Gen­der Stereo­types not en­tirely bad

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Nas­tia Ily­ina

Forced stereo­types are not healthy. But, this does not mean that we should erad­i­cate stereo­typ­i­cal images from the me­dia, lit­er­a­ture and even re­li­gion, rather we should re­spect their ori­gins and re­main ed­u­cated about them.

Peo­ple are pur­pose­ful crea­tures that un­like pets or wild an­i­mals can­not just laze away all day only tak­ing breaks from nap­ping to eat. Hu­mans have gone over and above that with a whole list of psy­cho­log­i­cal needs lined up straight af­ter if not along­side the phys­i­cal ones.

Many of us strug­gle to find hap­pi­ness in ev­ery­day life and are seek­ing a bet­ter job, a bet­ter liv­ing sit­u­a­tion, a bet­ter body shape and so on, and reach­ing to­wards those goals gives a pur­pose to what we do. How­ever, find­ing that pur­pose can be the most chal­leng­ing task of all.

So, how do stereo­types fit into it all? Stereo­types are the di­rec­tion that we could take.

Deny­ing all stereo­types and want­ing to achieve is like ex­pect­ing to reach a des­ti­na­tion with­out any di­rec­tions. Per­haps hav­ing a road to fol­low first would speed up the jour­ney, and if this road is not the one that works, you take another un­til you are happy with where you are go­ing.

At the end of the day, we must not be scared to al­low stereo­types into our re­la­tion­ships. Com­ing from Rus­sia, a fairly

tra­di­tional so­ci­ety where fam­ily val­ues are passed on from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion, em­bed­ded in our minds is the in­struc­tions of our par­ents, and in the fam­ily mod­els we see all around us, tra­di­tional val­ues are just as im­por­tant as ac­cept­ing that they will adapt to the times.

My grand­mother would scold me for be­ing messy, ar­gu­ing that no­body will marry me, and so did my mother when I pre­sented her with another failed at­tempt at cook­ing. Per­haps this should not be such a big deal, but now I look back and think that find­ing a life part­ner is not all about the culi­nary skill, but it can def­i­nitely be a de­light­ful bond. The tur­bu­lent times of my youth have passed, the times when I was ready to march down the street with a ban­ner protest­ing “kitchen slav­ery” and deny­ing that chil­dren are the sole pur­pose of a woman. Now, a clear re­al­iza­tion has come to me, and I am not forced or ex­pected to ful­fill “wom­anly” du­ties. It brings plea­sure to take care of oth­ers in the house and a sim­ple thank you in re­turn makes it all worth­while. So, why shouldn’t we ac­cept that there are roles? Should all women drop their mops and cook­ing pans and start solely do­ing hand­i­work to prove a point? All I am sug­gest­ing here is a mid­dle ground. There is noth­ing wrong with hav­ing stereo­types; it’s a mat­ter of how to in­ter­pret them that makes all the dif­fer­ence. We will never be pro­tected from stereo­types. There’s no point deny­ing them, and like at many points in life, com­mon sense al­ways goes a long way.

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