Despite all the progress we’ve made, it’s still hard to be a woman. Recent events in the political sphere have made me reflect a bit on men, and what it must be like to be one. Yes, I’m thinking about good old President Trumpie-pants, but I’m not going to talk about him. It may seem completely unrelated, but I’d like to talk about Kings…
Usually Kings are born into royal families. That’s how it works. On rare occasions in history, great leaders have risen up from the dregs of society and been elevated to a position much higher than the general rabble… but most of the time you have to start high up to get to the top.
So it would seem that my title is misleading; Kings are born. Right? Let’s think about this…
Take the grown-up princes of the United Kingdom; Charles, William and Henry. If all goes according to plan, one day William will be King. He wasn’t born a King. He wasn’t born the son of a King either. He was born a baby.
If you look at William today, if you hear him speak or analyse his achievements, you’ll find him quite fit to be King. Although we can’t really say the same for Harry, William has pretty much always been King material. Why?
It’s because he’s been prepared to reign all his life. From a young age he was given guidance and responsibility. Expectations were dumped in his lap. People have been building William up from the very beginning, trusting and demanding and expecting that he would shine. So he shines.
How is this applicable to the men in our lives? How is this relevant to the plight of women today?
Well, humans are funny creatures. We tend to do what is expected of us… or at least to try. Perhaps, as women, we’ve been hoping for something that we should have been expecting, or even demanding…
One of the many hats that I wear is that of a teacher and I constantly see that even in the school system, we expect less of our boys. They will act out, they will be cheeky, they will play the fool in class and underachieve… because boys will be boys.
Too often, we tear men down or make excuses for them, then we’re surprised when they disappoint us.
We’ve come so far in our journey for equality as women that men may have forgotten that we still require things of them! Things like respect and fair treatment. If we were to put upon our future ‘kings’ the full burden of the responsibility they will one day bear, perhaps they’d learn to live up to the task. Perhaps they would even be happy to prove that they are up to the challenge!
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s up to us to create the society that we want. Many erroneously believe that, as women, our battle is over. We’ve won. We’ve arrived. Clearly, though, there’s still much work to be done.
We’ve lived all our lives in this not-quite-good-enough world and perhaps we’ve internalized the idea that we’re not-quite-equal to men. This acceptance of defeat trickles into our relationships, our jobs and, inevitably, into the political arena.
Perhaps if we were to take the power and influence we wanted, it would be ‘given’ to us.
You don’t have to be born a Queen; but you can make sure you’re treated like one!
I’m not calling anyone to riot, but who among us has tried being the Rosa Parks of our gender? Who will refuse to move if the direction in which we’re being pushed is just wrong?
Would you refuse to stay in a job unless you had proof that you were being paid the same salary as men in your position in the same company? Would you boycott an establishment that treated women unfairly? Would you stand up for the woman who was called ‘insubordinate’ because she spoke her mind, just the way her male colleagues did?
This article comes from a place of deep disappointment, but I’m choosing to face the future with courage.
Call me angry, moody, high-maintenance or any of those other affectionate terms that the world seems to reserve for women… I’ve decided to teach every boy or man I meet to treat me the way I EXPECT to be treated.
When I think about Kings and about how an ordinary boy becomes one, I realise that men can’t do this on their own. So, let’s help them along…
They say ‘ask and you shall receive’… I’d like to propose that we stop asking and insist. Stop asking and start changing your expectations.