Gender Identity and Relations
At first, there was a man and a woman. God made Adam, and then from him He made Eve. Even this first history of man and woman there is an issue about gender equality. It is said that since, the woman came from the man’s body part; she becomes his part, his subordinate. After this, there were endless dispute as to how man and woman should rank in the society. From the smallest unit which is the family, to the whole world, the role of men and women, have always been divided, the woman in the house, attending to the family, and the man in the workplace, providing for their needs. Centuries went by, and the stereotyped roles became less and less important, women becoming more active in the corporate world, doing tasks that were once only for men, and in these modern times, there are countless women, becoming leaders of the world. This raised the issue of women wanting to achieve equal rights, fighting to extricate the discrimination and the notion of them as the weaker sex, and it became a never-ending debate and struggle. (Altmann, J. G. “Debating differences between genders in literature, film and life” 2001 www.princeton.edu/pr)
As if these battles were not enough, new issues about gender equality arise. It is not just the question about men and women now. The homosexuals joined in the battle; they are now proclaiming themselves as another set of gender. Their growing number enabled them to stand for their rights. They now have the power to fight against the discrimination they suffered through the years. Many members of the third sex had significant contributions in the society; they proved themselves to be an asset in the society. Many of them used their talent and intelligence, coupled it with hard work and used it to raise their status in the society.
But the question here is, have each gender really achieved what they have been fighting for? Have they earned enough respect from each other to treat them as their equal?
In my own assessment, I think gender equality has been achieved through the years. Maybe not in the perfect sense, there are still a number of problems, but despite of it all, it cannot be denied that the society is more open now to accepting every existing people, no matter who they are, no matter what their gender orientations are. There is a place for everyone now. For the part of the men, they have maintained their place in the society, with their freedom for doing what they want to do, from their role in their family to the position they have in the industry, to the positions they have in the government. (Connell, R.W. “Developing school-based, research-informed responses to issues about boys and masculinity” 1999 www.dest.gov.au/sectors/school_education/publications_resources/gender_specific_gender_related_curricula) It is also commendable how men in general have accepted the development the other genders have achieved. And many of them acknowledged their abilities and even supported them, especially the women in the society with their aspirations.
The women on the other hand have also proven themselves worthy of the respect and recognition they’ve wanted to attain. The place most of them hold in the society at present is verification that they are treated as equal. Many women became heads of their countries or societies they were in. Some of these women known as great leaders to their respective territories are Queen Elizabeth of England, Evita Peron of Argentina, and even some Asian countries which are known for having conservative and patriarchal society also had their roster of women leaders. Not only in politics did women excelled in the previous decades but also on the fields that were known to be as men’s world like engineering, business, branches of science, and many other fields which were once few women dare to enter and excel. Imagine that even in military forces, the number of women seem to increase nonstop, and not just in passing their education and training in military but also in surpassing men in their respective batches. Even in sports, women also excel in men’s game, notice the increasing number of sports in the Olympics that has the “for women” category. These sports which have been only played by men because of its physically draining and perilous nature are now bravely penetrated by women. Name it and women have tried it, archery, shooting, fencing, horse racing, basketball, and many more including martial arts. It is undeniable that women can openly show that they can be men’s equal in intelligence, ability, vitality, speed, strength and many other remarkable qualities which are thought only men have. In spite of these proofs of equal ability, women still faces challenges in this world and time. They still face discrimination in the society and this eventually leads to intimidation. Most societies, no matter how liberal they think they are, are prone to narrow-mindedness in terms of recognizing women’s achievements. Even when women stands-out in various fields, there is always a reservation that some men, given the chance and with the right attitude could outshine them. But that maybe the point, women have the right attitude in certain situations that is why they were able to get what they want, and the right attitude could be a proof that women can do whatever they set their mind into. After proving themselves worthy, women are usually attacked on other parts of their personality. Their inevitable weaknesses and vulnerability are abused. More and more women are being victims of harassment, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other kinds of harm in their dignity. In this aspect, women are mostly on the loosing end, because even when the offender is proven guilty and punished, the dignity taken away cannot be given back. It maybe a long way to achieve solution for these matters but, as long as these women show what they can do and respect themselves, there is no reason enough to take away what they have right now.
As for the members of the third sex, it is evident that they are now more accepted in the society. The discrimination has lessened to a considerable extent. They were once subjected to overwhelming ridicule, but they are gaining more respect now. Their talents, skills and contributions are now recognized, giving them a chance to fight for their rights as human being. Many members of the third sex are excelling in various fields, both fields of men and women. They possess qualities like the strength, intelligence and ability of men and the creativity, flair and grace of women. They excel in fields like the fashion industry as we know that most known and great designers and stylists are members of the third sex. They earned enough respect and recognition from the whole world and they continually improve on their crafts. Not only that, some members of the third sex also surpass some men and women in their field, even in sports and arts, these people show their prowess. They show remarkable intelligence and abilities in various fields that they surpass even the most recognized people. They are flexible and can easily adapt in the fields they are put into. But these did not stop the challenges faced by the members of the third sex. They are always on the run, proving they are worthy of the recognition given to them. Even how well they do with their craft, it is always easy for them to lose it, simple mistakes could easily harm their reputation and they are back again to being ridiculed. They always need to be tough and careful with what they do because the society is always on the look for their mistakes and misgivings. Their biggest challenge is to make the public accept them as truly normal people and not make their weaknesses attached to their gender.
As I have mentioned earlier, gender equality, though bit by bit achieved has not yet reached its perfect state. There are still unfair law, unfair treatment, and unfair judgment in some aspects. This is reasonable enough since, everything in this world is never perfect. Everything is continuously changing in time. Not everyone has an open-mind to accept the changes and if this is the case, then we cannot insist perfect equality.
We should not be troubled that we cannot attain the equality of all people, regardless of their gender identity or orientation. If we have achieved so much improvement in the past years, there is a great possibility that we are going to accomplish it in due time. Everything is a work in progress, and there is nothing that cannot be achieved if we exert enough for it.
The media has a great power in cases like this. If they continue showing people that it is a good thing to accept equality, we could be halfway in achieving it. The government also has the power, and if the people in the government will do their part, then it would be a great help. The family itself has to start their part of the bargain. The elders should teach their children to be open-minded so they would learn about it and carry it as they age, passing it to the next generation and so on. Each of us has the power to achieve equality, if only all people will have an open mind and accept the nature of their fellow human beings, then there is no doubt that this goal will be reached.