Firstly, I’d just like to apologise for my absence from Gabbling Geeks recently. I haven’t posted an article in a few weeks, mainly due to a combination of lack of time, the fact that I’ve just built a new computer and am now playing Dragon Age Origins as I’ve wanted to since before Christmas, and my own sheer laziness. Anyway, on to the subject of this article.
Now, before anyone thinks of making any jokes about this topic (hur dur hur penis lol...) I just want to point out that I’m talking about the way the different genders are treated, both in society, in the workplace and people’s general opinion etc etc. When I was growing up, I never thought there was any difference between men and women. I never thought either my mum or my dad was any better or worse than the other, I just viewed them both as parents plain and simple. As I got older I started to discover that this actually isn’t the case in the world. Women get paid less in the workplace, and men get less paternity leave than women get maternity leave. In fact according to Wikipedia, in the United Kingdom, women now get 52 weeks paid maternity leave compared to 2 weeks paid and up to 13 weeks unpaid paternity leave that men get. I personally think it’s utterly daft that the genders are treated so differently. We’re all human beings aren’t we? In my experience most of the women that I’ve met can do stereotypically male things just as well as I can, better in some cases, and I know some men who are just as good as women at stereotypical female professions. In fact, Jo is a much better programmer than me, she’s probably one of the best in our group at university, and games programming is a stereotypically male profession. There are genetic differences between men and women, men are generally stronger than women for example, but that’s no reason to say that women can’t do something. A man might be better suited for a physical job than a woman due to this, but women can still do the same job, there’s nothing stopping them. Also, women are more often considered to be the carers for children, but that’s not to say that a man can’t give the same sort of care and attention to a child that a woman can.
Going back to the subject of pay and parental leave, this is completely ridiculous. There’s absolutely no reason that women should be paid less for doing the same amount of work as a man. That’s just a completely archaic and chauvinistic view. It’s shocking to think that, even though we have so much political correctness these days, women still get paid less than men. Now imagine if someone got paid less because they were of, say, African American ethnicity. There’d be public outrage right? Where’s the difference?
On the flip side of this argument however you have the parental leave issue. Women have to go through childbirth, but 48 extra weeks of paid maternity leave seems a little excessive to me. I’m not saying women should get less maternity leave, but I’m saying men should get an equal amount of paternity leave. Childbirth is an emotional time for the father too, and I know I want to be there during my child’s early years at least. Why can’t parental leave be shared between the parents? Each parent gets every other week off, alternating with each other to look after the child, once the mother has recovered from childbirth. Maternity leave being longer than paternity leave is another example of an archaic view, this one being of women as homemakers. Today, you often find that both genders work just as much as each other, and it’s not uncommon to find a male homemaker.
The media doesn’t help matters either. If you look at adverts on TV, the internet and in newspapers for example you’ll be bombarded by adverts portraying one gender or the other in incredibly stereotypical ways. A recent example I can think of is the Tesco Clubcard one where the man wants a new TV and sofa to watch the World Cup on, and the women says he can have it because they got double points, or some such twaddle. Not every man in the country follows the World Cup like a religion. I personally detest football, and couldn’t really care less if we win the World Cup or not. I take offense to people assuming I give a rat’s arse just because I’m male. Then again, I’m not your usual male at all. If me and Jo didn’t look like our respective genders you’d have trouble telling us apart. A list of my favourite films would probably include Love Actually, The Holiday and Titanic, which are generally considered women’s films, whereas a list of Jo’s favourite films would include Transformers and Terminator, stereotypically male films. I prefer drinking wine, whereas Jo likes lager. I like MMORPGs which are generally considered to be more suited for women because of the social aspect (I know), and Jo likes FPSs, which are male dominated. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this though. Is there any reason why we should force ourselves to like or not like something because of the gender we were born as?
On the subject of FPSs, I’d just like to bring up the experiences Jo has had while playing some shooters. She generally goes by the name Gamezgoddess online, so it’s quite apparent that she’s female, and while using this name on public servers of games like CounterStrike, she’s had guys having a go at her because she “shouldn’t be playing a game like this” and generally just being dickholes to her. Everyone should be able to do what they enjoy regardless of gender, and I think it’s about time the world as a whole realised this and started to change its ways personally.