Stereotypes have a reason of existence. They maintain the status quo of life as we know it. They safeguard tranquility of society as everything lies in boxes ready to be used when needed. No questions asked, no troubles. Stereotypes recycle ideas and lifestyles and make them sterea=sturdy as they also make a sturdy life. Alas, to the ones who dare to shake the ground of what is widely believed to be the right thing.
Thank God, though, lighting examples of pioneers existed so that we, today, enjoy the privilege of having some countries in our planet wide open to changes and questions. Not all front runners did they have a good end. My favourite philosopher Socrates, ordered to drink poison as a result of his trial, remained in history as a man of principles who accepted to die for his beliefs. Radical changes take time to establish and unfortunately a lot of sacrifices. But what this world would be if nobody challenged the status quo?
If a simple idea is difficult to change, ideas based on nature of things are even harder to alter. For thousands of years, women’s natural ability to give birth shaped society’s functions and beliefs on what women and men are capable of and should do. Domestic chores and bringing up children was women’s job, outdoor activities like having a job, the right to vote and be voted, own a property was men’s job. Yet, women and men decided to leave stereotypes and go ahead to follow their heart. World has changed, but not in the pace we would like to and not in the degree we want to.
While I was having my course at Feminist Studies, an obligatory course in the Early Childhood Education at the University of Athens, our professor taught us a valuable technique to understand whether what we are facing with has a sex bias or not. Just reverse the roles in question.
So if someone thought we have no right to choose how we live because we are women, we could simply ask: “Would you like to get dictated how you should live your life just because you are a man?…”