Men, Women and Traditional Gender Roles

R.D. White

How has gender been understood traditionally?

As the same thing as biological sex. Obviously there are only two genders. One is either born male, or female, that is all there is to it. It’s not a complicated idea, it’s a simple biological fact. There are only two genders, two sexes, male and female. Traditionally, in every culture, in every part of the world, it has been clearly understood that there are males and females, and that one is born either male or female, and that is all there is to it. There has never been any confusion on the matter. It is completely self-evident and has always been understood as such, by all societies.

Despite the prevalence of extreme liberal ideology today, being male or female is not a choice, it is something that nature decides. To attempt to subvert nature by trying to change genders is to create a grotesque parody. This parody stands in stark contrast to the way that nature has made each one of us. Of course radical gender ideology first makes an imaginary distinction between gender and biological sex. The idea is that even if biological sex is real, and binary, gender is a mental or emotional state, and it is nothing more than a feeling. There is an obvious fallacy here, namely that feeling like a thing does not automatically make one a thing. If I feel like a horse, that doesn't make me a horse, anymore than if I feel like a dog, that doesn't make me a dog, or anything else than a human. In the same way, unless I am born a woman, I am not a woman, no matter if I think I feel like a woman. Furthermore, if a man says "I feel like a woman", he can not be taken literally, as this is not possible, as having been born a man, at best he will only be imagining what it feels like to be a woman. Gender then, can not be anything but biological sex.

In order to understand gender roles, we need to realize that they evolved from natural patterns over millennia. In general, men will tend to do more physical labor intensive tasks, and women will tend to do more organizational tasks. This is not just due to fixed cultural gender roles, this is just a natural pattern of behavior.For example, if you picture a man and a women living in a log cabin together, usually it’s safe to assume that the man will do most of the wood chopping and hunting and the women will do most of the preparing of the meals and cleaning the cabin. This does not mean that women can not learn to hunt, or physically can not chop wood. Of course not. Nor does it mean that men can not cook or do not clean. Of course not. But what it does mean, is left to themselves, with no outside or cultural influence, men and women will fall into certain patterns of behavior and preform generally different tasks when working together harmoniously. There is a lot of overlap, certainly, but still these natural patterns emerge, which is where the notion of fixed gender roles comes from. Men and women naturally create these roles for themselves without coercion.

So what does it mean to be male or female?

Ironically, the parody of a male or female that the transgender person becomes is usually a completely shallow stereotype. So in attempting to reject stereotypes of gender, the most shallow stereotypes of gender become strictly enforced. While being male or female does come with both physical and spiritual inherent characteristics, putting the genders into small, box-like stereotypes is not helpful; in reality the "boxes" are not nearly as shallow and narrow as is often perceived. However, that does not mean that real differences are not real. Men have male parts, women have female parts. Men can not get pregnant, women can not impregnate.

Men and Women are equal in value; they are equally valuable in both the continuation of the human species and to success and prosperity of any nation. However equal does not mean exactly the same. Men and women are different, but these differences are not a problem, they are complimentary. The natural patterns of behavior that men and women will fall into show that these differences are complimentary, and will create a much more harmonious situation than if everybody was trying and competing over doing the exact same things.

The differences between men and women create dynamic energy. Shallow stereotypes, however, do not do justice to either men or women. Just because men and women are different, that does not mean that they can not relate to each other. Men and women are much more the same than different, and while their differences are important, the fact that men and women can relate to each other and are more similar than different is important too. In fact a marriage works best when the man and the woman are best friends, as well as partners who contribute their own unique talents to the family. If a husband and a wife do not recognize their differences, and allow each other the freedom to move in their own spaces and contribute their own natural abilities, they will end up stepping all over each other’s toes and competing over do the same tasks. Also if a husband and wife do not recognize their similarities and relate to each other well, they will not feel very close and the marriage might not be fully happy. Men and women need to respect each other fully, the differences and the similarities. Husbands and wives should have their own spheres of influence.

The home is the traditional center of life. The homestead should be considered as important or more important that any other workplace. The devaluation in society of the homestead, and the increase in importance of the workplace, caused unbalance and lead to a lot of women feeling less important and unequal. On the homestead, the work that men and women did was always of equal importance. Feminism is largely about valuing the workplace over the home, which misses the point entirely, because everything achieved in the workplace is only for the good of the home. The home should be the center of life, both for families that can live solely on their homestead and for families that are the families of tradesman, laborers and craftsmen. The home, not the business office or factory floor or government run institution should be the center of life. The home should be the center of a child’s education. The home should be where we all learn and understand the value of independence, and our own inherent freedom, and the responsibility that comes along with both. The home should be the center of life to ensure the self-sufficiency of the family, instead of dependency. For the sake of a truly fulfilling life for both men and women, for passing down of traditional values and skills, and for the development of organic community, the home should remain the center of life and the home is should remain truly focused on the family.

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