boys vs girls

Bunch of kids, originally uploaded by Pierre Galin.

What a beautiful shot of boys in Chennai, India. I love the pureness of happiness in their faces and the sparkles that show intelligence in their eyes. Completely unrelated, but the picture reminded me of photographer Borges’s lecture.

Borges met more boys from small and poor communities around the world that weren’t shy about getting their pictures taken than girls. It was not because girls didn’t like pictures but was a result of their cultures. Boys get more opportunities and priorities in a community when resource is limited. Girls have to take care of the homes; their personal development is secondary and nonexistent. So while boys are curious and eager to explore new ideas, girls hide in the background. Girls’ perception of their social status become a limiting factor to their behavior in terms how open they are relating to the world. It becomes an automated inhibition or suppression for these girls to become educated, independent and productive human beings on their own terms and for the sake of their own happiness.

A while back, a friend forwarded me a CL post written by a guy I knew. He griped about women using their gender as an excuse to not have a career, among many other “common” unattractive qualities amongst women he met. This comment was very unfair and caused my girlfriends to be very angry. I was displeased as well. It was not because I disagreed with the comment itself; I strongly believe that career ambition ought not be gender specific. However, there are many socially and culturally entrenched “norms” that unconsciously, implicitly cause of these symptoms that the guy observed. Publishing words like, which may even be untrue, sets the tone and image of what a society sees in women. It’s demeaning instead of empowering to women in general. (I realize I’m exaggerating the significance of influence of this CL post. words like that actually exist in our daily lives.)

1) There are many women with strong career goals, he probably just hasn’t met them because they will be very unlikely to hang out at CL.

2) Even in today’s western world, women have less opportunities to develop their career than men. In the corporate world, women still feel that they have to work much harder than men in order to advance. This results in women being discourage from even pursuing that path.

3) Women are commonly taught more domestic skills growing up, prepping them for the role in their adult hood while it’s not expected of men. Girls’ personal development on things that could potentially be beneficial for their future career is replaced by time spent on learning domestic chores. It is more socially acceptable for men not to be domestically oriented.

4) It turned out that women taking care of children and household while men going to work seem an efficient arrangement. In today’s world, the alternative is not to have children at all or have children and be irresponsible parents. Neither of them is desirable.

With that said, I would challenge you to observe if there is any gender gap or racial gap where there shouldn’t be. I challenge you to to ask the question of what may have contributed to it. Instead of “griping” about it, can you do or say things that are empowering to revert the trend?

This entry was posted by Maya.

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