Social Question

ubersiren's avatar

Do you think anything would change if traditional gender roles were reveresed for one day?

Asked by ubersiren (15152points) June 15th, 2010

In your house, in your country, the whole world, etc. However you’d like to answer. What if for one day, women were treated as men and men were treated as women?

We would all have our memories and personalities. If you’re a gay man, you would still be attracted to men, but would be treated as a woman. (just an example for clarification sake)

In the last year or so, I’ve had a heightened awareness of the sexism that exists around me. A ton on the internet, but even in other media, and even in my own home. I believe it’s become so commonplace that many folks don’t even know or believe it exists. And it’s kind of pissing me off. For example, the other day someone said that a little boy “screamed like a little girl.” It made me a little annoyed and the person didn’t understand why. And that’s a mild story.

On the same token, I understand men have issues with being prejudged as unfit parents, domestic abusers, etc.

Would it do any good to reverse roles for a day? Would any lesson really be learned, or would it make things worse?

I keep thinking Saudi Arabia…

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32 Answers

syz's avatar

In my own life, I doubt that it would make much of a difference. As a woman in a relationship with another woman, my employers already treat me as “one of the guys”, sometimes to my dismay. I interact with the uber macho workmen at the site where we are building a new hospital and with the all male contractor/architect/subcontractors that are involved in the project, and they’ve never treated me differently than they do the two guys that own the business. But then, that may have something to do with the fact that I am not the sort to quietly ignore any crap like that.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think it would take a lot more than one day for men to understand and admit to their privileged position in society, at least in most Western, industrialized countries. In countries where gender differences are large, I’m thinking if women knew what it was like, for even one day, to be able to walk freely, talk freely and think freely, they might begin a new cultural revolution.

JLeslie's avatar

In my home it would make little difference I think. I do many of the traditional female things like cook and clean, but that is because I am working very little right now, and my husband works full time. When I worked full time we split the chores. We don’t really define things in terms of generder in our relationship, but more by what each of us prefers to do or dislikes. I feel like my home life is ver much a partnership and we, within the relationship define our roles, and it is constantly changing and evolving depending on circumstance and desires.

Now, I would like for all of those service people who treat me like I am an idiot because I am a woman, like telling me some stations on my TV don’t work because there is something wrong with my TV, and not with my cable, and I had to go upstairs carry down my tv and prove to the asshole that it is the cable and not the TV, I would like him to have to experience that type of thing as a woman for a few YEARS. And, high school is kind of out of control, especially for girls in my opinion. I think teenagers spending time in the other genders experience would be very interesting.

Seaofclouds's avatar

In our home it wouldn’t make much of a difference. My husband and I have just about equal earning potential (when I’m working full time) and we split the household chores (when he is home). Right not things are a bit out of our norm because he is deployed.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Nah. You’d need at least a year. And even then, you couldn’t tell anyone that it was only for a year; the misogynists would merely bide their time until it was up.

ucme's avatar

Well in our house that would result in me finally getting to the bathroom on a morning before the wife & my daughter, yay!! Any unwarranted attention from lecherous unattractive girls wolf whistling & perhaps remarking I have a nice arse, would be the down side of any such arrangement however.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think that both sides would be delighted and unsettled by the advantages that the other had and dismayed at the disadvantages. For example, I think there would be an awful lot of fathers who would be as happy to spend all that time with their kids as there would be mothers glad to not be in charge of the kids.

I think many women would be unsettled by suddenly having everyone speak to them directly and expecting them to make all the decisions while I think men would be dismayed to see that they were often ignored.

I think the number of rapes would go up dramatically because men haven’t learned to avoid situations that are dangerous for women. I do not think that anyone would deserve to be raped, but I think it would do men good to know the fear that women feel when walking alone at night, or when confronted by a strange man because I hate living with this fear and I think if men knew how much we feared simply because of our gender, lot of things would change.

envidula61's avatar

Well, for one thing, the food would suck. My spouse is not a very good cook. On the other hand, I think things would relax quite a bit—I’m not such a tyrant for homework and chores as my spouse is. Although they’d always be coming to me to find their shoes and such, so they probably wouldn’t find them.

Job reversals would be weird. I’m more relaxed and my spouse is much more up tight. My job would drive her nuts, and her job would make me… I don’t know. Probably nuts.

She’d drive the car even slower than I do. The kids would be screaming for more speed. The clothes would all turn the same color, and the sheets would stay on the bed an extra week or two. The garden would probably die of neglect and she’d stop composting.

See, the thing is that we each do what we have more of a predilection for. If she had to maintain the computers, no one would be computing. If she had to do the taxes, she’d do them by hand, or take them to an accountant.

But in the end, I don’t think role reversal in my household would mean much.

marinelife's avatar

I love the idea. I would like it to be a national holiday celebrated once a year. But to really be effective, men would have to experience what women experience physically. So, to do it preperly, you would need to move consciousness between bodies.

Chongalicious's avatar

There’s actually a TV show that does this. I can’t recall what it’s called but at the end of the week of role reversals in the homes they go to, each partner comes to realize that what the other does is not easy and they appreciate each other more :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Wouldn’t make a difference in our household as we don’t follow gender norms. Otherwise, the most this would accomplish for others is that some partners will have appreciation for how difficult life is for their spouse and then treat them better as a result – obviously, this should come with the marriage but people aren’t good at marriage.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

In my home and personal relationships, I doubt much would change.

I think that a week would be insufficient, let alone a day. The wide spread impact of existing gender roles would become clearer only with a prolonged reversal of gender roles.

I believe women and men have so much to learn.

Jeruba's avatar

I would have said no before watching this. I read about the Riceville experiment right here on fluther, recommended, I think, by aprilsimnel. I found the video worth watching all the way through. It was powerful, memorable, and profoundly affecting. It changed my thinking.

I don’t know how well it would have worked in the hands of a less skilled teacher, but as the follow-on shows, it was effective with adults as well as with young kids.

[Edit] Yes, it was aprilsimnel, right here.

downtide's avatar

For one day? No I don’t think it would make much difference, except that every straight male would skive the day off work and spend it in front of a full-length mirror…

KatawaGrey's avatar

@downtide: Psht, I’d spend the whole day peeing standing up if I suddenly got a penis.

HungryGuy's avatar

I’d love it! Women hitting on me at bars all the time! Never have to make the first move and risk rejection! Let the women hit on me and let me pick and choose who to go home with. Heaven!!!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Pay for working women would go up

Women’s prices per dry cleaning item would go down

Male foreplay towards womens bodies with improve

Male fascination with anal sex would lessen

laureth's avatar

I think I’d pick that day to take my car to the shop and get everything fixed. Not only would they believe I know what I’m talking about, I’d probably get the Member Discount. ;)

I’d pay for it all with the extra money I’d make per hour (per the Penis Subsidy) at my job.

And then I’d go home and play with my husband’s breasts as long as he’d let me.

But, to answer the question, a day would only be long enough for the very most insubstantial, surface things to matter. A lot of it can only be truly experienced once you’ve let it steep for years and years.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Neizvestnaya & @laureth – According to the question, only gender roles would reverse, not our actual gender. I wouldn’t grow breasts, and my fascination with anal sex would be as strong as ever :-p

ubersiren's avatar

This is true. I don’t believe one day would matter much. To adults, it may come as a big culture shock (gender shock?) but the experience may be played off as funny or trivial. Maybe 5 years would be a more appropriate sentence time sample.

@HungryGuy: If you don’t get hit on by girls now, then how would you getting to choose who to go home with be any different? As a guy who does the approaching at bars, do you not choose these women?

Draconess25's avatar

So, the guys will be expected to iron & wash the dishes, & the girls get to sit on their asses & drink? Fine by me.

Ron_C's avatar

Up until Sarah Palin showed up, I would vote for the woman as a default decision. I once, naively thought that women would be more thoughtful, less likely to go to war, or spend tax money on useless or dangerous projects.

Now I have doubts. I don’t think the world would be much different except that men would know what it is like to hold the shitty end of the stick.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Ron_C: Let me tell you a secret. Women can be as violent, stupid and dangerous as men. Don’t tell anyone or else they’ll take away my woman membership. ;)

Ron_C's avatar

@KatawaGrey You don’t have to tell me. I lived in a house with a wife, two girls, and even a female cat and dog. I find it best to keep a low profile when they go on the warpath.

Bye the way,I like your avatar.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Ron_C: Hehe, thank you. Now there’s a lady who went on the warpath!

Ron_C's avatar

@KatawaGrey I saw that move twice, once in my daughter’s “movie room”. I’d like to see it in 3-D but we’d have to travel about a hundred miles to a city that had a theater equipped to show it.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Ron_C: Trust me, not worth seeing in 3D. It rocks too damn hard in 2D. :)

Ron_C's avatar

@KatawaGrey I have always liked 3-D. I remember seeing Jaws in 3-D in Toronto. I like the idea of an eight-food blue girl with a tail coming at me head-on.

stevenb's avatar

I’d enjoy it. I am always trying to see the world through her eyes, and I’d appreciate her perspective more. I think it would have to be longer than a day also. Maybe a year. I still don’t know if it’d be enough. Until then, I just try to be as kind and loving and helpful as I can, without being condescending. She is amazing. I do the cooking, a lot of the laundry, and alot of the cleaning now, so I don’t know what would change there. Of course, saying that makes me sound like I think those are womens jobs. I don’t, which is why I do then. They are things in our lives that need done, so why shouldn’t I do them.

On an Avatar note, I thought that character was amazing and beautiful. The movie rocked in 3d and 2d.

ubersiren's avatar

@stevenb Very thoughtful!

stevenb's avatar

Thanks ubersiren!

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