Wednesday, February 23, 2005
De Gender Gap
Had a very informative conversation this afternoon. Mi uncle was tellin' mi about a coworker ov his (a J'can he met since migratin' to London), an' de coworker's controversial views. De guy is married, but still somewhat radical. He offered to introduce mi uncle to a young English-woman ov J'can parentage. He kept repeatin' to mi uncle how "nice" an' "good" de 28-year-old is. "She's a total lady, pure as her own birfday," he told mi uncle. Mi uncle thought that meant she's a virgin--not an appealin' thought to any man who's aged past de big 4-0. Mi uncle says he told de coworker, "I'm not a teenager; I'm about buyin' de orchard an' plantin' fruit, not pickin' cherries." De coworker quickly clarified that de lady's "seal was broken," (ah know, it's horrid an' chauvinistic!), but said that de woman's been celibate for about 8 years. "Yes, that would be safest, all considerin'," mi uncle said, but de coworker said, "No, mate, it's not just a question ov health an' safety." Then, he proceeded to explain how a woman's inward an' outward esteem drops just a bit more wif each new partner, an' how a man's inward an' outward esteem rises just that much wif each new partner he has. Mi uncle asked him if he missed de Women's Lib movement, but now mi uncle says to me, "That's still de world we live in, Mel. That's why a man should never take for granted when a woman sleeps wif him, 'cause by sleepin' wif him, she runs such a social risk coupled wif de regular risks. That's quite a bit ov emotion she's got in de balance." Then he explained to me why mi aunt's always been so stern an' strict. Turns out, way back when mi aunt was in high school, she an' a male neighbour were walkin' along Eastwood Park Road, when a motorist called out to her, "Hey, White Liver! When me can get my piece?" Those words started a lot ov snickerin' an' outright laughter at mi auntie's expense. De motorist didn't know mi auntie, an' still doesn't. They were complete strangers, but because her features fit some stereotype he has, he threw de slur at her. Mi auntie was very ashamed--a little before that, a relative ov hers had been assaulted, an' people had dismissed de assault wif de same kind ov slur. Mi auntie took de insult personally. She cut her hair to everyone's surprise, an' started wearin' very baggy clothes an' long skirts instead ov regular jeans. That didn't deter those who wanted to hold on to stereotypes, they just labeled her conservative appearance as "sneakin'," so that they could keep her in their narrow-minded view. She's always been very circumspect in her appearance an' her behaviour. She stayed in a rocky marriage for decades, just because she didn't want "talk" to go 'round if she moved on (talk about livin' your life for other people--wake up, woman!). Ah thought she was just too uptight; however, now ah understand why she always spoke so sternly to me, an' why she set me such (unrealistic?) boundaries. In her day, judgement fell hard on women--it still does in de curious customs ov some societies, as ah learnt from Sunshine's Blog. An' as tough as it is for men to be men, it still seems tougher for women to be women in many respects.