Culture and gender inequality are universal and particular

February 6, 2019 Critical Thinking

Culture and gender inequality are universal and particular. Some cultures give
males the sense of power and authority which leads to male domination and oppresses
females results in less girls being wanted by families which will soon lead to the
abundance of men in the future.
Culture is “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial,
religious, or social group” (Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary, 2018). Culture is
universal, it is everywhere around us and outlines our lives. Humans are seen as
cultural creatures as our foundation is built off of culture. When a child is a little baby it
is like a flower, it needs to be watered and taken care of in order for it to bloom.
Humans are quite like flowers as we are watered by our parents while growing up,
we follow certain traditions and customs which are run in our household, this is where
culture comes into place. We tend to follow certain beliefs based on religion and follow
customs and traditions, eat certain types of foods and may have specific dressing
codes. Our society also plays a major role in culture as it shares the same foundation
such as language, economy, politics, weather and holidays. This is all based on culture
as culture is everything that a human learns, it is a part of everything we do!
Culture is universal as it never stops and is passed down to generations also
known as enculturation. It is treated very differently by different groups as in some
cultures many factors influence the way an individual is treated whether it is based on
gender, sexual orientation or even age and economic class. It is learned overtime as we
are not born with culture, as an individual grows culture is learned and obtained. Gender
inequality persists in the world of culture as we see discrimination in women in today’s
advanced and educated society in many different aspects. Women have traditionally
been given the title of “homemakers” and caregivers of children. Historically, women
have been the ones to do housework, clean and cook for their families but things have
changed and tasks are no longer defined by gender. Many forms of media such as tv
shows and movies reinforce these traditional roles through characters portraying an
image of women to be the ones that are meant to do daily household tasks and chores
which shows a sense of inequality. Women are traditionally considered to be more
sensitive, emotional, gentle and dependent than their male counterparts. This gives a
sense to the public that females are weak and oppresses them which leads to male
dominance. With these cultural labels tied to gender expectations, cultural expectations
then influence how people react to each other and how they view themselves based on
those labels. Culture influences how men and women think about themselves within
their gender role.
“Male dominance is one of the earliest known and most widespread forms of
inequality in human history. Male dominance seems to them a universal, if not inevitable
relationship that has been with us since the dawn of our species. (versobooks.com,
2018). Throughout history we have seen men to be given more recognition in every field
of work such as Hitler, Napoleon, Lincoln and Washington have all been considered to
be significant figures. Many cultures and religions justify the oppression of women by
attributing sexual power to them, men must have control in order to maintain their own
purity and power. Natural physical occurrences such as including childbirth and
menstruation, sometimes breastfeeding and pregnancy are considered to be impure
and disgusting. Women are often required to cover their bodies and faces to keep men
from being overpowered in these cultures, they are treated like a piece of property as
this is unfair treatment to women in these cultures. Throughout the years we have heard
of or seen many cultures treating women and girls poorly. I come from an Indian
background and we rejoice in celebrations when a baby boy is born but when a girl is
born this celebration is not held and some people morn. I have been lucky to be born
into a family where both males and females are treated equally and when a baby is born
this celebration is held despite the fact if it is a baby girl or a boy. Some daughters are
being killed at birth or before birth mainly due to the love for a male child, it is
unfortunate to say that if a daughter does survive she will be discriminated throughout
her lifetime. Women have been exploited, degraded, violated and discriminated both in
their homes by family and by outsiders in Indian society. We hear it on the news that a
new born baby girl has been found in a dumpster or in a river or left outside an
orphanage. It is sad to say that some people still consider women to be weak and this is
mainly due to society believing in the patriarchy system. Patriarchy is “a system of
social structure and practices in which men dominate, oppress and exploit women.
Women’s exploitation is an age old cultural phenomenon of Indian society. The system
of patriarchy finds its validity and sanction in our religious beliefs, whether it is Hindu,
Muslim or any other religion.” (“Gender Inequality in India – Concept, Causes and
Types”, 2018)
Poverty and the lack of education are also reasons as to why women are
oppressed as some individuals cannot simply afford to raise and send their daughters to
school. In a poor Indian family whom gives more importance to boys over girls will most
likely educate the boy as they are the heir of their family, girls will be kept at home to do
household chores as they are not considered part of the family when they are married
so it is of no use for such a family to educate their daughter. Girls are also aborted due
to the high costs of marriage in an Indian family and dowry. Some women that have
been disowned by their family have to work in low paying domestic services, organized
prostitution or as migrant laborer’s to make ends meet. “The preference for boys and
the availability of sex-selective operations, although illegal in India, means there’s a
gender gap of as many as 63 million girls, classified in the report as “missing.”
As a result, India has one of the most skewed sex ratios in the world. For every 107
males born in India, there are 100 females. According to the World Health Organization
the natural sex ratio at birth is 105 males for every 100 females.” (Euan McKirdy,
2018).These statistics are terrifying as there will soon be an abundance of boys and not
as many girls will be available which will limit the amount of reproduction in the future.
In conclusion, cultural and gender is universal and particular. Culture plays a major
role in how women are treated in different parts of the world. It is sad to say that
despite living in such a modern society women are still discriminated against. A
culturally ingrained parental preference for sons is linked to poorer consequences for
daughters, gender inequality has led to millions of unwanted girls, a belief in the
patriarchy system and female oppression.

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