THE DEATH OF GENDER-DEFINED ROLES

Quick question: would you hire a welder to do delicate carpentry work for you or a mechanic to mend your torn trousers simply because of his state of origin or gender even if the appropriately-skilled person is available? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, go to the next paragraph. If you answered ‘no’, skip it and go on to paragraph three.

So you answered ‘yes’. I’m sorry, you are a fool beyond redemption and you have failed life. In all likelihood, your villagers have put most of your sense inside a calabash somewhere and thrown it into a forest where it is equally likely that a hyena found it and took a dump on top of it . Accept my sincere condolences. Good luck with you truck-pushing, pit latrine cleaning or whatever other occupation you can obtain with whats left of your sense. You can stop reading now.

So you answered ‘no’. Hello and welcome to today’s post.

Optimization. Common sense. Utilize the best tool for a specific task. Get the most benefit for the least amount of effort. Whichever way you choose to put it, that’s what it’s all about. Optimization.

Seeing as how optimization is such a basic principle, I find it hard to understand why so many people seem to out-rightly reject and refuse to apply this in what is quite possibly the most important area of their lives: Relationships (and eventually, marriage). Instead we cling to ancient (and quite frankly, mostly misogynistic) preconceptions of what relationships functions should be. The man should do this. The woman should do that. Based on what exactly? How does the fact that you have a Penis make you wiser than the other members of the human race suffering Penile challenges? How does the fact that you have a vagina automatically make you more caring and loving than those of us suffering the curse of the perpetually erect organ?

Consider this carefully, Is there a special place where young people are taken and taught the skills that are ‘expected’ of their gender? No. Not really. At least, not any more. This may have been true of ancient civilizations past, where gender-based training was normal and consequently, gender-defined roles were assigned. For 21st century adults with no such rigid cultural, gender-based training, the idea of gender-based roles and functions is DEAD. As dead as the brain cells of anyone who has watched ‘Blackberry babes’ more than three times. All that’s left of it are the ‘feelings’ of certain myopic individuals stubbornly holding on to the relics of times past, in an era where they no longer have any real meaning or value.

YEs, this makes perfect sense... -___________-

Who says the man MUST pay the children’s school fees? Who says the woman MUST be the one to give up her job because the man has to move for his own career? Who says the woman MUST be the one to do the laundry and clean house? Don’t get me wrong, if it works for you then by all means, please go ahead and do it that way. But if it doesn’t come naturally, then don’t force it; optimize.

There are women that are natural leaders. They run million-dollar businesses, lead teams into dangerous terrain and possess organizational and analytical skills that would make even OCD patients drool with envy. Why then should they be relegated to play second fiddle to a husband that is obviously not their equal (in this specific respect)? In the same vein, there are men who are natural followers. They make great vice-presidents, team members and are pillars of support for several community/charity groups but they don’t have the natural leadership tendency, they don’t even want to be in that position. Why should they be forced to accept the role of leadership in the home? The most important unit of society? I put it to you that choosing the head of the home based on possession of a penis is about as foolish as choosing someone to manage your business solely based on where he/she was born. Gender-based role assignments are the last bastion of culturally accepted sexism in the world. Some men aren’t even qualified to be ‘head of Penis’ much less ‘head of home’. And some women should not even be let near dolls, much less actual children. Possession or lack of a certain organ does not equip you with the skills you need to perform a role. Natural inclination, interest and training does.

Ah! Wait, can you hear that? That lashing sound? Yes, I can hear the Religious adherents whipping out their ‘bible belts’ and ‘Koran canes’ to flog me. I hear some of you quoting the bible saying the man MUST be the head of the home and as such must take on the major responsibilities. Yeah, yeah, I know:

 “…and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” 1 Cor 11:3

I’m going to go out on a limb here and speak my mind. Being the head means being in a position to make the best decisions for your family. Sometimes the wise decision to make as the ‘head’ is to hand over authority to the more qualified person. Men, If you are blessed to have a wife that has more opportunities than you, is the wise decision not to let her take full advantage of them? Even to your own detriment? You say you’d catch a grenade for her, well then, leave the grenades aside, take a bullet to your ego and let logic win over pride. Women, you say you love this man more than life itself, do you love him enough to let him be himself without mockery, scorn, disdain or emasculation?

The real trick to all this as I said is Optimize. Let whoever is better qualified to perform a role, do so. That way, everyone is happy and no one feels forced to do anything. This is otherwise known as the “whatever works” principle. Let it the relationship work the way it should, not the way you imagine it should based on some prehistoric doctrines and baseless preconceptions.

I know some ladies will be waving their panties in the air screaming “Yes! Yes! Yes!” like a flag of victory and doing back-flips when they read this. I’m sorry, but it’s not feminist propaganda, it’s simply a statement of hard logic. I consider myself to be a reasonable person (perhaps too reasonable) and reason leads me to this conclusion. It has nothing to do with who is head or tail or intestine or tongue of the house or whatever. It’s simply a cry for balance and the removal of needless pressures from the necks of either party in a relationship (especially marriage). As much as we like to generalize, and say men are this or women are that, the truth is: We are all different. No two men are alike and no two women are the same. So why impose a one-size fits all policy of relationship roles? Adapt. Optimize. Its common-bloody-sense.

At least to me it is.

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50 thoughts on “THE DEATH OF GENDER-DEFINED ROLES

  1. you know, I ignored the warning and went ahead to read the second paragraph anyway.., and I’m still laughing, no, crying laugh-tears.. *sniff* .. Yea, so the logic in this post was obvious from the start. Gender based roles in a relationship are long gone (or should be)..
    Very well said.. (as usual).. 🙂

  2. Although there is no place where young people go to learn gender roles, they are taught to us (mostly subliminally) from birth, and i think the hardest traits to let go of are the ones not taught to us explicitly. So while it may be easy to say it’s hard to do.
    That being said I like the “what works rule” growing up i had the “weird” parents but they made it work…
    Totally ignoring your statement and waving my feminist flag by the way *burn bras burrrrn* 😀

    • So you are waving pata? or is it shimi?

      I know its not easy, but the truth is, all the subliminal ‘training’ we get is just innuendo. Nobody actually takes the time to teach them anymore and all it does it put pressure on people to be what they are not prepared to be. I say, scrap it. Easy or not…

      #TeamWhateverWorks

  3. Ok…wole went hard on this post…first of all I believe ds post was influenced by “teamcommando”..penis penis everywhere…
    2ndly lemme optimize…

    Optimizing X
    The constraint – http://highlandblue.wordpress.com/
    Subject to
    X > @orijesu
    Non- negativity – x > 0, y > 0

    Applying simplex tableu
    Final solution
    =Primal-@ibeta
    =Dual- @orijesu…

    Maximizing and optimization of X…@orijesu…are u GAME????

  4. Very well said. (read the second paragraph tho, LOL I’m in tears). Its easy to agree with you because it is common sense, but like Sabirah said, easier said than done, a lot of african (cantel speak for other cultures) parents still dissuade their children from certain professions that are believed to be ‘mens jobs’. You also often see the male children of the family lounging in front of tv while the mothers fervently teach the daughters to turn amala so they can do it well for their husbands.
    So while it is common sense to apply the whatever works principle, men and women will continue to be brought up with ideas like these, maybe when their generation die out, when we raise our own to raise theirs based on skill as opposed to gender, maybe then, we might finally be rid of gender defined roles. (sorry abt the length)

    • Well, if one is trained to perform these roles, and finds a partner willing to accept, them so be it. I speak against the undue pressure that many of us feel to be in positions we simply should not be in.

      I know its easier said than done and this post means little.. but still, its my blog, my opinion, I just hope someone, somewhere gets the point and tries…

      Length is no problem 🙂

  5. Lmao @ d second paragraph! On point! (Y). Ironically I had ds discussion wit sm1 earlier, dese pre conceptions can be said to be d cause of most problems in relationships. Pple should go into relatnshps without such, n settle for what works for dem. Brilliant piece. 🙂

  6. @griffinthinks …..I have no idea :S …I was drunk wen I did all that…damn!

    @hignlandblue …boo-boo I am here…I will nt propose to u I am nt from india and I will nt buy u flowers for u re nt gay..  n gifts…no pb I can gladly do and eRrrr let’s see on the ceiling 😀

  7. The first paragraph is irrelevant and has no correlation to the entire post. The second paragraph shows your desperate and failed attempt to come off like you know what you’re saying. Absolutely pathetic. The theatre of your mind is indeed myopic

    • Ah, you found your way here, aye? If you don’t see the correlation between the first paragraph and the rest, then you, my friend are the one suffering myopia.

      Let me put it in terms that even a child can understand: Assigning roles and functions based on gender, tribe, or any other attribute that is not grounded with proper preparation, is stupidity and if you dont believe that, then I cant discuss with you.

  8. Nice post. However, I’d disagree with your opinion. You have clearly written with worldly wisdom. The problem with humanity is that we go ahead with our lives believing we know everything – we have all the answers. We hit a stumbling block and we apply this ‘wisdom’ you’ve applied here. You honestly think your logic is the solution to the myriads of problems we’ve caused for ourselves?

    Any logic that deviates from the word of God – the bible is foolishness. The solution is this: Seek God first in all you do, walk with him, he is the good shepard & he’ll never lead you astray. With God, you won’t have to try to prove anything to anyone in the first place e.g gender bias, etc. You’re looking for a life partner, seek God 1st. You’re looking for a job, the same thing. Worldly wisdom has never been known to solve problems. Remember, things have been settled in the spiritual before physical manifestation. You search for solutions in the wrong place

    • I don’t consider this opinion to be a deviation from the word of God, merely a qualification and interpretation. I believe a man can be head of his home and yet let his wife of any other person who is in a position to do so, manage affairs that he has little or no ability/interest to deal with himself, even if its his son or brother.

      One can be president and yet leave all issues of money in the hands of a much more qualified person – Say the minister of finance. Its not negligence of duty, it is common sense.

    • In my opinion, the bible is literature……literature by man for man. If God created people before the bible existed then we should be able to make decisions and live our lives like the bible didn’t exist.

      I am disappointing in folks who are incapable of having a discussion without referencing the oldest literature called the bible.

      But then again, what do I know?

      I’m just me with my lame opinions……

  9. And my argument is this: To every cause there’s an effect. What is the reason for all these, man has refused to walk with God. The bible already said it: ‘A man who cannot take care of his home is worse than an infidel’. This is your quote: ” is in a position to do so, manage affairs that he has little or no ability/interest to deal with himself”. Why in the first place would a woman marry a man that has no interest in taking responsibility (cause) and when this happens (effect) you come up with a logic such as this which you have presented here.

    What you should emphasize here is the strength and weaknesses of a union between a man & wife. The man knows he’s weak in some areas where his wife is strong and vice versa. Realizing this, they work as a team – with the woman still recognizing her husband as the head of the family. All in accordance to the word of God. Not the way you’re projecting it. This is also applicable to other areas of our lives

    • I have a feeling that we could have a very long argument about this.

      If you look past the basics, you’ll see that you’ve missed my point here, which is, who exactly decides what specific role is for whom? ‘Take care of his home’… does it mean to secure it? tend the garden? Lead spiritual matters, if any? pay the childrens fees? Manage finances? What? Who says taking care of the home doesnt include looking after the children? These are the specifics which I dont agree with.

      The term ‘head’ of the home is very ambiguous when it comes to specifics.

  10. Lol. I’m sorry Priest but I won’t disregard your second comment cos that happens to be my exact question. Thinktankt, even your name’s an irony. What is the purpose of paragraph 2?

    • Why you mad tho?
      Its obvious that you are a provocateur with little or nothing sensible to add. Which would have been mildly entertaining if it werent so sad and pathetic. These will be the last few bytes of computer memory I will waste responding to you.

      Enjoy yourself! 🙂

  11. Wole, you left the boundaries of context a bit too loose.

    Would you rather a male nurse poke your ass with an injection or a female nurse?

    Would you rather take your kids (boy/girl) to a daycare facility and have only male minders receive them?

    Certain professions or activities are better disposed to one gender as opposed to the other.

    Women programmers make less errors than men. Female cashiers serve customers faster than male cashiers.

    A word of praise and a pat on the back from my dad definitely feels different from the same from my mum…..

    When a baby cries, automatically his/her mother begins to lactate,urged to nurse and comfort the child. This isn’t logic, it is biology.

    All over the world, statistics show that some roles are better suited for certain professions/roles.

    I don’t disagree with your opinions expressed in this post but I think you’d only be right within certain contexts.

    *I’m a talkative so no apologies for my long comment*
    **Gbagauns/typos and grammar errors are copyrighted**

    • To be fair, he did say ‘optimize’ i.e. the best person for the job should do the job regardless of gender….. I don’t think he was advocating a ‘cut off your nose to spite your gender-defined face’ type of attitude….

      • Nail on head Mia!

        @Lagoshunter: Its true I may have overemphasized one aspect and not put so much emphasis on context. But I did throw it in there.

        While it may or may not be true that 90% of the time, men make better finance decisions, breadwinners or whichever role they choose to play and women cook better, and handle babies better or whatever, it does not mandate a law saying that it MUST be that way. As Mia pointed out- optimize.

  12. To paraphrase an old blog post of mine, I have no patience for gender defined roles in general. I wasn’t raised that way and happily don’t currently live with or around people who reinforce them on me.

    BUT I do think they remain in place, for solid (albeit daft) reasons, in countries with less entrenched equal opportunity laws….in a country where a woman will hardly ever earn as much as a man, simply because she is not a man, there is a vicious cycle in which the man feels he ought to be the main/sole breadwinner because, well, society rewards him financially on the basis that he is the main/sole breadwinner.

    Women often can’t step out of these roles even if they wanted to. The answer of course is more feminist lobbying for equal pay etc, but in countries where food, light, water and health are priorities, people sadly don’t have a lot of patience for bra burning.

    Great post. You please me, minion. Assume the position and await your reward….*slides whip through hands*

  13. May I add that lots of women are wearing the pants in their homes and covering it up well.women are doing it all..boardroom to labour ward and back in a jiffy.
    So What is the idea here?
    The world has long left the whole boys don’t cry ..girls are soft stereotyping behind. Only very few and those would be the illiterates who are still in that mould of thinking
    Parents are more open to encourage and support their females who take on a masculine attitudeto things these days.
    This is a topic of the 90’s.
    Everyone has freedom..the issue now is this:::the women out there in the rural areas..how much has their lives improved?
    Do they have the freedom to make choices?how about female education?
    How about contraceptive use’family planning and child care?
    Maybe restricting this post to the mould of a relationship would have made it a more exciting one(u know that’s what tickles everyone )

    • Funny thing is, I’m tempted to agree with you that is it an outdated issue, yet, even today, I run into young, educated Nigerians who still believe that the man MUST do this, and the woman MUST do that. In fact this post was inpired by one such argument with two of them, one of whom said her husband MUST pay the childrens fees, regardless of who earned more money or any other circumstance. But why?
      And these are not villagers, they are well educated Nigerians attending one of the most prestigious universities in the world. so no, its not a topic for the 90’s… even though it should be.

  14. We have a problem when reference is made to the bible. But we don’t have issues when references are made to the karma sutra manual for sexual position. The writer made reference to the bible therefore it is tenable in this argument.

  15. I’m glad I finally got to read this post. I’ll try n keep my comment as short as possible.
    Wole I agree with most of what u’v said…scratch that I agree with all u’v said. Frankly even the Bible doesn’t DEFINE the roles of either gender. What it does do is give u a working principle for ur home. One of my pastors, one I respect extremely and ironically whose wife earns way more than he does, made me understand the passage u quoted differently. What is being spoken about in dat passage is spiritual headship, not in terms of heirarchy but more in terms of how God views d family relationship spiritually. The relationship between Christ and the Church is d parallel dat is used. What the man does physically in the home is completely irrelevant to his spiritual position. So if d wife is better suited to what society considers to be male roles, by all means let her do those things.
    @LagosHunter: On the Bible matter o, I disagree with u. While the Bible was written by man, only someone without faith would say it’s inspiration isn’t divine, which is what u say when u simply refer to it as literature and nothing more. Christianity has never been about logic, it is about faith. Man’s logic at it’s zenith is still what it is, man’s logic. We did not create ourselves, hence we are incapable of living optimized lives by ourselves. But hey this is my opinion as well…so *shrug*
    Great job Wole…sorry for d long comment, just needed to drop my 2 cents. Oh n yeah, u should consider Toxic’s advise.

    • Even though this comment is obviously based on a christian view and I tried not to make this a religious debate (although, yeah, I did quote the bible because I do believe in it…to some extent…hhmmmm) its very true. The bibe does not define specific roles. NO ONE does. Anywhere. All we have are relics of past cultures.

      Thank you for the comment. Though long, its very insightful.

  16. Really nice post!

    I second @musingsofagidimallam’s first comment about the bible.

    On the post in general I agree, the key word being OPTIMIZE…if someone is willing, ready and very able to do anything, assume any role, discharge any duty, take any responsibility or whatever in a relationship or the society, it shouldn’t matter if they are male or female!

    *gleefully burns bra* 😀

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