Stalwarts among women’s rights activists decry social constructs that prescribe gender roles finally amounting to professional prescription. It is natural and justifiable for them to dislike and oppose such reductive prescriptions when women today are soaring in confidence in various matters of intellectual performance, sometimes out smarting men. Women today are seeking new epithets to detail their activity meaning a change from those emollient phrases used to refer to them. They relish a valiant role in society vengefully giving up their roles as potential damsels in distress and embracing saviour models. A fine direction to take, indeed.
But is there any woman who wants to be thought of as any other? We leave lesbians out of this discussion. To the best of my knowledge women still relish being regarded as heiresses of femininity doing those things that are peculiar to them. Here the counter argument about what is desirable or socialisation does not count. A woman is what she is not because conservative society expects her to be so and her behaviour is read through that lens. It is only that nature has such force in the lives of people that they come home to their true selves however much they stray on account of contemporary tutoring or current hype. No woman can find intrinsic joy in regular absence from nurturing. Similarly, no man can stand to his full height if there is nobody in his life looking up to him for protection and guardianship. These are not constructs seeking to compartmentalise the genders but facts that are perennial and that run through the backbone of social existence. A shrew or a virago will continue to repulse both sexes in the same manner as an effeminate man will. If everybody can be everybody else and anything can become anything else, then we don’t need to have a regulated structure at all. Ever since man began to inhabit the earth the best roles for each gender automatically evolved. Do you honestly think primitive man was a chauvinist when he needed help all along from the woman who kept house for him?
Difference is at the root of organization. It is again the rule of attraction. A woman who retorts to a friend that she would rather have her husband do the cooking and housework might as well add that she will take over the garage and electric gadgets plus carpentry. She should show the same valiance in climbing poles and be intrepid for all of it. Spurning one’s duties in the name of junking custom is a futile exercise. Custom is not evil because it existed for long. It is in some respects a recognition of age – old truths conceived at a time when it was not a rage to negate freely. That is what most of us are doing now. Even in the absence of a locus standi we oppose no end and think that we emerge the cleverer for opposing. We should read between the lines of traditional discourse and calibrate our position. Who knows, we may realize that we have been hibernating all the time!