Gender inequality is as old as time itself and although great effort has been exerted over the decades to end, or at least minimize it, there exists subtle nuances that underscore its presence. I don’t want to go in-depth in to the literature of gender bias, quite frankly I haven’t got the time and plus I believe I can still make a compelling case even without literal back up. There are certain social conventions that have been ingrained in the minds of people which are supposed to engender equality among the sexes, but sometimes the very nature of them makes you wonder if their purpose is in tandem with intrinsic meaning.
Some might argue that gender equality has been greatly diminished and that we currently live in a society of greater freedom for women. On the surface of it, it might appear so because we see more women in the workforce, more women in leadership roles, for one thing; women in America at least can now vote. From an aerial view all seems to be at place, but the truth is that much like other problems that challenges the human race, gender inequality has evolved alongside the species. This evolution has also meant that the way it is perpetuated has also evolved as well, that its current state of sophistication makes it that much harder to detect.
There is a phrase that is very pervasive in human social interaction, especially interactions involving both sexes. This phase is seen as sign of respect and decorum that is “ought” to be accorded by one sex to the other. That phrase is “Ladies First.”
I have often said this phrase without giving it much thought, because like I said it is what is expected of you as a respectable member of any civil society where people have mutual respect for each other. Recently though I was somewhat accosted for not obliging with the usual “Ladies First” when I was at a door.
This got me thinking, when men say “Ladies first” to a lady is it because they see her as an equal (hence gender equality) or do they see her as a lesser being that needs to be given an advantage to progress for fear of being trumped? Men are naturally very competitive animals and when you want him to see another creature as an equal in competition, it doesn’t help to make him give that “competitor” an advantage. This is because then you have made him to see that creature as obviously being weak in some regard therefore needing to be given support to come to par with him in competition. It is very easy to say “Ladies First”, but then it is hard to see beneath the surface to catch a glimpse of what is really happening.
My hope isn’t to come-off as chauvinistic or anything of that nature, but I just would like people to think carefully about certain social conventions and see if they truly mean what they stand for. As an educated individual your number one priority is to challenge statics or dogmas as they come your way. The aim isn’t to win arguments or shove agendas in peoples face, on the contrary I would like to be intelligently challenged in ways that would give me a better understanding and if possible change my own views in some way.
(This is one of the things I was most scared of doing, writing a piece that might come off chauvinistic Frightening )