So far this school-year I have found myself wondering if labels do more harm than good. Both with the Sadie Hawkins and graduation robe debates, labels of gender were questioned and I began wondering if these categories that once made things simpler and more clear are still necessary? Early on, we defined a person with a certain set of traits as a 'woman' and a person with others as a 'man', but now I wonder whether we are in a time when these terms are necessary? Today, they seem to exclude people who belong and include those who don't, so what is the point?
The essay on gender in Shakespeare addresses this same thought in the statement that "each gender participated in both sets of characteristics to varying degrees." We all have the same traits we once said were only for one gender, so where is the line? Is there one? According to this essay, Shakespeare seemed to understand this in his ability to reflect the "distinction between, and joining of, the masculine and the feminine." The lines are blurry, and Shakespeare seemed to highlight this in his writings.
(Now, for something completely different) As we listened to Mrs. Hamovit, I wondered whether the original reason women are seen as submissive or under the control of men in most of literature-and life-is because of the need for balance. This might seem a little out there at first, but stay with me. In nature, we know that, for example, birds are a primitive species who, for all we know, live simply to survive. In looking at birds, we also see that male birds are the ones who go and get food and bring it back to their families as the female birds nurse and raise the babies. These birds are not thinking about their gender relations but they still have specific roles that are both equally necessary to their survival.
As humans began, and, to an extent, how we still are, we did the same things-those who bore the children stayed with them and nursed them, and the other partner got food and provided shelter. Now that our species has developed enough not only to survive but accomplish whatever we wish before we die, this whole way of life is being questioned and no one really knows what to do with it. This whole group of people who have been treated in what was our only way of surviving for the past 200,000 years now wishes to be treated differently!? I think that is a pretty radical shift and while there are aspects of our society that may not help this change, there are others that may. For this reason, I agree with Ms. Slater in what she said on our first day of class-history is not a complete upward trend. There are setbacks and advancements that come and go. We have surely come a long way since Shakespeare's time and I think we just have to continue to notice and be willing to stand up for what we think is right and what we wish to disappear and appear in the future, so maybe it can be better for the next generation.