Friday, July 9, 2010

When I say, "Be a man!"

Occaisionally, this expression comes out of my mouth. When I tell him to "be a man", I don't mean that he is acting like a woman, I mean that he is not fulfilling his duty as a man. For me, the opposite of a "man" is not a woman, it's a person who has a penis but is not fulfilling the duties and responsabilities given to his gender.

I don't like this expression at all because of how sexist it sounds and can be.

It shouldn't be used to tell a man to be something that a woman should be as well... Seeing as gender roles are not clear at all in non-Muslim life, it always comes off as sexist to me. In Islam, gender roles are a bit clearer, so I don't feel it is sexist to tell a man to "be a man" and go out to get himself a job to help support a family. It's explicit in Islam that this is a man's role. It's not that a woman *cannot*do it, but it is not her natural role.

What do you think?

7 Comentários:

Jaz said...

I think it's okay in non-muslim and muslim life. It is not okay for a man to be acting irresponsible or like a baby, seeing as both non-muslim and muslim men want all the advantages of being a men they need to deal with the responsibilities.

Jess said...

I love this post! I think it does sound sexist in non-muslim life depending on the situation. i decided to institute "be an amazon!" when any of my female employees were acting like babies. We women should have strong women to look to - not men! - when we need an example!

But, i totally understand the phrasing in muslim life and don't think it's wrong to use! :)

Candice said...

"Be an amazon" I love that!!

Blue said...

I don't know... I've said it too, but in this bold age of gender equality I think it might be time to retire this phrase. Its true that traditional gender roles are often based on biology (women actually HAVE the babies, men can't so they make up for it elsewhere), but nowhere that I've read in the Quran (and I admit I haven't finished it yet... I keep stopping to look stuff up, like alternate translations) but nowhere have I found something saying a man CAN'T be a stay-at-home-dad, for example. Nor does it say a woman can't be a soldier, or run a business, as exampled in history by Aisha and Kadijah. I've started to favor saying "be an adult!" these days in situations of irresponsible behavior. Besides, gender roles can lead to bad things... I read this blog the other day, very interesting:

Susanne said...

Oh, I like Blue's suggestion of "be an adult!" It's kind of like the old "grow up!" saying, huh?

I DO, however, know what you mean re: "be a man!" and I don't think your Arab husband would find that offensive since their culture is rather gender-oriented moreso. My Arab friend uses that phrase about himself sometime in fact. :)

I definitely think your husband should be helping out more! I don't know what all he does, but you've given the impression before that it's mostly playing video games. :-/ I know this has to frustrate you tremendously!

Technodoll said...

I don't see anything wrong or sexist about that comment, and it's nothing to do with religion either...

Sometimes a man's gotta be reminded to do what he's gotta do, that's all.


Candice said...

Blue: A husband has an obligation to provide in the Qur'an though, so some might take that to mean that he has to work and so it would be impossible to be a stay-at-home-dad. I think it makes sense but never would I imagine that a family that is simply *different* (with a dad who does not have the same ambitions as most men and is more caring and patient and good with kids and cooking and chores) can have the mother working and dad a stay at home and I wouldn't imagine it is wrong to Allah as this is how he created them and this is the qualities he gave each of these two parents. If it's an arrangement that works for them I think it's great.

About women working, the Qur'an says absolutely nothing against it. She is not the one who has to be responsible financially though so a man who takes all the financial responsabilities on him and has a wife that works could demand that she is the one who is to take care of the home, cooking and children. So if she was too tired from her work and wanted a maid, it would be with her salary that she would pay it. I think most situations with both husband and wife working ends up with them paying each a certain part of the life costs. In such a case, the man BETTER not ask for her to do all the cooking, cleaning and child duties because she is doing what should be HIS responsability!

Anyway, it's all about equality in the end.

Susanne: So it came across that I had my husband in mind with this post? I try not to mention him on the blog but frustration makes it come out a bit like this post. Yes, it's frustrating for sure to see him playing these games all the time. Game addiction can be a very serious problem! I don't think he can imagine himself not going on for a day.

Technodoll: Thanks for your POV! I also think men and women have each their things that they "gotta do". We each have our role, but in our culture we can mix it up pretty freely so it would depend what situation it is since almost anything can be a woman's role too nowadays!

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