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Opinion

Obedience in women not just a medieval concept

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November 15, 2012

“A woman is not allowed to ask a man out for a dance, nor is she allowed to consider horror movies to be funny,” stated a UW-River Falls senior when I asked him to go to a dance with me.

Another male, a graduate student, recently shared the fact that what he likes about the Korean girls is that they are “obedient to men.”

Daily comments and remarks like these, no matter how harmless their intention was, are detrimental to the status of women, and a dangerous undermining of their accomplishments. Why does being female mean being obedient and chaste, while being male means being strong, fearless – the reincarnation of an Adonis? Why does a man have the social ability to ask a woman out, while a woman does not?

Upon considering these questions, I found myself reflecting on what is female and what is male. The most immediate image that came to my mind was a good female friend who is on the softball team and interested in politics – attributes which we would usually credit to a man. Except from her interest in sports and politics, she meets the cliché image of a typical girl.

A male friend of mine loves to watch romantic comedies and enjoys shopping with his female friends – activities we would expect girls in their 20s to do. Does this make her male and him female?

“Emancipated” women seem to scare men. Although being emancipated or being a feminist means nothing more than having the desire to have equal rights. Women receiving the same rights as men seem to constitute many males’ anxiety. The anxiety of being dominated by a woman and therefore losing one’s status as being a strong brave man, which some men think is an innate right, due to being born a man.

This fear can already be found in early modern English comedies and tragedies in Elizabethan times. It mirrors the male part of the contemporary society’s attitude toward the female sex – a patriarchal society with a terrible anxiety of feminization. This fear is deeply rooted in the medieval mindset, and seems to be originated in the biblical fall of mankind when Eve was courageous and independent enough to make her own decisions, and ate from the knowledge tree of good and evil.

To take the initiative as a woman and to make one’s own decision can be a fatal error even in our contemporary society. For instance, when asking my ex-boyfriend to go with me to a dance, I got a surprising answer full of anger that I would not be allowed to ask HIM out.
Questioning the reason behind his misogynistic reaction, he replied curtly that being a woman, I was not to be allowed to ask for such a thing.

Consequently the social ability of showing initiative seems to be only able to be shown by men, whereas woman have to be patient enough and hope they get asked out.

Women who subordinate themselves to this gender stereotype are making nothing more than objects of themselves in accepting the ideal of a misogynist sexist male society by surmising themselves to a seemingly prodigious man.

Female acceptance of this gender role will only encourage males to keep treating women the way they are currently being treated today. A man dating several girls while in a relationship, or having had multiple girlfriends will remain the “cool guy,” whereas his ex-girlfriend having just dinner with a male classmate will be classified as a “slut.”
Injustice between both genders will remain, and a woman stating her opinion, her disagreement, in a relationship will be always harming the man’s sense of honor and be penalized by his ignorance.

The lexeme “women” may include the lexeme “men,” having it as it seemingly linguistic stem with “wo-” just as its prefix; however this does not implicate that women have to be dominated by men or that they are less valuable than a man.

Jenny Holzinger is a student at UW-River Falls.