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Changing Roles Of Women

“Honey, I’m Home” now doesn’t even have a gender orientation to it, but only 30 years ago it referred to the “bread-winner” (the man of the house) coming home after a long day of work greeting his wife. This idea of male dominance is shown in the text Mirror on America, in the picture where the groom is holding his wife who is drastically smaller than him, showing some sort of dominance a male has over a female (63). It is also shown in the picture where the man looks like he came home from a long day of work and waiting for his wife to serve him dinner (62).

Nowadays it’s a little different most women are employed full-time and have to come home to clean and cook for their families. Unfortunately, things are almost exactly the same the if not harder for women because now they not only have to cook and clean, but they also have to work. Dave Barry, the author of the essay “The Ugly Truth about Beauty”, in the text Mirror on America believes women are too concerned with the way they look.

He implies that women are never satisfied with their look, while all men “think of themselves as average looking” (35) . Women feel they have to strive to enhance their looks because the image society portrays of “beauty” is far from the average woman’s features. The author relays this message when he talks about supermodel Cindy Crawford giving out makeup tips: Cindy had all these middle-aged women applying beauty products to their faces; she stressed how important it was to apply them in a certain way, using the tips of their fingers.

All the women dutifully did this, even though it was obvious to any sane observer that, no matter how carefully they applied these products, they would never look remotely like Cindy Crawford, who is some kind of genetic mutation. (35) Unfortunately, everyone even me has been affected by society’s view on beauty. I believe my view on “beauty” is very similar to that of most men. I believe a person’s beauty is easily enhanced by their personality. The character and personality of a person is determined by their experience, background and childhood.

Children are influenced greatly by their surroundings as well as their role models whether they are good or bad role models to have. The insecurities women have about their looks are due to their upbringing. I think the toys they played with the things they did were all major causes of how they feel about themselves. For example, the things that just for little girls, like dolls, playing house, playing tea party, and the easy bake oven. Little girls see these dolls and try to emulate everything they do, even their figure and appearance.

A great example of this is in the text Mirror on America, Gloria Borger the author of the essay “Barbie’s Newest Values” gives us some views on how a simple little doll like Barbie affects the lives of women. The makers of Barbie, Mattel have decided to change Barbie’s figure to make her features not so unrealistic. Barbie is “getting new breasts (smaller), a new waist (wider), and a different mouth (closed)”, this change Mattel hopes will make Barbie’s looks a little more attainable (39).

Lets be honest all little girls see Barbie and have this need to look and be like her, Barbie portrays exactly society’s view on “beauty”, slender, tall, big boobs and a small waist. This is why the gen X-ers (whatever that means) feel “that Barbie has hurt their self-image” (39). On the other hand the poem “Rite of Passage” by Sharon Olds, also in the text Mirror on America shows us how little boys are affected by society. Her poem is about her son and his friends at her son’s birthday party. In the poem she shows us that male chauvinistic ideas are shown in little boys, even at the age of six or seven.

She conveys this message when she writes “How old are you? Six. I’m seven. So? [] I could beat you up, a seven says to a six” (51). I think it’s funny how little boys and little girls are brought up so differently, one is expected to be feisty and mischievous and the other is supposed to be calm and obedient. I interviewed two females about the changing role of women in our society. One was my mother, who recalled a time right after she got married in India. She had to move into her mother-in-law’s house to learn how to cook.

My mother told me that she had to clean and cook for the whole family, but now my mom works full-time and does all the housework with a little help. She is glad that things have changed and women now can choose to work or stay home with the children. The other person I interviewed was one of my peers, she is a college freshman right now. She was telling me although many things dealing with the roles of women have changed, most of them are pretty much the same. For example, a women is still expected to cook and clean even if she works full-time.

She also said she wasn’t planning on having children (I do hope she was kidding), but she did say she wanted to get married. I think she said this because she doesn’t want to lead the normal life of the average woman. In my eyes the normal life of the average woman consists of going to school, graduating, getting a job, getting married, having children, and taking care of the children and house while working at a job. If we look at history the world has unfortunately always been a male dominated society. The role of a woman is society is slowly changing.

In the article “Flying Solo” from Time magazine August 8, 2000 the author Tamala M. Edwards explains how now its ok for a woman to never get married and be single all her life. Edwards quotes Philadelphia psychotherapist Diana Adile Kirschner when she writes the “We’ve ended the spinster era” (48). For those of you who don’t know what a spinster is (which I didn’t before reading this article), a spinster was a derogatory term used towards unmarried older females. Edwards later writes “Single by choice – it’s an empowering statement for many women”, showing that many woman don’t feel it is necessary to get married.

The poll Time magazine took shows only 24% of women definitely want to get married. So as we all can see the role of women has changed, but hopefully it will continually keep changing until there is some sort of equilibrium between the roles of men and women. I personally want to be a house-dad (male version of the house-wife) because I want to see my children grow up and I don’t mind cooking and cleaning. So hopefully when I get to that age when I have kids it won’t be looked down upon to be a father staying at home taking care of his kids.

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