Remember how boys and girls used to separate at each ends of the dance floor? That was the time when everyone was tentative of the first dance experience and was uncomfortable with the existence of the opposite sex. At the ends of the stretched out dance floor were two clearly separated groups of boys and girls, chatting within the group and carefully stealing glances of the opposite ends. Mysterious, yet annoying group seemed to be foreign, and no one dared to cross the dividing line. For a while the floor remained opened and empty, but suddenly some brave souls stepped acrossed the platform and joined the opposite side.
Slowly imitating the others, two groups began to occupy the dance floor. That dance floor was filled with enjoyment at that time, but the real dance floor of life had never been fully occupied. The ends of the dance floor are nevertheless crowed with the same group, uncertain whether to close up the gap between them. But it is a relief to note that the width of the gap has been shortened, and is still undergoing changes. Now the he or she is many times considered as us, as a unity then disregarding of gender differences. One question, however, still remains.
Can the idea of unity truly penetrate the heart of everyone? No matter how close we are to close up the gap between the two genders, there is no definite way of telling how male and female will came to an understanding. Perhaps a step to approach unity is to start at the very beginning. Rules of being a boy and a girl divided the commonality from the day babies came into the world, when the babies were separated and classified by pink and blue. Later on in life before they develop a sense of personal interest, girls are given Barbie’s and kitchenware to play with, while boys toy with plastic tank and G.
I. Joe. The hidden message are secretly sent out to the young kids, and they carry this on with them every since. From that very moment they also set our perspective of different genders. As Theroux would argue, to be a man means to be stupid, be unfeeling, obedient, soldierly and stop thinking. Male are encouraged to be brave, bold, and daring; to be emotionally remote and listens only to the best. The female are traditionally brought up to please everyone and to be sensitive. Sanders further adds another aspect of females. In Looking at Women, he adds that women act as visual stimuli for men.
Our idealism, or rather expectation, for the other gender are set at the very beginning, but these expectation changes as we age. We do not look at the opposite sex as the way we did when we first step onto the dance floor. Sugar, spice, and everything nice, this is the notion girls were brought up with, and this is also the impression girls gave to boys. Boys were the symbols for ruthlessness and boldness. Gender issue appeared as early as the days at kindergarten and the first few years of elementary school. I remember the time the whole class groaned when our teacher enforced a seating chart.
Not only were we separated from our friends, we were also paired up with the opposite sex. I will draw a clearer picture: our student desks were one piece table, which fits two people. The harsh reality of having to share a space is already devastating, but to share it with another gender species was even more unbearable. It was common knowledge that girls have cootie and boys are dirty. We had to do anything we could do avoid being one of the other groups. To cope with the system, we developed some strategies to avoid any type of contact with the seating partner.
Lines were drawn in the middle of the table to mark the territory, and punishment would be acted upon those who crossed that line. Seats are set at the farthest end as possible; this is to eliminate as much body contact as possible. One last strategy we developed was to create excuses to change seats. Some unfortunate people will also find themselves wondering from seats to seats. When it was timed to change seats, you can see the hopeful eyes of every single student in the class in hope to seat by the same species. It was true that girls and boys were from different planets.
Maybe we are not that alien after all. Later years in elementary schools girls and boys started to show interest to each other. The forbidden topic of the other species found its way through conversations. There was an acceptance of the other gender and these feelings were mutual. Girls are still the same creatures that have cooties, but there was something cute about the way they are; boys still have not learned how to clean up but they are interesting to be with. Curiosity attracted us to reach to a point of understanding. Then there was the first school dance.
This was the anticipated event and also the most frightening. As we tiptoed across the floor to reach out for the other group, we started another chapter of the gender differences. After the innocent dance floor age arrived the stage of physical attraction. The beautiful will always be the center of the attention: the gorgeous girls of the class will always have boys flocking around them. We also developed a consensus on how the dream person should be, and we got these images either from the media or from an elder person. All of a sudden all the boys were lusting over girls with buttocks and chests.
Sander experienced this and agreed, Until that moment, it had never made any difference to me how much or little a girls clothing revealed, for my imagination had been entirely devoted to other mysteries. This phenomenon also happens in the girls group, a phenomenon that broke down the barrier between the sexes. What the adults told us about not to look at the outside, but whats inside seemed to be none sense. Something that is outdated and did not relate to us. The physical attraction never died down; not even aging will prove it different. Yet we attached some other reason along with the idea of dating.
People starting to acquire boyfriends or girlfriends for the reason of pride. Pride which sets a higher status in the social group. During high school the idea of dating flourished and everyone seemed to be in the rush to have someone beside him or her. Societal need became another reason for dating. Needs which created many false ideas of falling in love or understanding each other. It seemed like a secret how everyone was using each other just for their person needs, and dating is just one way of getting respect. This thirst for respect created competitions, which turned friends into competitors.
Girls starting dressing for the men, as Sanders pointed out. Boys compete with each other to attract the popular girls. Everyone competed with each other to attract the attention of the popular groups, in hope to reach recognition of the group and be a part of them. This adds irony to the understanding of the genders. Genders species that ones considered alienated in the dance floor time became the objects of hunt. I believe that some of us might still be in that hunt, the chase for respect and recognition through dating. As we grew older, our perspective changed.
Some of us start concentrating on the future. With that realization some of us began to notice that something was missing then just the physical attraction. We started to pay more attention of other things, such as personality and intelligence. We saw the reality, that looks cannot guarantee happiness. It is also at this point men and women began to differ in their expectation of date choice. Women started to consider the personality as a part of the person. Men, some of them, are still trapped in the physical beauty. Men had the excuse of being more hormonal, and their acts are mainly driven by it.
This did not effect the women as much as it did, and the two started to develop a different standard for each other. As we age our expectation for life changes. So did the concept of the opposite sex. Although physical attraction remains the gateway of understanding, we now focus beyond just the physical attraction, into the connection of another human soul. Males perspective of a woman is no longer very different then females perspective of male. But that did not close the gap between us. Of the many attempts we made to understand each other, we received few answers.
Maybe it is because that we really are too different from each other, with different perspectives for life and different expectations. Or it might be that we gave up that equality to keep our differences. As long as group individuality exists is it not easy to find the common ground between the two. But there is no definite way of life, and the future remains unpredicted. Gender issue is something that every one of us is uncertain of the outcome. We are now living in a society, which already started to notice the difference, and is changing for the best. I cannot hope that the gap to be filled any time soon, but it is worth the wait.