Gender Disparities

A quote often attributed to Gloria Steinem says: “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” Maker culture, with its goal to get everyone access to the traditionally male domain of making, has focused on the first. But its success means that it further devalues the traditionally female domain of caregiving, by continuing to enforce the idea that only making things is valuable.

Chachra, Debbie. “Why I Am Not A Maker,” in The Atlantic (Jan. 23rd, 2015)

Debbie Chachra tackles gender disparities in this well-thought article. The idea of raising “our sons more like our daughters” shed light on a new perspective of raising children to be better people. It exposes the culturally imposed “superiority” of men. This resembles a similar sentiment of the idea that instead of teaching young women methods to avoid being sexually assaulted, we should be raising young men to treat women with respect. Why should we be imposing change on our daughters to address the faultiness of men?

Chachra, a teacher, explains that people reach to try to classify her as a maker. But why? She knows she is not (hence the article’s title) and is frustrated with these attempts to classify her as one. Being a maker, she argues, does not make anyone more superior than non-makers. This idea of superiority represents historical gender norms where men were traditionally makers and women were traditionally caregivers and educators. Makers are made out to be better because of inequalities amongst men and women, because of “the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products.” Not a single man or woman would have done great things, though, without being raised well with care, or without a suitable education. While society may not look at the roles of caregiving or educating with as much respect, they deserve it; they are the foundation of any society.

I am a man that was raised by three moms and a dad. My mom and dad divorced while I was young, and each remarried another woman. I understand the importance of being raised well. I learned to respect women and express empathy before learning to make something. I love how Chachra addresses the faulty gender disparities in this article because of the way she emphasizes the importance these three women had in my life.

Under the large umbrella of Digital Humanities, I look forward to seeing how many unique backgrounds in the class can contribute to something meaningful. That is the beauty of projects; there is a piece of everyone in it.

Eric Gassel

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