how men should live their lives? It’s rife with judgment, it doesn’t make sense, and dare I say, it’s rather much a hypocritical approach.
No one *should* do anything, really. People don’t even have to take care of themselves if they don’t want to. Until you are deemed the great ruler of the lower segment of the universe, it’s really not your business how other folks live or what other people tell those folks to do.
Am I right?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/table4five/2434005564/ via Creative Commons