WHY EQUALITY IS IMPORTANT.
One of the reasons why I spend time deconstructing so much of the nonsense that this doctor who writes that men and women can never be just friends is that I am trying to unpack the damage that dealing with him did to me. It may have been just once, but there were two aspects to it that were upsetting.
One, on the day, my mother pushed me to do it, even though I repeatedly said no. What I can see is, if you ask somebody if they’d like to do something, and they say no, leave it. If you keep asking and eventually, they say yes, they’re not saying yes because they’ve changed their mind, but because they want you to stop nagging. And by keeping on asking, what you’re trying to do is wear them down. My mother kept pushing on this day, even though I kept saying no, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was facing the dilemma over whether to explode, or quietly say, “If it’ll shut you up.”
And two, when I wanted to forget it (the medication the doctor gave me and the repeat prescription (after tearing it up) went into the bin and I felt empowered by knowing that as I’d torn it up, if I went to the pharmacist with a script for something else, it would be on file for twelve months, but the pharmacist was unlikely to say, “Oh, you don’t want this medication?”) and had found a doctor I like, this doctor closed his practice and I received a letter from them beginning with, “Dear Patient.” As soon as I saw who it was from, I tore it up and threw it in the bin. I later said to my father, “Why on earth would he send me a letter when I only went there once, now telling me where he is. And, considering I hadn’t been there for over two years!” My father said, “Well, if your doctor now, changed practices, you’d want her to let you know, wouldn’t you?” “Well, yes, but that’s different.” “How?” “Well, I see her every few months. I haven’t seen this one for over two years.” My father said, “Well, young people typically don’t go to the doctor very often.” “True, but surely after two years, he’d have thought, “Oh, well, he’s not coming back.””
I remember seeing a meme that had a son coming home to his mother who said that he’d asked a girl out and she said no, and she asked him what he should do. He said, “Yes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try, again.” She replied, “No. You’ve asked her and she’s given you an answer. Leave her alone.” And to teach your sons.
If my mother had taken note of the last bit, “You’ve asked him, and he’s given you an answer. Leave it,” I might be less upset.
This ridiculous doctor suggested that men and women could never be just friends and that women were becoming more like men and thus unattractive to men. Part of me said that maybe he tried to ask numerous women out and they turned him down and he was angry, and I remembered him writing that he had been ostracized by the few girls he’d been attracted to as a teenager, which made me think, maybe it wasn’t, as my nasty ex-girlfriend said to me that maybe the way I looked was why I didn’t have much luck, but the type of person he is.
The fact of the matter is, women shouldn’t be expected to have a lesser education or join a company for a few years to find a husband. A woman should have the same opportunity to pursue a professional career or a trade, as a man, if that’s what she wants to do. I remember Lores Bonney, an early female aviatrix, saying that Charles Kingsford-Smith told her that she should be at home scrubbing the floors. She said to him, “Well, thank you for that. Bye-bye.”
For this ridiculous doctor’s information about preserving gender roles and talking about the possibility that the US could have had its first female President, in 2016, the UK has had two female Prime Ministers (okay, Margaret Thatcher was not very popular), Pakistan had a female Prime Minister in Benazir Bhutto, and New Zealand has its third female Prime Minister, and guess what, after the 2017 Election, when Winston Peters decided to support her to form government (the right-wingers were furious but the fact of the matter is, Jacinda Ardern was Labour Leader and there was a Hung Parliament, so, Winston Peters, as someone holding the balance of power, decided to support Jacinda Ardern to be PM), she announced that she was pregnant, and guess what else, her partner, Clark Gayford, is a stay at home Dad and Jacinda is PM! So, no, we do NOT need to preserve the gender roles!
And, for all the talk of gender roles, Jacinda Ardern proved to be a logical counterweight as a world leader, to a loose cannon, misogynistic, entitled male, in the US, who wanted to wind back protections for transgender people and build a wall at the Mexican border!
If wanting to pursue a career instead of being a wife and mother is what a woman wants, then that’s her right. If wanting to earn her own money and buy her own car and pay for her own accommodation is what she wants, then that’s her right. And if a woman doesn’t want to be treated like a man’s chattels, then that’s her right, too!
Women and men are different, biologically, and while a woman may have the physical capability to carry a baby in gestation, to not want to do so is her right. And if a woman wants to have kids and a career, a husband or wife who supports her and helps with the tasks and chores is what she deserves.
A woman does not deserve to be told that she will be unattractive to men if she is independent or spends too much time being against the old gender stereotypes.