Culture

Part II: Cinderella did not complain about equal pay

Part I: Beautiful women are not made of silicone

You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work.

This is a quote from a speech by a leader of an industrialized country. If you think this speech was written late in the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution then you are mistaken. Neither was it addressed to the public during, or after, WWI nor WWII to encourage women to participate in men’s ambition to concur the world. The speech was addresses by the leader of the most powerful country for the past two decades and one of the top dominating countries in the past half century – only three weeks ago, January 2012.

When President Obama said the above statement in his last state of the union 2012 speech the entire audience gave him a standing ovation regardless of their political view and more interestingly enough regardless of their gender.

If a country like the US, with its progressive new policies and laws, is still struggling to convince The Man of the importance of “equal pay” then obviously there is a reason that we still couldn’t figure out how to approach it properly.

Women sometimes use the blame card which I think will not help their cause regarding ‘equal pay’ because men also have a lot also to use as a defense mechanism against this agreed upon fact. Both genders can come up with myriad of reasons pointing fingers against the other gender. The issue is as complex as to whom Al-Quds (Jerusalem) belong to and it seems the only resolution so far is who is stronger and dominating.  Sometimes the underdog needs to work harder and uses wisdom to find a resolution. By working harder, I don’t mean regarding women’s professions but boosting confidence on young girls.

During a discussion among fathers, one father complained how unlike his young son his young daughter is very shy. He continued to say that although she is the top in her class she doesn’t raise her hand, for example, to answer her teachers’ questions. Another father who has grown up children advised him to use the same words and the same do and don’t when talking to them. Oddly, he is very right. I will explain.

We treat our children differently without noticing. We read stories that always describe the heroine to be beautiful and always waiting for prince charming to rescue her. Stories like ‘Cinderella’, ‘The Frog prince’, ‘ Snow White and Seven Dwarfs’ and many others all tell the story of a beautiful woman who eventually been rescued by a strong man. As a boy I liked these stories but I enjoyed more reading the adventures of ‘Sindbad’, ‘Jack and the Bean Tree’ and of course the chivalry ‘Lancelot Du lac.’ The reason I knew about all these stories is because of my father and maybe because I used to read my sisters’ girly tales as well.

To agree with my friend’s point above I believe we should not enforce or screen gender-specific tales on our children at a young age. I don’t have children so I don’t know what is in the market now. But the above internationally celebrated tales are obviously gender specific; “beautiful girl waiting” and “adventurer boy seeking” themes. Every kid should read these great tales but maybe with caution. Either parents delay such readings to a certain age (may be to an early teenage) or parents discuss with their children how although these are great stories but women can also dream of a better adventure and not necessarily waiting her prince charming.  I think stories with gender-less animals are great for children of a young age. ‘Kalila Wa Dimna’ book has many interesting tales about animals and suitable for kids. I forgot most of the stories in it but I think the stories teaches about needed human attributes regardless of gender.

So, what do you say?

Part III: I will not buy a Barbie for my daughter

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9 thoughts on “Part II: Cinderella did not complain about equal pay

  1. It’s true that we treat boys and girls differently. As a woman, growing up with two older brothers, I was constantly being told that I couldn’t stay out past a certain time, that I couldn’t go to parties that had both boys and girls, etc. When I pointed out that my brothers were allowed to do those things at my age, I was met with “Because they’re boys.” I think that we should try to treat girls and boys the same, but sometimes we fall back on familiar patterns because it is easier.

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    1. Tina, thanks for your comment. I think you are right regarding falling victim to the pattern that we are familiar with. That is, boys are allowed to do things but girls are not. And this problem is more common among conservative cultures.

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  2. صباح الخير مالك

    بدي احاول ما اعمم بس بدي احكي من وجهة نظري الخاصه

    هلأ انا بنت بين 3 شباب …تربايتي اكيد كانت مختلفه وما بنكر ان فيها جزء كبير من الدلال و خصوصا من بابا اللي كان صارم جدا على خواني و تارك التعامل معي وقت ما اخطأ لماما

    اول شي بالنسبة للتعامل مع كل الابناء -بنات و اولاد – بنفس الطريقه من وجهة نظري مش صحيحه…مش كبنت و ولد لأ حتى كأولاد, من وجهة نظري ان كل شخص اله شخصيته الخاصه, و المفروض يتعامل حسب شخصيته, يعني مثلا في منهم الكلمه بتأثر فيهم و بتقوّم تصرفاتهم و في منهم العقاب الوحيد اللي بمشي و هيك فكل شخص المفروض يتعامل حسب شخصيته و نفس الشي بتوكيل المهام,كل واحد حسب الاشي اللي بحبه و ببدع فيه, ليش ما يكون الشغل برضه تحفيز للابداع

    هلأ نيجي للقصص….جد بتعتقد ان لسا في بنات بفكرو بطريقه امير الاحلام؟؟؟ هالفكره من زمااااااااااااااااان مختفيه, الامير المنقذ هاد يمكن عند الغرب ولكن عنّا البنت بتجتهد لحتى تعتمد على نفسها , ممكن حتى الموضوع صار بزياده و بالغنا فيه لدرجه ان في رجال بشكو من حرمانهم من دور المنقذ المنتظر, انا بالنسبة الي بايام الطفولة توم سوير كان يسوى 10 سنو وايتات بنظري

    اسفة كتير على ترتيب الافكار الضايع بس لاني هلأ قرأت الموضوع و المفروض اطلع للشغل ولكن ما قدرت ما اعلّق 🙂

    الي عوده اكيد لموضوع المساواه بالاجور لانها بدها حكي كتير هاي

    سلام 🙂

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    1. شكرا على التعليق والعوده الى مدونتي
      انا حاب اسمع منك عن موضوع المساواة بالأجور لأني بعتقد انه مش موجود بالأردن والسبب انه الكل بيعرف رواتب الموظفين. في امريكا الموضوع مختلف في المؤسسات الخاصه اما في المؤسسات الحكوميه فالرواتب مكشوفه للجميع.ـ
      انا معاك في موضوع انه الأخوه بيختلفوا بس انا قصدت انهم في عمر صغير جدا لازم ما نعلم البنت انه هي بنت ولازم تكون خجوله والولد نقول له خليك قوي.ـ
      في سن اقل من عشر سنوات اعتقد انه موضوع شو الولد ممكن يسوي والبنت عيب تسوي لازم ما يكون موجود.ـ اذا بنعلم الولد انه يدافع عن حاله عشان ياخذ لعبته لازم كمان نحكي نفس الكلام للبنت. في عمر ما بعد العشر سنوات ممكن الكلام يختلف.ـ

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  3. I think you make some great points. The stories that are read to children do have a huge effect on how they will turn out but I think it goes beyond reading but also actions. I think it’s also the activities we put each gender in. Girls go to ballet and boys go to karate, for example. Putting both genders in activities that will help build their confidence, self esteem and agility are important.

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