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.

17 comments:

Abeni said...

Yes,it still has a whole set of double standards with respect to gender behaviour.You know how many times I got told a woman can't do what a man does and still be a lady.So there is a lot of truth in what your uncle friend said because somehow it shows how much of a stud the man is based on his number of partners,while for the woman she is loose.Some perceptions just hard to overcome.

A true Virgo said...

Yes i agree with Abeni. It is a double standard. But then not all men are equal. I do not look at a lady of my age & start thinking of sex. Some people do want just friendship. And some do know how to respect others including woman :)

Scratchie said...

Hi Mel, Just saying Hi. I agree the doule standards exist. I put forward that real men don't use and abuse women nor do they need to prove their manhood.
Kami's link kinda has me distressed so I'll re read later.

BTW the quote was Jesse Jackson.

Sunshine said...

Hi Miss Melody-Great post here. I agree with Abeni and True Virgo re double standards between the sexes. Your aunt reacted to those slurs like a woman that has been raped. Some reports states that when a woman goes through trauma such as rape one of the first things they do is cut their hair. It is a form of the only control they have. Eating disorders is another symtom, changing the way one dresses is another. It's sad that some men feel that the more partners they have, that makes them a man. I feel men like that have too much of the hunter and conquer genes in them and men like that have no substance. Have a great day Mel.

Anonymous said...

this is a good post mel. i agree with all the comments. there is such a double standard that it is horribly disturbing. Beau and me talk about stuff like this and it hurts my feelings sometimes to know that these standards have not only become a way of life concious and unconcious but it would take a million lifetimes to change it. Even us women have accepted some of the standards and during our liberation we still conform to some standards that are fitting to men or the man we are with. This is one of the reasons I liked Sex in the City so much. These four women were liberal in matters of sex, love, and life just the way men are and have always been. It was a whats good for the goose is good for the gander type show. So many men talked badly of that show saying they were high class whores but they reflected a comuunity of men that outwieghs any group of women.

Nena

Jdid said...

Explain the 'white liver' comment. not sure I get it.

I'll be honest here though. Call me chauvanistic but to me I just dont like seeing women doing certain things that I take for granted in men. I dont like seeing women drinking alot or smoking alot or who are sleeping around wid nuff man. I'm sure from a feminist point of view its all good but just from my moral viewpoint I tend to try to hold the ladies to a higher standard than the men and thats the truth.

Melody said...
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Melody said...

Kami, just like females would best aim for ladylike behaviour, males would best aim for gentlemanly behaviour, so your response would be, "A gentleman can't do what de ol' studs do, an' still be a gentleman."
Swagato, it seems power-hunger rushes to some men's mind when they see women, but some mask it in sexual energy an' promiscuity--those are de most judgemental. Good yu respect women, we respect u 2.:)
Scratchie, true, those don't need to abuse anyone--that link from Kami's was really harsh.
Sunshine, interestin' yu said that, in light ov de fact that her relative had been badly assaulted just before de slur incident--an' it was by no means de 1st time she'd heard that slur. De need for control can be so desperate. Hope yu had a great day.
Nena, ah didn't watch Sex & de City 'cause its cast an' its marketin' didn't pull me in, but ah guess its appeal was in de liberated, independent women, all unmarried an' affordin' lavish lifestyles an' glamorous romances--at least, based on what I've heard ov it. Ah keep sayin' I'll rent a couple ov episodes an' watch it, maybe now ah will!
Jdid, 'white liver' is a derogatory term that some social groups in JA use to accuse girls (East Indians or anyone who resembles East Indians) ov nymphomania. It has no basis, is purely prejudicial, but some discriminate by accusin' girls ov nympho behaviour just like that. When they publicly label her wif de slur, it can open de door to other kinds ov covert speculation about her character. It hurts people's feelin's, but some insist on seein' it as a joke or a truth.

Mad Bull said...

Good post. It was ruff on your aunt still, pity she let it affect her that way...

Anonymous said...

Agree, good post. Also in agreement that the double standards exist.

Fact of the matter is that we live in a time where we all have to be careful with our sexuality.

I may be straying a bit, but just today I saw a University student with genital warts at 23. He has already been treated for Gonorrhoea twice! Yute looking pon me as I was giving him the 'talk' and ask me if me never get 'dem ting deh yet?' I said to him, "Hell NO!" (Apparently he considers this 'normal' for a man!) I tell him he may soon find out what o'clock a strike!

BTW, we men do use some pretty awful slangs to describe things sexual....but I've never heard the one about....'seal being broken' before! Dr. D.

Abeni said...

You going to be on msn tonight?

Melody said...

American Idol's results show's on, Kam! Ah might c ya L8er tho, dependin' on Da Piggies! :)

Melody said...

MB, it was a pity mi auntie grew so defensive.
Doc, that "seal bein' broken" does sound crude fe true, an' that wart yute sounds disgustin'. His partners prob'ly don't even check him out to see what they're gettin' involved wif. Then him a bright up himself to you. It really takes a lot to be a Doc.

Anonymous said...

Just read your comment at Sunshine claiming dat you on break from blogging.....hear what? The Piggy has NOT officially applied for leave from the blogdom, and even if she had, who says same would have received approval (ever hear de rubbish 'bout you haffi earn leave in order to tek it?) Hence you are now considered AWOL. This 'no post' time shall be deducted from thy monthly stipend! ;-)

Hush yaw Piggy....we anxiously await your return to oinking! Kiss Kiss!! Dr. D.

Melody said...

Kiss Kiss, Doc, you're prob'ly just as sensitive as De Piggy is, soh yu can understand how sometimes wi haffe wifdraw an' consider fe a time--soh this is that time, but nuff luv to you.

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Swingin80 said...
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