"Male privilege is a concept within sociology for examining social, economic and political advantages or rights that are available to men solely on the basis of of their sex. A man's access to these benefits may vary depending on how closely they match their society's ideal masculine norm (Wikipedia)."
I'm on a mission to remove gender roles in 2019. Can we all stop assigning ourselves and others to certain tasks to do in our daily lives because of our genders? Many years ago, women were only assigned to take care of the home and children and we have gone far beyond those roles today, and breaking glass ceilings everyday in this society.
During this photo shoot, I met a woman who is a truck driver. Yep, that's right a woman hauling loads across these United States of America highways. It was perfect timing to meet her during this photo shoot. Women can do, anything that men can do.... let me repeat myself, women can do anything that men can do! Now before we get our panties into a bunch. I'm not here to do any male bashing. I'm simply stating that a woman's role in life should be WHATEVER the hell it is that makes her heart smile.
We are seeing more and more women take on roles in our courtrooms to the highest skyscraper boardrooms. More women are becoming tech geniuses and engineers. I know women who do not like cooking and cleaning but can change a flat tire with one blink of their eyes. We as women can still be feminine and take on roles that have been traditionally assigned to men only. After all, historically, in our culture, no matter their race, women have really been the masterminds behind the men who has led the forefronts in life, business and politics. Look at Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabezz, Michelle Obama, Winnie Mandela and so many more.
I'm always saying I'm a tomboy because I prefer wearing jeans and flats over heels and dresses any given day. I'll climb a tree for fun, or get under the hood of my car and figured out how to add brake fluid to my car or check on anything else that's connected to my engine. My grandfather recently passed away and years ago, he was a mechanic and some days I would go with him to work at the shop and would sit in the cars pretending to drive them while he was working on them. I got to answer the phones every now and then with his boss but I was more intrigued by what was under that hood and watching his face light up as he resolved whatever problems the car had.
I can remember my mother telling me similar stories about her and my grandfather spending time under the hood of cars and that was how she learned how to be the independent woman that she is today. She taught me how to not let anyone put me in any box just because of my gender. I was the only girl in grammar school, trading basketball cards with the boys and my mother bought the cards for me so that my binder could be just like, if not better than, my male classmates.
Playing the roles of a damsel in distress is so played out and does not fit with the current times. Removing gender roles promotes equal opportunity every time, no matter where you are in life. Although I am in a female dominated field which is blogging and as a consultant, I still try to remove gender roles in my business and brand. For example, unequal pay amongst genders is one of the biggest ongoing challenges in America. Women are often paid less than men for doing the exact same things. So a male blogger would likely get paid more for a sponsored post than I would.
I really want us to go after the things that brings us joy without worrying about our gender and what other people will say. Maybe you work in an environment where woman aren't created equal or there is not one woman who has a leadership position. It may be the perfect opportunity for you to step your game up and get in those higher leveled positions than working in the human resource department or as an executive assistant (no offense to anyone currently working in those positions. Those are great positions and I've had the honor of working both of those jobs in my past work experience). I'm not against either of those positions...... I've worked in both positions before. What I am saying here, especially in the workplace is, don't let the male ego keep you from going after positions that you know you qualify for but you are too afraid to leave your comfort zone.
I am also removing gender roles in my relationship. I am usually the cook and cleaning person between the two of us in our relationship. However, there are some meals that I prefer for my boyfriend to cook (he can cook a mean T-bone steak) and he will help me clean up around the house with no problem every now and then. We established early on in our relationship that we don't do things based on our genders. I don't expect him to do "manly" things around the house and neither does he expects me to do "womanly" things. We do what we're comfortable doing and that's it. If the garbage needs to be emptied, I'll empty it. If a toilet or sink stops up, I'll try to fix it first before calling on my partner. When I get off of work somedays, he'll have the dishes washed. Simple and easy living because we haven't defined our relationship by gender roles.
I know in some two parent households, some fathers prefer to be more hands on with the children while the mother is taking care of the financial stability for the family. Again, I solely believe in doing whatever works for your relationship or workplace environment that promotes equality for all. In an article written by Frederic Neuman M.D. of Psychology Today, he stated that, "Financial matters: Not long ago, it seemed that husbands were more likely to be in charge of the family finances. Now, I think that either spouse may end up managing the bank accounts, paying the mortgage and, in general, dealing with the budget—although, often enough, no one is dealing with the budget in our black communities, regardless of gender. It is common now for husbands and wives to have separate checking accounts. Somewhat less common is the practice of some couples of keeping their funds separate. This is especially true if couples are living together, but not yet married (Psychology Today, 2019)."
The norm in my household or work environment may be different than yours but regardless of socio-economic, religious, political beliefs or gender, we all deserve to be treated fairly and equal to our male counterparts. This year, I hope you will join me in totally removing gender roles from every aspect of your life. Having sexiest beliefs that defines male privilege, is outdated and a disservice to the women (and men) who historically fought for our equal rights in this country and now worldwide, to be seen as more than property, at the disposal of men's egos and being used by men at their leisure. Whatever your gender is, don't place roles on the opposite sex. Instead, collaborate with each other to effectively work together in this current and future society. I'll leave you with this final quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, "Culture does not make people. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture."