standards in question

there is a thin line between being yourself and adjusting to social standards of the surrounding you live in.

as a woman it is socially more acceptable to hold back, be silent and adjust to the will and meaning of your partner, your society and your life. but what if women like to be strong, scream and put their fist down at a table? if a man does the same thing no one would wrinkle the eyebrow or even make a claim of inappropriateness. in the best case scenario, a woman gets attributed very manly attributes. ‘she’s quite a guy’ is a rather big compliment. but isn’t it, that one can be just as much a woman, with a thing for shoes and purses, a tendency for too much make-up and a favor of putting cucumbers on ones eyes (to exploit every possible cliché), and still put down a foot in a given situation?

the same scenario works the other way around. man are told to be strong, ‘masculine’ and dominate. they are supposed to be handsome, successful and provide safety and security. but doesn’t even the toughest man sometimes need a shoulder to rest on? an ear to lay his sorrows upon? and someone who takes off the burdens of everyday manhood? does that make a man less a man because he is just another human being?

and where is the line of doing things socially acceptable and being yourself? if it is socially not acceptable not to stay home with your kid and prioritize your career instead, but you would still like to do it for the love of your children – would a man stay at home, risking the giggling, the laughter, the talk behind his back? if it is socially unacceptable for a woman to scream in public or put the fist on the table when the negotiations of the contract at her firm are completely unbearable, would you still do it? and if you do not; if you as a matter of fact abide by the “rules” given by standard, society, and ‘common sense’ don’t you also give up a little bit of yourself by doing that?

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2 Responses to standards in question

  1. Each differing situation calls for a different perception depending how you want to be perceived. You’re not losing a sense of self but adjusting to your environment in order to “survive” and live.

    • thank you for your comment. what you are referring to, is what elsie lincoln benedict describes as “learning from the sagebrush” – the sagebrush is a plant which managed to survive in the dessert by adapting itself to the given surrounding. yet, e.l. benedict poses another option for the situation: to leave or change the environment you are living in. now, while a plant might have little say in that matter, human beings are able to influence, shape and engage in their surrounding actively. the article i wrote and the thought that fascinates me is the question of where is the point when one decides it is time to become active and chose the second or third option.

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