Thursday, May 1, 2014

Boys Like Blue, Girls Like Pink

Two thirds of the year more to go... and another year would be soon over. Time has flown by and crawled in the past few months. I had a chat conversation with an old friend recently. Our conversation drifted to work... and we chatted about the things we were both doing and she said I should get a male collegue to help me.

I pondered a while over her statement and shot back a short sentence. "Why must it be a man?" Will getting a man to help enable me to move faster, achieve more? Or it could be women just don't have the time or maybe even the aptitude.... Women are just as guilty sometimes in putting their own kind into straight jackets.

Even among my most independent minded friends, their frame of mind is still carved along gender. I have been doing some thinking about gender roles. We'd like to think that boys and girls should be given equal opportunities. And I think great strides have been made towards that end. But what we have, how we live out our societal norms..... gender roles are still apparent.

Blue-pink, engineer-nurse, leader-follower, housework-yardwork, boss-secretary.... I wonder how much of it is hardwired and how much is conditioned. In 2007 a study came out claiming that colour preference was hardwired. Recently another study said colour preference is conditioned. Actually, we do not know much...

We like to think there is equality. But is there real equality? There are religions which teach its believers that women are not meant to lead. There are social norms which lay down gender roles. Men must be the bread winner. He goes out to work, she keeps the house clean. He makes sure that food can be put on the table. She makes sure that it gets to the table. Well, unless you come from the remote Lugu Lake in China where things are somewhat different. There, the gender roles are a little different in this little known community. There are still exceptions....

Yet, as society evolved, we see changes in the gender roles too. Women are in the work force now. Some men are house husbands. I read sometime ago this theory called the Malthusian Trap. Apparently data now shows that we have broken out from the trap for the first time in 3000 years. Big corporations can no longer dictate everything. Governments too. Free flow of information is apparently good for the little people. Once upon a time one needs capital to start any ventures. You need to depend on banks for loans. You pay interest for that service. These days, there are the little people in the crowd you can holler over the net... for your banking needs. Cool?

And because of that, anyone can start anything. Crowdfunding made possible by the net has enabled many wonderful products to reach the masses and turned many into entrepreneurs. Other Half has bought stuff from Kickstarter. A friend of mind recently jumped onto the crowd funder group too. More are becoming aware of such a thing. I was told that now we have peer banking too... supposedly will free us from being at the mercy of the banks. Something more tolerable than the Ah Longs.

And tecnology has something to do with it. So, I wonder too whether gender roles too are experiencing that sort of breaking out from its own version of 'Malthusian Trap'? When it happens, I think there is probably going to be another social revolution. I think too that we have to change the way we raise our sons. We have to teach them what equality really means. We have to teach our daughters the same too. So maybe boys like pink or maybe pink and blue??? Or maybe still continue to like just blue? But it will just be because it's a personal preference and not a gender one.

The world that we live in is full of surprises and unknowns. And because a human life does not exceed a century for most of us, a lot of what we think or hold to be true sometimes may not be the simple truth because we actually do not know. Each of us try to make sense or perhaps even create sense within the finite constraints that we each have. When I was a kid, I learned that the highest peak was Mt. Everest. I recently learned that the highest peak is somewhere along the fault line under the ocean, somewhere between the Americas and Europe. I recently learned from the same explorer that there are rivers under the oceans too.... There are many surprises..... many unknowns even in the world we think we know.

Thoughts on Labour Day... a day I labour more around the house doing what is perceived a woman's domain.... Lol!



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