Gender assumptions about men and women and relationships outdated and hindrance to equality

By Leigh Greaney

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At this point in time, it seems that the long argued gender debate is so tired that it should be peacefully at rest. Equality should have ceased to be a buzz word and become a reality – and not simply equality of opportunity, but equality of expectation. Somehow, this is still not the world we live in. We’re still living in a society that chokes everyday on gender stereotypes and generalizations.

The biggest problem might just be what appears to be the most small. Many women seem to be concerned about recognition of equality in the eyes of society – meaning in the workplace and economically. However, in order to truly conquer the disease of misogyny, women might want to think not only about the big hurdles, but the smaller ones too. All stereotypes must be eradicated – even the ones we seem to overlook.

Because they’ve been embedded so deeply into society, women tend to play their “role” and men play theirs. Although it is obvious that the only difference between men and women is in their anatomy, people seem convinced that there is a difference of thought process, motive, desire and “role.”

Even in this culture that we deem to be “progressive,” patterns arise where they don’t necessarily need to. The continuation of these patterns only leads to the belief that the motives, desires and intentions can be assumed for the whole gender.

One pattern that has been “assumed” feminine connects directly to romantic relationships between men and women. Women in this culture are assumed to want the “safety” and “comfort” of a relationship with a man. They don’t want to simply “hook-up” and be forgotten. They want something that could lead to commitment – and hey, if they’re lucky – maybe even marriage!

The assumption continues that men – quite on the contrary – would rather spread their seed wherever and whenever with whoever (as long as the woman is attractive enough). Men would rather have commitment-free hook-ups. They avoid anything monogamous if they’re sexual hunger can be fulfilled without it – and that’s how they all like it.

This is so very wrong.

This is an epidemic of thought that has placed people in little boxes for too long. This categorizing phenomenon of intent and aspiration is the same that plagued past generations. It’s the same trend that told homosexual people in the past that they should “desire” people from the opposite gender and not of their own. It took an entire movement to convince the masses that people want what they want and that there is no mold for what we crave based on the structure of our chromosomes.

It’s time society sees that they can’t predict what people want.

A man may desire to be with a man. A woman may desire to be with a woman. A woman may desire a committed relationship. A woman may not. The flaw we must battle is the assumption of desire based on gender.

Sexual craving and craving for commitment are not gendered ideals, and they never have been. Men and women both have hormones. They both like sex. They also both like security and the feeling of being loved. Yet, a woman who has as much sex as a guy in her life is a “slut” and a guy that doesn’t sleep around with lots of women is considered to be “missing out.”

Why are we still at this plateau in progression? Insecurity? Yes. Fear? Yes. Mostly, though, it’s because no one is ready to get over their ego. Men are going to keep being misogynistic if women let them. Just the same, women are going to keep repressing their desires if all other women seem to be following that pattern.

Women must break out of their shell. They must have sex if they want to and not feel shame of self-resentment for it. Men must break out of their shell, too. If they want to settle down with one person and cease his prowl around for new legs to pry open, then they should – and without feelings of being emasculated.

It’s okay to want to be in a relationship. It’s also okay not to want to be in one. It’s okay not to want to have sex with someone you’re not committed to, and its okay to not care if commitment has anything to do with the sex. This works for both sexes.

Relationships are a lot of pressure. If having fun and having sex with someone regularly without slapping a Facebook status on it works for someone, then who is to say that’s negative?

What is a relationship anyway? Is it a date every Friday night at Judies? Is it sharing all your deep dark secrets? Is it sex? Is being jealous and wary of anyone who talks to your significant other? Is it someone to sleep next to? People should be allowed to define their happiness in whichever way suits them.

We create our own lives. We have our own motives for what we do. Once people stop caring about the branded category on our actions, then people can finally be free to do as they wish.

By letting society dictate whether you’re just a “slutty girl” or a “guy who is whipped by his girlfriend and missing out on all the other babes,” we’re letting society tell us what should make us who we are. It’s time we decide for ourselves. Only then can both sexes be equal and happy at the same time.

Leigh Greaney is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]