Is Gender Bias Really Changing?

File:"Top Women" at U.S. Steel's Gary, Indiana, Works, 1940-1945.jpgThere’s a particularly rousing discussion going on in the comments over at Indies Unlimited regarding gender-bias in fiction, and it got me thinking (always a good thing from a blog post). In contrast to many of the comments, I see things as having changed a lot since I was a kid (admittedly, that was a loooong time ago).

My mother got married and raised a family in the 50s (and absolutely hated the times) and vowed to bring up her two daughters as people who could do anything they wanted to, regardless of gender (Dad agreed, obviously). Yes, I’ve come up against a shit load of gender bias throughout my lifetime, but when I look back, I can see the tide definitely turning, at least here in the States. (Re: here’s a blog post I wrote celebrating kick ass women in the movies) Most people I talk to accept strong women as normal and necessary. Yes, there are still stories where the male is the equivalent of Underdog and is all, “Here I come to save the day” but most women I know hate the stereotype and will usually avoid reading/watching/spending their money on those kinds of stories. Now, I can’t speak for other countries–I realize women’s rights are abysmal all over the world and we need to keep agitating and holding the perpetrators responsible–but, why not celebrate the achievements?

What do you think? Have we come a long way as a culture or am I just looking at the issue through rose-colored glasses?

 

 

About dvberkom

Bestselling author of the Kate Jones and Leine Basso thrillers. View all posts by dvberkom

15 responses to “Is Gender Bias Really Changing?

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    I began working for pay 48 years ago and I can attest to the progress women have made, at least in that area. In other areas I see progress, too. But I also see polarization. We make progress with some but it sends a backlash among those who wish to maintain the status quo. (Even among women. Heard of “Real Women”.) The more progress we make, the stronger the backlash. Overall, though, we cannot be pushed back. we have passed the point where that is possible. As Carolyne Steels says in a comment on the above mentioned post, it is women that will save the world. It’s time the powers that think they be acknowledge that and begin to work with us instead of against us.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Marilynn Larew

    I wish I could say I agree. The number of Tea Party women makes me think that women continue to be polarized in the matter of women’s rights. Things are certainly better that they were when I ran away from home to get a PhD, but we’ve go a long way to go, baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvberkom

      I just scratch my head at the ultra-conservative women who believe in staying a step behind and letting the man control things. I don’t agree with their stance, but I’m not going to try to make them be more liberal. Unfortunately, many of them believe their way is the only way and that pisses me off to no end. Happily, I live in a fairly liberal area of WA and don’t come into contact with many of them. It is worrying, though, especially when I hear their husbands (several of whom are in power) speak😦

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  • Elisabeth Zguta

    Yes better but we still need improvement. I find that it is often women who sabotage themselves when they buy into the social stereotypes and continue to dress our little girls like little princesses and models. Let’s hope our future generations teach the children to be themselves and to learn about important issues instead of frivolous stereotypes thrown at them by social media. Women and men need to be themselves – strong, and they both need a helping hand now and then, but not “a man or woman” to lean on. Keep writing great characters DV🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvberkom

      Exactly, Elisabeth. It all starts with the parents. I’ve had many friends through the years be just as happy with their little boys playing with dolls and their little girls playing with trucks. My dad bought my sister and I a little racetrack and a battery operated sports car when we were young and we both LOVED playing with the thing. We also played with Barbies (although we ultimately ended up decapitating them or otherwise destroying them while thinking up ever-perilous adventures😀 )

      (and thank you🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

  • Elisabeth Zguta

    Ah – now we know where it all started – ha ha. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Polly Iyer

    For all the strides women have made in the marketplace the last few decades, I’ve seen a slide backwards–mostly southern women, mainly Republicans–in personal rights. They just don’t believe women should be able to control their own bodies. What? Can they not see the irony of forced birth and unwanted children?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilynn Larew

      No, they can’t. Opponent of birth control never do, But Republicans want to cut funding to all the services for women who have those children.

      Like

    • dvberkom

      It’s interesting you mention things are backsliding in the south, Polly. It’s not the same here. All I can point to is my experience where I live. I will say that here in the PNW that kind of ultra-conservative posturing is kept to a minimum (thank heavens). Especially in Seattle, where women are about as equal as I’ve seen anywhere I’ve traveled. Obviously, there’s still a long way to go in other regions of the US.

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  • Polly Iyer

    You’re lucky, DV. You have two female senators–Patty Murray is a dynamo–and a progressive governor. We have a female governor in SC who’s is one of the worst in the States. The women here vote Republican because they always have, without realizing that things have changed in their party. Many are voting against their own self interests. Very sad.

    Like

    • Marilynn Larew

      The number of people who vote against their self interest is large, otherewise working people wouldn’t vote republican. You’re right. It’s sad that they vote their fears and not their interests.

      Like

  • Charles Ray

    I’d like to weigh in here, as a man. I spent 50 years in government, and while I saw tons of legislation and regulations that removed barriers to the advancement of women, I also have seen over the past 10 years an increase in the number of anarchic, archaic, retro thinkers who seem to pine for the good old days when women were kept ‘pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen.’ This wasn’t, by the way, a southern phenomenon, although most of them were conservative Republicans. Most, too, impressed me as unimaginative and insecure, thus their need to have someone ‘below’ them in the social, political, and economic hierarchy. Thanks to the law, most of them keep their most outrageous ideas silent, but you wouldn’t believe some of the locker room talk when they think being in a ‘men only’ environment makes it okay to take the filters off.

    In short, legislatively, a lot of progress has been made, but the social, mental, and emotional progress in this area lags far, far behind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvberkom

      Unfortunately, you’re right, Charlie. AND many women perpetuate those roles. I was attempting to be positive about the gains women have made, but I do realize we’ve got a long way to go. I’m just grateful for the women who came before me and broke through, making it easier for us all.

      Like

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