The question I am addressing in regards to gender equality is: what drives inequitable treatment of men and women? I think that traditional roles linger and stem from the idea that men and women are physically different and that there are certain things that only men or only women can do. For example, certain colors have been accepted as a girl color or a boy color like pink and purple is associated with girls and blue, red, and green are associated with boys. Another example are careers, such as the assumption that doctors are men and nurses are women.
In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Buchanan is married to Daisy, yet has frequent encounters with his mistress, Myrtle Wilson. Tom is with his mistress when she starts mentioning Daisy and says that she can mention her whenever she wants, then “Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand” (Fitzgerald 37). Tom physically abuses her without thinking twice about it. He thinks he is above her and he can treat her however he likes because he is stronger than her. He also thinks he is above Daisy because he just openly and regularly cheats on her.
In Virginia Woolf’s essay, Professions for Women, she talks about how she took up writing because “the cheapness of writing paper [was], of course why women have succeeded as writers before they have succeeded in the other professions” (Woolf 525). She would “slip a few of those pages into an envelope, fix a penny stamp in the corner, and drop the envelope into the red box at the corner” (Woolf 525). She was a journalist and she wanted to make some money of her own. This is similar to J.K. Rowling because she wrote the Harry Potter Series and did not use her actual name because she did not want people to not buy her book because she is a woman. The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997, so this was not such a long time ago.
Even simple things like color can drive the inequitable treatment of men and women. These small difference can lead to a bigger argument because if boys or girls like a color that is not socially accepted for them to like, then they are made fun of for being a tomgirl or tomboy. Another small thing is using girl’s abilities as an insult. For example saying “you play ball like a girl” from the hit movie, The Sandlot, was the considered among the characters the worst insult of all the insults. In that scene, all the boys immediately “oooohed” as the worst shot of all time was being fired. My brother and I do judo, a Japanese martial art, and when we compete against girls and lose, even my own father says “You lost to a girl?!” in a ridiculing manner. So, even small things like that are still prevalent in society and eventually to a bigger divide and mentality.
Now when I watch TV, I see commercials and campaigns advocating gender equality and feminism. For example, there is one commercial where they have girls say things that use girls as an insult. And then, they do tasks that prove that insult wrong. However, if these girls truly believe that women and men are equal and can throw a ball or run just as fine as a boy. Then, there should be more kid’s sports that are co ed because they would be more equal.
All in all, small things like assumed careers and colors for genders, and the physical differences between men and women are what drive the inequitable treatment of men and women.