Stereotyping All of Us
Last week on Facebook, we saw one of our local journalists, Ken Herar, lead us into a discussion about Abbotsford family and gang violence. I thought everyone expressed their opinions eloquently. As for me, I want to restate that family violence in Abbotsford is completely unacceptable. This local chatter was followed up by multiple CBC discussions about whether we should call the murder of four Toronto women honour killings, when feminists wanted to say it was just one violent brute who was terrorizing his family and more to the point there is nothing honourable about any murder. I wish it was just one man or one religion, – but this is a global crime – according to this CBC website 5,000 women and girls, and even some men are murdered each year for allegedly dishonouring their tribe or family.
There was a comment from more reasonable voices who pointed out that if this was male violence against women, then we need to look at why multiple women were involved and proud of their involvement in killing other women, and why one Canadian woman actually went to jail for her proven participation in this type of murder.
Adding to these cultural discussions, this morning there is an intgriguing post from the Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg, saying she’s concerned about how we stereotype women as quiet without leadership skills and that we are hurting girls as young as 4 years old by telling them to be communal and laid back.
California-based author, Samantha Ettus, is glad someone with Sandberg’s profile has dragged this gender issue to the forefront. “She has an incredibly wide and expansive platform to deliver the message,” she says. Rotman School of Business professor Jennifer Berdahl says “… more and more research is coming out on the stereotyping of men and how that influences the trade-offs women face,” and that the key to overcoming gender inequality in the home and the workplace is to acknowledge that it can harm both men and women.
“As parents it’s easy to forget that the messages we give our kids as young as toddlers shape their futures.” – Samantha Ettus, in California
I see gender becoming less important in the world and even feminist acknowledging our connections rather than our differences. While we need to move beyond tribal life, we cannot have fatherlessness be the end result of feminism. We need girls and boys who are competent and assertive in school, so that later they can be leaders in their families, the workplace and citizens of the world, because we all face the same future.