Conversations With Myself The Gender Roles Issue

Man and Woman sign Your hair's getting a bit long, innit?


Well it's just getting a bit long....


Well, just thought that you were going for the girly look.

So you think I'm going to become a small kid with 'pretty' ribbons and pig tails in my hair?

No... It's just that, well, women have long hair...

...And men are supposed to have short hair, yes? Okay then... how many women have you had a go at for having short hair?

Well.... none...

And what about trousers? 'Men's clothing' yes? So why aren't you out there shouting at women, telling them to put a skirt on?

Well... because they always wear trousers...

Yes, they do NOW! But they didn't use to. Feminists out there have been fighting for equality with men - to get the things that men have and take for granted - the vote; to be able to work and earn a decent wage in a decent job; to be able to stand for parliament; to not just be the 'property' of some man and not to be subject to his whims and desires. See?

Well okay...

Right then. Anyway, I need to put me feet up. I'm just taking my boots off.

Fine... Hang on! What's that on your toe nails?

[Sigh] Wot? Have you never seen anyone wear nail varnish before?

Women yes. But men don't.

Were you listening to me before, or was I talking about women wanting to be equal with men, to meself?

I WAS listening. It's good that women have become equal with men.

But they haven't.

But you said...

I said that people have been fighting for it, but I never said that women are equal to men in this society. They aren't. True, they've now got all the things that men have taken for granted but men aren't got the things that women take for granted.

Wot? Like giving birth?

So you think the only thing that women can do that men can't, is give birth?

Well it is, isn't it?

No, but then men aren't designed to give birth. It's a 'privilege' we can't have, but there are things women can do that men can't.


Walk down the street in a skirt, get paid paternity leave when their kids are born or wear nail varnish... While as much as possible, gender roles have been broken down for women in our society, the same isn't true for men. A woman can go to the office dressed in a suit a tie, but a man can't go in a jacket and skirt. It's perfectly fine for women to wear a nail varnish, but the world seems strangely reluctant to let men wear it.

But you wear nail varnish.

Yeah, and I've had some stick for doing so. I like wearing nail varnish and I don't see why some outdated stereotype of men should stop me from doing so. And that's the whole point. Women can't be equal to men while there are things that women can do that men can't do - accepting physical impossibilities of course!

Naturally. So all these women who think that they've finally grasped equality with men are wrong?

Indeed they are. We are only half way there. It has taken us some time to get here where we are now and it will take even longer to get to the ultimate goal of equality.


Well part of the problem is this horrendous 'butch male' attitude that some men have. Some people will automatically assume that I'm gay because I wear nail varnish. The idea of wearing a skirt is sissy, and hence, the man wearing it is most certainly a 'poof'. We've got to not only break down the male gender role but break down this macho attitude problem some men have.

So it's going to take a while then?

Probably, but the sooner we start, the sooner we get to the goal.

And equality is a goal worth grasping...

Indeed it is.

Well thank you for telling me.


Background Information

Number 4 - also from 11 May 1998 - and maybe a slight re-balance from all those make up, mascara and high heels.

Some backplot. During my student days I grew my hair. I wanted long hair, so I did it. After a bit of a wait, I had a reasonably sized pony tail.

Trouble is, people kept telling me to cut my hair. That annoyed me and make me more resolute not to cut my hair. After all, there was no good reason to cut it. It was just a "men can't have long hair" thing and it annoyed me.

Around the same time, I was wearing nail varnish on my toes and fingers. Why not after all? My nails would often be silver, blue, yellow or green. And that didn't go down well either. And for no good reason. Hence this piece.

Some months after it was written, I was working behind the bar on Halloween, and was asked by a drunken Scouse young lady why I had my nails painted. I said, "Why not?" The response was obvious. "Because you're a booooyyyyy...." Ah, of course!

Actually I had my hair cut again around Easter 1999. It was too fine and got greasy really easily so was becoming a pain in the neck. And I haven't worn nail varnish for years either. However it's good to break lose of the pre-defined shackles every now and then...

Photo Credit

Photograph by Betenoir, and released under a Creative Commons license.


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