Gender roles and Society


It’s a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. This week I felt I share something a little bit secular. I want to share my thoughts more in a manner of internal dialogue and discussion as opposed to a thesis or dissertation standpoint. There are many views and opinions on gender roles today; some are viewed as archaic, some as modern and some as probably too futuristic. The common denominator to all three is that they are based on people’s opinion and everyone seems to have one these days.

We also live in times when people get triggered by almost anything, and if it is possible I feel people will get triggered by someone else just existing. What am I driving at exactly? My point is at the end of the day we all have to do what works best for us without causing discomfort to other people or living beings. Gender roles have a very huge impact on our society and for some reason whether we accept it or not there are positive impacts from each model. The “application” of these roles can be pinpointed effectively in a traditional Man-Woman relationship. So let’s have a quick look at this model; simply put the Man is the breadwinner, he provides, protects and professes his love and care for his female partner and family by seeing that they have all they need. He works and the Lady takes care of their home and kids.

The second model which is the modern model (I have given them these names for ease of description), is what we have more of these days. The Man and Woman are both providers, they both share the duties in the home and they are both working professionals.

Last but not least is the futuristic model (which is slowly gaining ground now), where no one is “expected” to do anything designated to a gender and everyone does what they can to help the relationship, so, for example, a Man who earns less than his wife could decide to stay at home full time to take care of the kids while the woman is the one working and providing. So far I haven’t spoken about the pros and cons of the three models so that we have a general idea and no bias before reading through all of them.

Pros and Cons of the traditional model: let’s look at the pros first; the woman is always protected as she doesn’t have to deal with job stress or sexual harassment at work. She is able to be a teacher for kids who have her full attention and undivided time since she’s at home with them in their formative and first years. The Man is rest assured knowing that his wife is at peace and the chances of her being exploited by people or a job are next to nothing. An extrapolation of this model will be to set up a venture that she can run from home if she expresses boredom etc.

The cons; the lady might feel like she’s not allowed to pursue a career and as such this might lead to feelings of frustration. If the Man loses his job, the family is hit for the period it takes him to get a new one. Surviving on one income these days might be tough especially if the couple does not live within their means.

Pros and Cons of the modern model; As per the pros, there is double income which means leverage to do more within the home, if one person suffers a job loss there is some cushion from the other partner’s income pending when things are solved, each partner has the chance to pursue a career they like, etc. House chores are shared and this can make the load easier.

For the cons; there is little or no time left after a hectic day to spend with each other, they both return from work exhausted and neither can really offer the other support emotionally because they are both drained. Work decisions can supersede a home decision especially if money is involved, and this may cause a rift in the relationship as a partner might feel their opinion is not being respected. Usually, each partner is more answerable to their work “boss” rather than to their partners. For example, a Man might want his wife to do one thing but if the boss gives a work order that contradicts it she might lean more towards it because that’s where she gets her income. Kids are sent off to daycares at a very early age and miss the chance of being around their parents in their formative years. The lady is exposed to sexual harassment either at work or simply in her commute. Feminity and poise become something a woman has to wear and take off like makeup because at work she has to be “aggressive” and “competitive” with her male counterparts. Usually this “aggression and competition” doesn’t limit to the workplace, after a while it becomes second nature and it creeps into the home, creating subtle competition with one’s spouse.

Eating at home becomes inconsistent since they both return tired from work and there tends to be more of a lean towards eating out. This is usually more expensive and unhealthy as it is difficult to track the hygiene or dietary standards of a meal cooked outside. Fulfilling financial obligations towards kids because a priority placed over nurturing and mentoring with love and care. I guess this should suffice for now.

Pros and Cons of the futuristic model; This model is quite similar to the modern model in pros however an additional positive is that no one is stereotyped into doing something just because of their gender.

The cons; there is a lot of confusion and disturbance in the balance of society and I’ll explain how. The Man is expected to open doors, pull out the seat in a restaurant, handle the check after an outing, protect the lady, stand up and offer his place on public transportation if a lady steps in and there is no place for her to sit; these and more are the traits of a traditional model. In the futuristic model, this doesn’t exist, mostly because feminists say that gender roles try to show the superiority of one gender over another, “so what a Man can do a woman can do better”. So “some Men” as a response to that now refuse to do all that is listed above and say that well women can do it too since there are no gender roles.

So now on a date, you see a Man will ask the lady to pay for their meal, he won’t open any doors for her, forget about him pulling out a seat, even if a pregnant lady has to stand for a 15 mins bus ride, Men now refuse to give up their seats. The most degrading on is the golden rule “never hit a Woman, even if she hits you”. Now Men are seen hitting ladies who hit them back because there is no expectation of how a Man should act since we are all equal, so the argument is if you hit me I’ll hit you back.

This, of course, has infuriated many Ladies who feel that chivalry is lost in Men. Those of the futuristic model, still want Men to act as in the traditional model, but allow women to act as in the Modern model. This is where the confusion and imbalance to the society come in. At this point, my readers may feel that it seems like I lean more to the traditional model or the modern model, however that is not the objective of this blog. My objective is to offer some food for thought and allow my readers to formulate their own hypothesis, theory, observation, tests and conclusion (in no particular order). Look at the society as we know it now and as it was before and ask deep non-sentimental questions about the state of our progress so far.

I hope this sheds some light on this topic and I’ll greatly appreciate it if you all gave your comments. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

Mother/Father God

Dear readers,
I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. As at the time of my current writing, it is Radhastami; a special festival celebrated by Gaudiya Vaishnava’s that marks the appearance day of the feminine aspect of God. This naturally ushers us into a topic I’ll to share with you all today; the concept of God’s gender.
We live in a world that is Male dominated and there is no doubt that this is reflected in many areas of our lives, whether in a subtle form or in an outright manner. There is also no gainsaying that over time this is changing and with the rise of many feminist groups, many “masculine status quo’s”is being questioned, especially if they do not serve a positive result. Many religions across the world teach us about Divinity, the Godhead, etc. However, in the many different descriptions from the major world religions such as Christianity and Islam at least, we hardly find God or the Supreme person being described in a feminine light or perspective not to even mention as a feminine person. The beauty of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is that it probably the only faith that has a philosophy where God is depicted in both his Male and Female energy, both equal in quality. In fact, the Vedic philosophy makes us understand that we cannot access the Masculine form of the Lord without the blessings of His feminine side.
Let’s back up a little before we get into the technicalities of this concept. The first question many people ask is “How can God be feminine?” or “How can God be both?”. The answer is simple; if there is something that God cannot be, then how is He God? If there is something impossible for God to do or become then where is the idea of Him being all-powerful? So, clearly, we have placed certain restrictions on what God can and cannot do because we are limited living entities who try to understand something that is unlimited. First and foremost, we need to understand that everything emanates from God and as such, he is the complete perfect and even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains a complete balance. We also need to understand that the material world is but a perverted reflection of the spiritual world, as such there is nothing here that is foreign to the spiritual world. In the material world, we have Lust, which is nothing but the perverted reflection of Love. Similarly, just as we have the male and female gender here, we also have the same in the spiritual world, because they both emanate from God. In the material world, whenever a Man wants to experience some loving relationship he seeks out a Woman to fulfill this sentiment. Thus, he is dependent on someone or something to fulfill his needs. This is one of the differences between the living entity and the Supreme Lord.
God doesn’t need anyone or anything to satisfy himself, because he is self-sufficient. Everything emanates from Him and as such, there is nothing outside of Him. Furthermore, when the Lord wants to engage in certain pastimes that require him to show his feminine side, he himself manifests a feminine form; that is no other than his own internal energy. This energy is responsible for giving pleasure to the Lord. The Supreme Lord is said to have 3 energies; internal, marginal and external. The living entities are part of the marginal energy because we have the ability or tendency to either be influenced by higher energy or lower energy. The external energy of the Lord oversees the material world that we currently live in. Thus, each energy of the Lord has specific functions and they all work to serve the Lord. The internal energy of the Lord takes on a Feminine form which is none different from the Lord himself and even more compassionate than his Masculine form. In the Vedas, this form or aspect of the Lord is described in details and as such, I am only trying to give pointers here. For one to get the full audience or mercy of God in his masculine form, one has to obtain the favor or mercy of his feminine form, which shows us how important this aspect of him is.
The feminine aspect of God is not something that is new or just “created” to serve the ideology of feminism, rather it is part of a very sound philosophical tradition dating back to the oldest scriptures known to Man; the Vedas. In the Vedas, we have a very detailed description of many aspects of life; from the science of self-realization to the soul, creation, the material world, the spiritual world, innumerable universes, Demigods, Humans, Demons, Life after Death, Heaven and Hell, just to mention a few. The Shrimad Bhagavatam which is but a book of one part of the Vedas (The Vedas is divided into four parts), contains about 18,000 verses. This is to show you the wealth of information present in this scripture. There is no doubt that, if God wants to reveal himself to us then he would do so in a very elaborate manner so as to enable us to get a glimpse of his unlimited attributes. Today, we have some people who have also begun to embrace the idea of Mother-Father God, because they have gone through some logical conclusions (Jnana yoga) and seen that there has to be the other side of divinity. The good news is, we don’t have to speculate what this feminine aspect of God is, what she looks like, or what she does. The Vedas have already answered all these questions for us, we just have to make ourselves available to read and receive it.
The Supreme Lord expands himself in multiple forms according to time, place, circumstance or pastime. There are no rules as to how or why he assumes a form, and he does so at his own discretion. To place a limit on how the Lord can look, act or manifest is but a display of insufficient knowledge of infinite matters. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

Marriage pt. 2

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all once again another interesting blog today. This is a continuation from last week’s blog.

The very mobile device, that replaced the landline telephone of many decades, was envisioned to be a device that would bridge the distance between couples who had to live separately continuously due to work. In as much as it has done some good, the same device has now become a third partner in many relationships. Many people spend more time with their phones than they do with their partners. In relationships where the mobile device hasn’t become the third partner, it has helped to find a third partner for spouse’s who are unfaithful. If we must succeed in our relationships then we must place first things first. We must see that if it has to work then it depends on us. We must be as accommodating as possible and as tolerant as we can be, as if we had a huge cash price to win at the end of every year we made it together. Of course this doesn’t mean we should be in an abusive relationship and turn deaf ears to advice asking us to seek help.

Truth be told, many relationships that end up been abusive could have been avoided, if only the people involved had paid attention to the signs. There are always signs from which we can tell how a relationship will be. We often choose not to pay attention to them. This is because in today’s society of constant cutthroat competition, many people want to get married just so that they can be off the single club. To many people, marriage is just an opportunity to show off our engagement rings or throw a lavish wedding party to impress people who we don’t even care about. Again, some people want to get married but very few actually want to stay married. I usually say this a lot and with each passing day, I am beginning to realize it even more.  When we look at the lives of women in the past and the kind of sacrifices they made for love or for a spouse, and then we look at what we have today, it is sad. No doubt, the same thing can be said of Men too. Chivalry is almost dead, and being gentlemanly is no longer a thing. Women were modest, bashful, and soft-spoken, sex was intimate and pure.

Today Men are weak, chivalry is seen as been less of a Man, and Men who actually are Gentlemen are seen as “too nice”. Women complain of a lack of real Men but also ignore these Men and run after low class Men because they seek “spontaneity” or even openly admit to liking Men who are “bad”. Thus we have a whole generation growing up and thinking it is cool to be bad. Soft-spoken and bashful women are seen as weak and loud bad mouthed women are seen as the epitome of women liberation. Sex is a game and the more partners you have, the more proficient you are at it. Men who refuse to make sexual advances as a sign of respect to women are seen by some women as “slow, weak, and less of a Man”, while Men who jump from one woman to another are described as “studs”. Women who are chaste and faithful to one partner are seen as boring and those who post the most explicit things about their bodies online are described as real and down to earth.

Professions that many of our grandparents would cringe at and keep their daughters (our mothers today) away from, are the same professions we as a generation are celebrating and even encouraging our daughters to go into. Men who earn a honest living doing legal jobs are described as low budget Men and those who engage in nefarious ways with shady deals, are praised as the real MVP. Men who save money for a better future and who believe in moderation and delayed gratification in other to build a secure future are not given a chance, because there are many big spenders in the club “making it rain”. The most heart-wrenching part of it all is that, the very few Men and Women who still believe in Love, hard work, commitment and decency are been ridiculed and many of them who lack the tough skin are slowly giving in to the modern day norm.

If marriages are failing today more than ever, we are the cause! We are responsible for all of it. If we have more single mothers and fathers today more than ever, we are the cause and we are responsible. If we have more divorce cases today than before, we are the cause and we are all responsible; Men and Women alike. The good part is we can also be the solution. We can gradually take back what we once had and reinstate it in a place of admiration. Couples with strong long lasting marriages should be idolized and be the ones we make trend on social media, not those who have no sense of decency whatsoever. Men of substance and good standing should be followed, not those who possess empty form and no substance. Women who know what it is to be a real woman and who stand by their husbands should be glorified and not those who swing from Man to Man as if there was a reward for it.

The solution is simple for those who are simple minded, and complex for those who are complex minded. If Love is important to both partners, then they will find a way to make it work even in our crazy world. When we want something we will find a way despite the odds and make a reason to continue, when we don’t then we will find an excuse despite the possibilities.

Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.


Dear readers, subscribers, friends and well wishers,

I hope you all are faring well. Today is a very special day for this blog page as it is exactly a year since it was started and so far so good, I must say it has been a fulfilling experience.

I just want to thank you all for your support, encouragements and follower-ship, it means a lot to me and together we can make this year even better than the previous year.

May you all get the benediction of the Supreme Lord in your various spiritual pursuits.

Thank you, Merci Beaucoup, Hvala, Gracias….


The thin line between Religion and Institution

OllowDear readers,

I am glad to share with you all today another interesting topic, one that many of us have to deal with on a regular basis. I hope you all are faring well.
In one way or another, many of us subscribe to one faith or another and we may also refer to it as a religion if we please. We pray in a certain fashion, fast on certain days, worship in a certain mode and even dress in specific ways. Over and above all, we try to follow the precepts of our religions as best as we can or as we should. This in itself is laudable and we try to instill these very morals in those we are responsible for.
Over the years and for centuries, religion has affected the lives of many people, positively and negatively. We may choose to ignore some of the real and glaring facts however burying our heads in sand doesn’t make the problem disappear, rather we must look at it decisively and take action adequately.
An institution on the other hand is a body founded for a specific purpose, be it social, business or even spiritual. One interesting feature about an institution which we may already know is that it survives on bureaucracy; a system where by decision is taken by some selected members and not by everyone. In itself, it can function and survive quite well, however when intertwined with religion the dynamics isn’t always the best. Let us look at some very practical examples, today Islam has spread the world over with a large number of followers through various means such as jihad, conversions, members having many wives and offsprings and thus growing strong also from inside out. Every country has a its own chief Imam and they act mainly as guides in the country. There is no main or central body that gives laws for all muslims the world over, because the Quran is their centre of reference. Even though they may disagree on some of the interpretations given by different sects of the faith, the general idea is when there is a disagreement or opposing views on an idea, they all turn to the Quran.
In terms of growth, we all must agree they have been successful. (Please note that when I speak of Islam and muslims I in no way include the radicals who hurt people in the name of religion, I speak only of those who follow their religion peacefully).
Christianity has also spread through out the world by various means such as the crusaders, colonialism, conversions, evangelism and above all the ability of every church to operate as an individual unit, separate and distinct from every other church in the world. Now we all know the catholics still operate a system where the vatican is the governing body for all catholics, however we also must honestly admit that the pentecostals have risen and grown more that the catholics because they have a greater filed of operation with less intrusions from an institution that creates laws which may or may not necessarily be applicable in every field. What do I mean? For example, Joel Osteen as a pastor runs his church and all affiliates according to a system he feels best, and similarly T.D Jakes naturally does the same. The only thing they both have in common is they preach from the Bible and proclaim Jesus, but there is no institution or body whatsoever that controls them, gives them laws or tries to meddle with their internal affairs. Now in as much as central coordination has some advantages, in religious matters and at least in Christianity, churches have risen more because every pastor has a large autonomy on how he runs his church. Are they successful? Yes!
We may define success by various parameters but when it comes to outreach and members, we must give kudos to our Christian brothers.
In this light if those who practice gaudiya vaisnavism want to have a huge impact on the world, they must first start by de-institutionalizing the religion. When bureaucracy mixes with religion, you have a system that is almost similar to dictatorship, because those in the administrative part of the religion may and often misuse their power. In a normal religious circle, advancement should be judged by how much a person has lived his life in total surrender to God’s will and instructions, in a religion that is institutionalized, often times advancement or progress is judged by how soon one can climb the socio-spiritual ladder, and how many positions you have.
Local leaders who manage centers do not have any autonomy because at anytime, someone sitting at a place thousands of meters away probably in another continent can pass a law that totally disrupts the local preaching. A local preacher may find himself subject to the laws and dictate of a leader who is high on the institutional ladder but junior in spirituality, because in the light of things position has a heavier weight than spiritual advancement, thus he is bound to comply. Someone may argue to the effect that administration in itself is not a hindrance to the advancement of any religion and in fact helps it grow. In this regard need I mention that in almost all major religious texts of Islam, Christianity and Hinduism, none of the great saints and prophets ever felt the need to establish a religious body governed by circular administration. Jesus didn’t build a church talk less of put anyone as a general overseer neither did Caitanya Mahaprabhu establish any Temple, and install anyone as president. Rather all the past saints advised people to grow spiritually and thence encourage others to grow following their example.
If religion must grow truly in its pure and undiluted form, it has to do so without the interference of circular management. If a religion must spread rapidly, then the preachers must believe they are part of the religion and are accountable for their preaching endeavors and not subject to “powers that be”. When preachers feel encroached on and incapacitated in using their own discretion and judgement in matters that concern their local preaching, they gradually begin to hold back and with time they don’t give their best any more. Why should they anyway, when one man or a group of people can over turn it all in a blink of an eye.
As usual I shall give you all sometime to soak this up and we shall deliberate more on this matter latter. It is four days to valentine and I wanted to do something on Love but I guess I shall postpone that till next week.
Till then do read, internalize and follow this blog space for more amazing articles. You don’t want to miss anything.