A third-culture kid (TCK / 3CK) or trans-culture kid is "someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more cultures other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture."


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Finding A Balance In The Gender War

Today, I wish to congratulate all mothers – and those to be - on their special day here in Canada and across our border to the South. Where would we be without you? Many countries around the globe have reserved a date on their calendars to celebrate these brave pillars of entire families and honour their outstanding contribution to society. This is perhaps one of the toughest unpaid jobs out there and I personally thank you for your devotion and sacrifice. It seems that becoming a parent these days is a much more difficult choice than for previous generations and some women become mothers without really having a choice. I believe we owe you more than just one day off a year as a sign of appreciation, especially the way our civilization has devolved.

Many leagues ago in Disneyland. Looks like British Columbia.

The role women play in every continent and culture varies from one country to another. Waves of feminism in regions such as North America and Northern Europe had been exceptionally effective in promoting the rights of women in society, taking them out of a subservient role. However, many critics, including pioneers in the feminist movement themselves, argue that the wave has exceeded the original goal of gender equality. One just has to tune in to any television channel and watch commercials: men are portrayed as bumbling fools unable to get anything done properly without the help of women. Popular media is rapidly undermining the role of men, leaving the traditional figure of the breadwinner as a dispensable quasi-object. Women can choose to have a man in their lives, but they do not need them to survive. Men have been reduced to a product in the market. This is where we are at now and perhaps this is why we are seeing more long-term intercultural dating as a source of matrimonial bliss. Something has got to give.

In other parts of our planet, women are on the end our men are only beginning to discover in the so-called ‘developed world’. I remember observing as a child in Latin America, the way local culture held mothers to the highest possible regard in society. However, this unconditional respect is in fact symbolic or strictly tied to motherhood. The main flaw is that a mother is in fact a female at the same time. This cultural trait is tied to the traditional role a man plays there, still going out on the hunt for money to sustain the family household. The mother’s responsibility is to stay at home, shell out kids, cook for the family and keep everything tidy. This task allocation is sacred and unbreakable in those parts of the world. A man must not be caught vacuuming or making a meal for the family – why should you if you can drive across the street and buy a fried rotisserie chicken – and the woman must not break the silence of submission. This order was established probably since the Spanish arrived to the New World, or maybe it is a mix with the native cultures. The unspoken rule agreed upon by the ruling elite is that no one better bust that perfect bubble which perpetuates a dominant role for the male.

This battle of the sexes has raged on since the beginning of time, with man and woman competing to be the king or queen of the hill. Could it be that Adam and Eve now need some couples counselling? Just like in conventional war, there really never is a winner at the end. There are always losses, collateral damage, civilian casualties and few who actually benefit and make a profit at the cost of the suffering and sacrifice of the many. Arguably, man has predominated more often in most cultures and religions. Very few societies throughout the planet have embraced a matriarchal structure. Even though they must carry unborn children around, give birth and provide the offspring with proper tools – even dedicate her life’s work to change her sweet little boy into a man’s man - to succeed when attaining adulthood, it somehow is a secondary role to the inner workings of life. I find that hard to understand. Mothers should not be considered to be playing a secondary role and what is sacred for some can easily be overturned.

Mr. Miyagi taught us balance: "Wax on. Wax off."

Many experiences in life teach us balance. Asian philosophy preaches the famous concept of the yin and yang, used to describe polar opposites that exist in every aspect of life. As we enter the professional world, we are encouraged to properly manage time between work and play to avoid a meltdown. Doctors suggest to their patients moderation when it comes to their consumption of alcohol. It almost seems that our living environment is continuously coaching us to compromise, a word I like to associate with cooperation. Cooperation instead of competition. The message in this ongoing turf war between man and woman is to find that balance: the point where one does not have to have the upper hand over the other. We can benefit a lot by working together rather and dumping obligations on one another because of a history we do not have to relive or a culture of oppression. The idea is to learn from mistakes, not to continuously repeat them. The place for a mother and a father is side by side, not one behind the other like a military formation. 

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