Roles of Gender
Throughout the course of history women and men have had different roles in society. Men generally take on more masculine tasks, while women are left for caring for the young and feminine tasks. Some people in today’s society are considered to have both of these characteristics and can be looked at as a berdache. This person is considered not to have filled all the roles as a male in society, and therefore, is stereotyped as a effeminate, or androgyny person (Williams). Our society has had many different roles for women starting at the bottom, being viewed less than a man, all the way current with being considered an equal, and having the same rights as a man. The western civilizations have a completely different culture and consider women for different tasks than how we do here in our society.
When people look in at a society and glance at their traditions, sometimes they can seem excessive. When a society then looks at other traditions they can seem too flexible. This culture in particular has some very unique traditions that allow a young girl to pass on through womanhood. In Africa, the country called Nigeria, has a much unheard way of passing a young woman onto womanhood. The young girls are required to spend most of their time in what is called a “fattening room.” In this room they are taught about becoming a woman and the responsibilities that they will one day have. At the same time they are also required to eat as much as possible and gain an ample amount of weight, for weight is a status in society. It is not uncommon for girls to spend 4-5 months in this “fattening room,” learning about caring for children, fattening themselves up, and responsibilities around the household (Simmons).
Countries such as India have very unique ways of parents viewing their unborn child. With today’s technology we are able to determine the sex of a child, through what is called an ultrasound. The Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act states that all ultrasound equipment be registered and that all doctors who use the equipment are banned from reviling the sex of the child to the parent. In 1994 there was an attempt to overturn this law and cut down on the aborted female fetuses. This was originally generated to control the population of India, making the society having an equal amount of boys and girls. In 2001 there were 927 girls to every 1000 boys, which was a decrease from 945 to 1000 in 1991. Doctors have even been jailed for a considerable time frame for hinting to the parents about the sex and then giving them an option for aborting the child (Power). This PNDT act has put tremendous stress over the Indian society, creating women a victim of violence. Continuing this trend of aborting female fetuses could be detrimental for the countries future.
The degree that women are mistreating in India has been astonishing. Here in American we look at all people as equal, but women in India possess a far less status than a man does in India. This is very difficult from an American stand point to understand, but it is how the country operates. Children that are female are given less medical treatment than boys, and the number of young girls deaths compared to boys deaths (in the first 3 years of life) has been greater considerably. There also is an issue being raised in topic. Young girls are often missing, and never found again. The capitalist government in India will only hinder the solution to this problem, when the answer is simple. Ban sex-selective abortion (Goldberg).
Looking into different countries and their laws about women can be difficult to understand and comprehend; the question has to be raised, why? Living in such a free country, it’s is very foreign to me, the concept behind several of these laws, and the underlying meaning of them. Women should be considered equal, and equally treated all over the world, no matter what the case is, or where you live homosexual or heterosexual.