This is a very interesting piece on Jada Pinkett Smith‘s efforts to raise sons in an environment that is “hostile” to men.
I know this blog’s focus is the way women are (mis)represented in the media. But I don’t think we can talk about women without also talking about men.
I think Jada makes valid points about the burden stereotypical expectations of men create. The provider whose only value is the paycheck he brings home is definitely an issue. I have seen plenty of female friends turn their noses up at a decent guy, and go for a guy who isn’t as nice because he made more money. And each time, that guy treated them like GARBAGE because he knew they were there just for the money. This perpetuates so many negative stereotypes about both genders, I don’t think it needs further explanation.
Another valid point is the fact that men aren’t expected to explore their feelings or express emotion. I think the consequences of this can be seen in the fact that men are almost always the culprits in violent mass shootings and rapes. We all know how bad it feels to carry negative emotions inside for awhile. But women are definitely allowed more outlets for expressing their feelings, while men are expected to bottle it all up. The issue here is for society to begin accepting that it’s ok for men to express themselves without being seen as effeminate or weak.
As our societies continue to rethink and reshape the roles we all play, we should definitely focus on the gender roles that have been passed down to us over thousands of years. Do they work? Are they still relevant?
One thing we need to be wary of as women, though, is men co-opting the advances we make for ourselves. I have seen women get stuck in a pattern of working a 9-5 job, then coming home to a husband who doesn’t help around the house. She is not only working a 9-5, now she is cooking and cleaning everything, too. This is not an ideal that either gender should strive for.