Belief Overrides Logic; Sex Bias

An underlying main cause of gender bias in modern culture is from a false belief: That males are resource providers, and females are resource takers.

      The human brain learns what to believe from surrounding humans first and foremost, not from objective reality. If Dad believes that cutting the grass every Thursday is the "right way" to do it, then the child will believe that too, until he or she realizes otherwise, if he or she ever does. If Mom says there are rabid wolves in the woods at the end of the street, the child will believe that too, until he or she figures out otherwise, but may always remain fearful of those woods, and of wolves. The beliefs of those around us about things great and small are internalized in the child as "the way things are". Also, a child who refutes the beliefs of those around him or her will often receive consequences, as if the child is misbehaving; the child can then become confused between reality and belief, and begins to doubt his or her own perception. The child is taught that no matter what they really see, they should dismiss it and go by whatever those around him or her says is "real".
       So when the perception of a child's family is "Men bring home what we need to survive,", and "Women use the resources that the Men bring home", that is what the child will internalize as "The way things are". Even if Mom or Grandmom has a full time job or career, and even if Mom or Grandmom actually makes more money, the beliefs of  surrounding family members and of local society usually overrides the objective reality. Therefore no matter what is REALLY going on, the underlying belief is that "Men provide resources and therefore are more valuable, and therefore require first access to all resources, and preferential treatment, and extra support", and "Women need the resources that men provide, and they do not gather the resources for themselves, and they do not provide resources for anyone else, so they do not contribute anything from outside; they do not go out into the world and bring home resources. They only use them up." Also, within this same belief pattern is "Men are providers of resources, and therefore have knowledge and skill about procuring and maintaining what we need to survive", and "Women are receivers of these resources, and do not possess knowledge or skill about resource gaining and survival". Of course this belief pattern is far from reality, and lumps all female persons into one group and all male persons into another, but the human brain does that.
      The human brain catalogues, categorizes and generalizes what it perceives in an effort to simplify and streamline perception, i.e. make it easier to understand the world and survive in it. Unfortunately the downside of this process is stereotyping, conditioning, assuming, and prejudice. It is in fact difficult for us to think in a truly conscious manner, as a species, and we frequently see others through our subconscious conditioned beliefs, not as individual persons. We like to see others as part of a group instead of as individuals, even though we want others to see us as an individual. We have a difficult time watching our own behavior, so we tend to see and treat others unfairly, according to the category and group our brain has put them in.
     For example, a woman who has received a certified education as an auto mechanic will be regarded as an "anomaly" by most people, even a "freak" by some, even by members of her own family (regardless of how cruel and malicious toward her this is). She is, in fact, an anomaly, not because she was able to learn to be an auto mechanic, but because she did something outside of the belief pattern of those around her.  Her brother who received the same certification is seen as just another male who chose automechanics as a profession, and no one doubts his ability to carry out his job. At home, family members treat Sister as a typical female who happens to know a little bit about automechanics, who may or may not have a future in the field, and Brother as an Expert AutoTechnician and provider. Sister is still expected to have clean hands and face and perform all tasks that women are expected to perform in the home, even after a long day of work, and Brother, who has the same job, is given respect for his dirty hands (shows he worked) and is frequently consulted for his expertise. He is not expected to do domestic tasks for the family, and the reason is because he has worked long hours. When he does contribute by performing extra tasks around the house, he is rewarded with praise for going above and beyond, while Sister is punished for NOT performing extra tasks on a regular basis, regardless of how much she worked. Her work is literally seen as "extra curricular", like a hobby, an unnecessary elective that does not really benefit anyone. She is only treated as a contributing member of the household when she performs "woman tasks", and only if her performance of those tasks meets the standards of the rest of the family. His work is seen as important for the family's survival, and for the future survival of his future wife and children, and as contributing to the community at large. 
     It is important to understand that neither brother nor sister set this belief system up; they didn't invent it. Neither did Dad or Mom. They are simply living inside the walls of a belief system that has been passed down, passed over, and absorbed during the childhoods of all the people in the family and/or society. If no one teaches their children any differently, then the belief system conditioning will remain, generation after generation.
     It is also important to understand that children of both sexes are taught the same belief patterns; if a group's belief is that men can't cook, then both the girl children and the boy children are taught that men can't cook. Then, the girls may or may not be taught to cook as they grow up, but the boys will be shown that even if they want to learn, they will be refused instruction, and that they would not be able to learn how anyway. The denial of instruction makes the stereotype come true. And the girls in that system are being fed the same belief, that there is no reason to think a boy would be able to cook, or learn how to cook; it is a woman's "natural" ability, and boys don't inherit it.
     The point of the above example is that no matter what people are ACTUALLY doing, the subconscious belief pattern is how they are seen, and how they are treated.
     The stereotype that Men are providers of resources and Women are users of men's provided resources is obviously false. But the subconscious stamp of that belief, learned as children, can remain stubbornly throughout our lives, just like any other false belief about the world around us.
     On an author's note of observation, if one wants to find out what beliefs are internalized within their family system, just asking questions can reveal quite a lot. For example, "Aunt Maggie, what do you think of woman truck drivers?" Or "Dad, what do you think of stay-at-home fathers?" When a person has internalized beliefs about gender roles and value, they will have stronger opinions about who should be doing what, and they will have a list of reasons "why". It's a fascinating experiment if one can stay calm and nondefensive when listening to others talk about gender roles, expectations, and values. If you are a female asking the questions, it may be very difficult to remain non-defensive when a family member or friend reveals that they think less of women than of men, or that they have been judging you all along on how much you conform to their expectations of gender roles. And of course vice versa if you are a man asking the questions. But in order to get their real answers, you have to remain "unsurprised", and non-defensive, just listen. Difficult, but very revealing. You can of course find out a lot about why a person has been treating your opposite-sex sibling or other family members with prejudice and criticism for years, if that's the case, by listening objectively. (Then you will be in a position to help them deal with it better, you can more effectively have their back.)
Thanks for reading,
Marianne Black

Dear Love

Dear Love.
I am writing you this letter because people confuse me.
They are too busy for you, and they are scared of you.
They refuse to show you within themselves.
Thanks for listening to me love. I needed to vent.


~ Massimo Rossetti

(copyright M.Rossetti 2012)