Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Unreasonable Limits

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According to Frye’s “Oppression” our culture requires men to be emotionally restrained and woman to be physically restrained.  This restraint limits, and indeed oppresses, both men and women.  A high school girl who participates in the sport of shot put is likely to be teased and ridiculed for her large arm muscles, where a young man would be praised.  When a woman is brought to tears by a work of art or a poem she is might be seen as tasteful or artistic, but when a man cries over art or poetry he is girly and weak.  A woman should not enjoy the rush of adrenalin a person experiences when racing a motorcycle or watching someone ride a bull that had been provoked to the point of madness. A man should never know the solace of confessing his deepest emotional secrets to a close friend.

When we accept these norms that our culture is feeding us we limit ourselves to less than our best.  By defining femininity and masculinity in this way we push ourselves into a corner where there is no room for differences.  Not all women are designed to be doctors and scientists, just like not all women are designed to be homemakers.  A man can be a nurse or a fashion designer and still be a man.  The world is full of so many choices.  The cultural norms of what is masculine and feminine are absurd limitations that are unreasonable and even unhealthy.

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