Sunday, March 27, 2011

Advantages of Being a Woman?

My sister is trying to write a paper on a cross cultural experience.

One of the aspects of the paper is that she needs at least three traits that define/identify her within her own culture. The big one that she chose, the one that she says defines her the most is that she is a woman. And then she needs to talk about some advantages and disadvantages of each trait.

She's had no problem coming up is *dis*advantages to being a woman, but she can't think of any advantages to being a woman. And that just seems wrong. I'm not asking for help for my sister writing this paper. She needs to do that on her own. Which is why I gave her my thoughts on the advantages in the briefest forms possible. I'm not writing the paper for her, capiche?

But I thought I'd bring the question to you, oh readers. What do you see as the advantages of being a woman in your culture? Since we're not all from the same culture, even when we live in the same country, I'm thinking it likely makes a different. I know that some advantages I gain by being a woman in the South don't exist for woman in the North, or the West.

Also, I HAVE A NEW COMPUTER! Her name is Ivy, and my new external hard drive to go with her is named Kincaid. And there is approximately one person who will understand that naming scheme. *waves to sanil*


  1. Just reading the title, my first thought was, "What advantages?" Maybe being allowed to have emotions? But then again those are held against us, so I'm not so sure.

  2. my first thought was, "What advantages?"

    And I think that is officially sad. Not uncommon, but sad.

    I think the advantages and the disadvantages can be the same thing, depending on the situation and the other people involved. Nothing is ever purely all this or all that.

  3. I'm fairly sure I got my programming job partly because I was a woman. So in male-dominated areas of work, political correctness/the need to demonstrate equality can work in a woman's favour.

    The whole "ladies first" thing is dying out, probably because it could be seen as patronising, but I do feel in Scotland there are a lot of men who still give a special respect to women and try to be a "gentleman".

    In terms of dating, not being expected to ask the guy out or make the first move can be a good thing as the risk is all on them :)

    That's all I can think of...

  4. Sarah,

    But do you find that slightly insulting that you got the job *because* you were a woman? Or is that just me? I think equality should mean that the gender doesn't matter at all. So whoever is best qualified should get the job, regardless of how it looks. And then my brain kicks in and reminds me that it doesn't actually work that way and that's why we have to have laws that enforce diversity and equality in hiring.

    The 'ladies first' thing doesn't seem to be dying out down here, but that's because it's so deeply ingrained, I think. Being a gentleman is *NOT* a bad thing, people!

    LOL! I like that one! Also, the expectation that the man pays for the date! I love that one! :D

  5. Interesting point of view. I'd find it insulting if I *didn't* get the job because I was a woman. And I'd find it insulting if I got the job but they didn't expect anything good from me. But if there was no difference between me and other candidates except gender, and that gave me the edge, I don't mind. :)

  6. Well, yes, there's that, which is the other side and *also* insulting. I'd just think I'd be a tad insulted if the only reason I got a job was because I had boobs and not because I was the better candidate. Then again, when you need a job, who really cares why they hire you, right? :)

    I just think (most) people want to be appreciated for what they've worked for, what they've accomplished, and not because of an accident of genetics.

  7. the advantages I think there are
    1, natural communicaters
    2, empathy
    3, I think we make friends easier
    4, I really do think we can multi task
    5, we are gifted, that when nursing/feeding baby we have that as a bond.
    6, we are more than likely the keepers of tradition
    7, we remember birthdays, anniversaries etc
    8, are more thoughtful
    that is all I can think of right now, I will have a think about it

  8. Adorable picture!! I love the kitty! :) And Ivy is such a cool name for your computer! :)

    I enjoyed the post, too!

  9. "I just think (most) people want to be appreciated for what they've worked for, what they've accomplished, and not because of an accident of genetics."

    I do agree with you. Actually I think part of what they're trying to overcome is that sometimes women don't even apply. The company put a profile of me on their website, and I got the impression this was in hopes of encouraging other women to apply to the company. I think they appreciate that women have a lot to offer but might be put off a company that doesn't have any female staff profiles up. The same problem exists in academic science, and I have heard academics discussing how to attract women to stay in science because they want their talent basically. I think women do bring something different and science needs that.

    I certainly think the better candidate should always get the job, yes, but if people in my field of work are trying to encourage women because they recognise that we have something valuable to offer, I will take full advantage!

  10. Hee. *waves back* I like it. :D Also, KITTY! What is kitty's name? (in the header, if it wasn't obvious) S/he's adorable. one looks at me funny if I wear a skirt? :D And similarly, no funny looks when I go into hyper-squee mode over adorable pink things, or want to go into the Disney store, etc. I can't really think of a lot of advantages I've experienced specifically because of being a woman. I can't think of a lot of disadvantages either, though. It's not something that's really mattered to me. Of course, it's not also something I would consider as being my defining trait, so maybe I just don't pay attention and haven't recognized situations where it was a factor.

  11. slice,

    I like all of those! :D

  12. Susanne,

    But you didn't contribute! :p

  13. Sarah,

    Yeah, I think I understand your point. Where I work it's a fairly even mix of men and women and no one has an issue with applying for a job because they feel it's a 'boys club' or a 'girls club', so it just seems weird to me to think that people might hesitate to apply for a job because no one else of their gender works there. But it makes sense, now that you've explained it to me! :)

  14. sanil,

    Kitty's name is Yoda. She's our oldest kitty now and has moved into my room permanently after having to be kept in isolation after a bit of minor surgery on an ear. She's just so cute! She's mrrowing at me now, because I won't let her sit on the keyboard. :D

    Hah! That's true, women can wear pants or skirts and no one cares. But put a *guy* in a skirt, and watch heads explode. Unless you're in Scotland, but then they're kilts. :)

  15. I think there are still a lot of contexts when women are expected to wear a skirt. And women who never wear them are often described as unfeminine.

    But I think you hit the nail on the head, Amber, when you said that the advantages and disadvantages can be the same thing. Because in patriarchy we're encouraged to see thing as advantages that are really disadvantages, and the things that advantage men materially often prevent them from experiencing a full range of human emotions/experience.

  16. Also: Sarah's example of getting a particular job because she's a woman is not an example of advantage of being a woman but rather of her being a woman at the right time and the right place and right field. "Being a woman" as a "trait" is not likely to advantage one in terms of employment in general. Same thing with men being gentlemen. Women in general are not treated better by men because of their gender. I'm sure rape statistics are not lower in the south than they are in other parts of the States, for example, just because men are more "gentlemanly."

  17. Zuhura: I did specify "in male-dominated areas of work", but even in general, I'm not aware of any reason why women don't have this advantage. I really believe that in my country, a woman who wants a particular kind of job and is well-qualified for it can get it at least as easily as a man, if not more so.

    Everyone knows that women still don't make as much as men on average and are still under-represented in some job types, such as management. I don't think this is about a lack of opportunity - I see more bending over backwards to give women opportunities than I see sexism against women. I think it's more about choices.

    Maybe we could say it's a disadvantage being a woman *because* we are likely to set our priorities in such a way that we don't ultimately have as much success in the workplace. But I guess it depends how you define success. Less money, less stress, more flexibility and a more supportive and nurturing work environment might constitute success for some people.

  18. Zuhura,

    I think there are still a lot of contexts when women are expected to wear a skirt. And women who never wear them are often described as unfeminine.

    What are some of those contexts? Aside from some religious groups, I can't think of any.

    and the things that advantage men materially often prevent them from experiencing a full range of human emotions/experience.

    So men are emotionally stunted?

    Same thing with men being gentlemen. Women in general are not treated better by men because of their gender. I'm sure rape statistics are not lower in the south than they are in other parts of the States, for example, just because men are more "gentlemanly."

    Ah, I respectfully disagree, at least as far as the treatment of women by men who are gentlemen is concerned. They do treat women better for the simple reason that they are women. I guess to some people it doesn't seem like it's 'better', or it might even seem insulting or patronizing, but that's their perspective, from outside the culture and the dynamic.

    I can't comment on whether the rape statistics are different in the South than they are in the West or the North, because I haven't got a clue what the rape statistics for anywhere are.

  19. Re: employment & affirmative action. In general, women face obstacles to employment that men don't face. Such as child care responsibilities conflicting with work (or being perceived as such by employers). Sure, there are some companies that are family-friendly, some men who do child care, but in general, for women around the world, it is harder to make a living than it is for men.

    Re: skirts. In academia in the US women are encouraged to wear skirts for interviews; probably other fields as well. In everyday contexts women are encouraged in more subtle ways to wear skirts. (More compliments, for example.) Studies have shown that female professors who dress more femininely get higher evaluations from their students. In some parts of the world women are forbidden from wearing pants at all. My 8 year old host brother in East Africa thought that women didn't have legs until he found a pair of my pants in the laundry. I recommend Femininity by Susan Brownmiller, who makes very well-argued points about how feminine fashion is used to disadvantage women.

    Re: gentlemen. I'm not saying those particular men don't treat (particular) women better. I'm saying women at a global scale are not treated better because of our gender. Rape statistics, domestic violence, wage discrepancy, etc. all point to this.

    Re all these points: If we're not referring to women as a species (e.g. at a global level), then we're really just talking about the advantages of living in Western countries, not about the advantages of being a woman.

  20. Blogger ate my comment! Son of a bitch. Okay, let's try this again.

    I actually understand why we need things like affirmative action. I think it's a sad commentary on humanity, but I know that it's necessary. Maybe someday we'll have evolved out of the need for it, but I doubt it.

    Ah. See, I've never encountered that, but then again I've never tried to work in the education field. And I've never paid that much attention to how my professors or teachers dressed, so that passed me by.

    I'd also like to say, in my own, perhaps ignorant defense, that I've never read anything from a feminist perspective. Ever. So things that are known facts in that world are alien to me, maybe.

    I see. I thought you were trying to make a specific point about the 'Southern gentleman'. I didn't realize that you were trying to make a more general statement about the treatment of women all over the world. Sorry! :)

    Re all these points: If we're not referring to women as a species (e.g. at a global level), then we're really just talking about the advantages of living in Western countries, not about the advantages of being a woman.

    Even I am not naive enough to think that the accident of my gender gives me advantages all over the world. Historically, as well as currently, women in the broadest sense (globally) have been oppressed and taken advantage of. There's no argument for that. But that's why I asked what readers thought the advantages to being a woman were within their own cultures.

  21. for fear of rath for anything I am going to say now, this is just me and my thoughts and my house hold. if this is different from your home, great for you.

    I am going got the lighter side and not touching too much on the men v women thing at work...

    sooooo, following on from my previous and still on the advantages

    1, I get away with more things. like being a little wimpy. I am not tall, and the bin is quite large, I stuggle with it. so most of the time the taking out of the bin is not my job.

    2, this also applies to very heavy garden work, I help but I can be hinder.

    3, I think ladies are allowed more often to persue more artist outlets. for instance, PB went to an English Public School, very disiplined and from a young age was taught very traditional values. he was schooled in the thinking that he would be the larger wage earner, so jobs like, solicitor, barrister, doctor were the jobs they were destined for. He was taught art, but I can say they never said Artist to him when he completed his application for uni.

    4, there a many more types/styles of clothing. other than kilts, men never wear skirts....

    5, I can reinvent myself daily with make up or different hair styles.

    6, coming from a religious/traditional back ground, although we talk and discuss all things. major purchases, it is nice to know that the patriachy thing comes into it. (and I have been known to give in, size of the tv for the snug...). But I can plead complete ignorance also. Which I suppose loads of people will hate, that I have said that. but a little bit of give, for a quiet life... well I think it is worth it. We have been together 15 years so something is working...

    when it comes down to it, alot can be said about the whole way you think. is the glass half empty or half full?

    disadvantages/advantages as put in a previous comment where religion is incorporated, is a spin on it. Some would say it is degrading for the husband to set the rules. if you marry him you are under his headship.

    It used to be because of child rearing and protection as a woman. This may be outdated for some, but you will find many women looking for this. Why else would there be so many women looking on dating sites for men in uniform, men in certain jobs. I think it might be because there is still that 'someone to take care of me'.

    do you long for a more traditional life or are you more career minded? (I work full time, but I dont have a family. I love working but I could stay home if I wanted...I am very lucky, I know and thankful every day)

    when I asked at work what I got was a mouth full. but what it boils down to, is that we want it all now adays. A career, a family, a large house, 2 cars. and the ladies at work who have this, they still arent happy. Say they have no time. no this, want more of that....

    there was an article in a paper, that women in the Netherlands are the happiest in the world or something. they work part time and are happy to live in smaller houses...

    I will find it and paste it in another comment as I am sure this one is huge.

  22. Slice of life: Very interesting. I don't think we *can* have it all, and when we try to, we feel disadvantaged in one way or another because it doesn't work!

  23. slice,

    Ah, no one's gonna yell or anything. We're all adults, having a discussion. :)

    Lighter side of life, here we come!

    1. So much yes. I, ah, can actually lift more weight than everyone in my house, including my father. They do not know this. And I am more than willing to allow men to do heavy lifting for me, just because they're the men, and I'm the girl.

    2. Hah! I approve! I am totally there. I *hate* yard work, and am constantly pleading 'girl!' and arguing that the yard is men's work. :)

    3. That's true. I think women can pursue a career in artistic things with far fewer arguments or 'looks' against it.

    4. Which is sad, because skirts are comfy! I think they'd like them, if they tried them! Also, I have a thing for a man in a kilt. But that's neither here nor there...

    5. Definitely!

    6. Not so much from a traditional religious background, but I was definitely raised traditional Southern, which means that the woman can work, and sometimes has to, but it's always the man's responsibility to provide for the family. And that gives him a little more of a vote. Not that he always gets his way, but that her certainly 'wears the pants'. And I don't have a problem with that at all. I personally want a traditional life and a traditional marriage. I would *love* to be a stay-at-home wife/mother if that was ever possible. *eyes go dreamy* On a farm somewhere, with acres and acres and no neighbors for miles. But I'd still need my internet. So there's that. :)

    I don't want the career, two cars, etc. I just don't care about that kind of stuff. I never have. My perfect life involves a family, and having what we need. A *big* family. :D

  24. Going on from one of Sarah's comments. About there still being chilvalry in Scotland. I state this is wholly the parents standards instilled in their child.

    My nephew will stand and offer his seat to anyone older than him. He also stands if an elder enters the room and then walks out...

    He also takes his roll of being 'a man' seriously. we all giggle, but when there are only ladies in the room,for lunch, he insists on saying grace. He is 6. it will be a sad day when his peers and social activities broaden his horizons. this will all be fodder for his wedding day.

    but then on the other hand, we cant complain that we miss all the older traditions, manners etc when people dont teach their children them. Especially when we demand equality on everything. Boardroom, bedroom, all aspects.

    is it insulting to have a door held open for us now? I dont know?

    maybe alot of the time, men are as confused as I am right now, as to if I am not PC enough or the being so PC is wrong also.

    I only know that alot of it is cultural/religiously lead in my life. how my parents were, their standards and teaching.

    seeing as it looks like religion is going to die out in this country, I will probably be an exhibit or something.

    I read this

    also have you seen this? I think it may be good reading for you

    ok am stopping now.

    what has your sister come up with so far...

  25. Sarah, I completely agree, we cant have it all. Am I mad about this? No not really.

    Amber - I also go dreamy eyed at that thought. one day I will have a family. I think after 14 going on 15 years of marriage that it might be time! LOL I think 34 is a good age now... lol

  26. slice,

    I agree. The parents instill those values in their children. That's why you still have the Southern version of chivalry alive and well in the South. Because the parents bring their children up with it.

    Awww....your nephew is adorable!

    I'm insulted when a man doesn't hold the door for me.

    Oh, those articles are very interesting. Thanks for sharing them!

    I don't know what she's come up with, I'll have to ask her. Or just wait for her to throw the paper at me so I can proof read it...

  27. I googled to look for Slice of life's article on Dutch women and came up with this:

    And this:

    I have to say, I wish I was Dutch. :)

  28. Oh,I must be Dutch and didn't even realize it! Great article, Sarah! (I read the first one.)

  29. I would like a one way ticket to the Netherlands, please. Holy crap. I will even learn to speak Dutch.

  30. This has been really very interesting! The articles about Dutch women too. There's definitely something more natural about women working less than men. I am all for the freedom and ease we have to access the workplace, but I hate that we are raised to feel like we need 2 salaries. I know we don't actually. I was working while my husband was unemployed for 1 year and we lived just fine! Now that we're both working, it feels like we're not putting away nearly as much money as we should and unless I KNEW we were able to live on one salary, I might not believe it myself!

  31. am glad you like the idea Amber! et al! LOL

  32. Candice,

    We are raised to think that everyone has to work in the household so that we can buy that new car, or that boat, or whatever. And sometimes both adults do have to work, just to survive. And that's different. But just so we can have the latest shiny thing? No. Plenty of couples work with one income, and they're happy because they're not so focused on the material wealth.

  33. slice,

    You laugh now, just wait until we all show up! :D

  34. Quran Recitation Online

    As-Salamu `alaykum.
    Actually Islam gives more advantages of women in our religion women have more respect than other religion, first thing is Hijjab, basically Hijjab protect the women, second in our religion women have no responsibility to earn money, this responsibility Allah(SWT) gives a men. There are so many points in our religion that explain that women have advantages.

  35. Kokab,

    Your comment got caught up in the spam filter.

    It may be true in theory that Islam is supposed to give women more respect, but it is not necessarily true in practice. I know that the banning of women from community life, from the mosques and the removal of their rights is not supposed to be an Islamic problem, but a Muslim problem. However, we have to look at the believers in order to gauge the religion to a certain degree. One has to ask, is the flaw with the followers of the religion or the religion itself? And I'm not picking on Islam. Every time I see a Christian behaving badly, I have to ask, is that a flaw of theirs, or a flaw of the faith given expression through them?

    I have never been sent to a separate room or the back of the room simply because of my gender in any church I have attended.

    Physical hijab does not seem to protect the women at all. I have read too many accounts of Muslim women in full hijab in Muslim nations being harassed by Muslim men. The cloth does not equal protection on it's own. There needs to be the control and respect for the women inside of the men for hijab to mean anything in that regard at all. The men need to lower their gazes and practice hijab of the mind and the heart.

    Having the burden of caring for the family on the man only works if you have a good man. And they're hard to find, no matter where you are.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...