Sunday, April 12, 2009

Discussion #8

One of the similarities in gender of our society and the Masai is that woman do a lot of “caring work.” In the Masai video we see how women care for their children and the husband’s cattle and they do household chores. In our society women mostly are the ones who take care of children and do household work. Women in the Masai seem to not have as much of a freedom in what they do. They have to attach to a male and have children in order to have a good life. Males in that society receive status through having many wives and children and large land. In the US males achieve status through wealth and their occupation. Women have more freedom in what they do instead of being forced to marry.

There is value in having genders in that roles are different and so there is variety in who does what. Traditionally, men have specific roles and women have other roles so they know what their job is. One of the challenges in gender is dealing with inequality. One gender may be seen as more “dominating” and therefore causing people to be upset. Another problem with this is that not everyone wants to stick to those roles. We see this as roles in the US change. In the article of Global Women in the New Economy, more women are joining the workforce. The problem with this is that as both males and females are in the workforce, the issue of who takes care of the children arises. Children are having to be cared for by people other than the parents. For the Masai culture, if for example the women were given more or different rights, then their original roles would need to be fulfilled by someone else.

There are times when cultural worldviews about gender tie in to human rights. Many times in various cultures, women are treated unfairly and unequally. We see this in the Masai culture as men are allowed to beat their wives and not given much choice. It is difficult to say if something can be done in cultures where there is gender inequality. Sometimes people in cultures of gender inequality accept it. To use the Masai culture again as an example, women accept gender stratification as a result of women’s mistakes in the past. They blame their given role and decreased rights or abilities in their society on the women who neglected their herd long ago. I don’t think others can tell people of other cultures what’s wrong or right so cultures should make the decision to change on their own. When inequality exists and becomes a major problem for the majority of the population, then something really needs to be done.

1 comment:

  1. Good, solid discussion of the readings and insightful comment about how gender inequality, if accepted by the bulk of the people in a culture, is unlikely to change and, arguably in cultural relativism, unnecessary to change.