On Social Mores

Hello loyal fans. I would like to write to you today about Social Mores. If you do not know what a more is…well, then, I suppose you should read more (different kind of more), or you could look it up. As my father used to always say “let’s go get the dictionary” or, on rare occasions, “let’s go get the encyclopedia”. Anyway, back to the topic at hand: Social Mores. I had an interesting discussion with a stranger yesterday about society and gender roles. I had held the door for a group of roughly seven women; an elderly lady at the end of the line made a comment to the effect that I was very polite for doing so. Feeling a bit snarky I fired back with “Ah…but what would the Women’s Lib crowd say?” to which she replied “You know, I miss all the little niceties of life we had before they came around”. This got me thinking about gender roles in our day to day life. What makes a “man” and what makes a “woman”. My conclusion: we are all insane. When you look back historically at many of the social courtesies which exist in our society today it is true that they rise out of the notion that women are inherently more weak and delicate than men. Let us take opening doors as an example. In olden times it was determined that women should not exert the physical energy necessary to open doors; rather, that energy needed to be preserved for the benefit of child rearing and breeding (much the same reason women were not allowed to work in factories). In a similar fashion, the practice of opening car doors for a lady stems from the early days of carriages in busy “metropolitan” areas. The streets, you see, were oft flooded with mud, muck, garbage, equestrian and human waste (we will not even talk about parasols)…not an appropriate place for a lady to step. As such, a true gentleman would hold the door for a lady and assist her into the carriage to prevent her dress from becoming soiled. Now I say to you, how can one argue that clean dresses are a bad thing? While I certainly agree that a woman should be allowed to wade through excrement if she wants to (and if you are a woman reading this, you already are), I do not fully grasp how in our contemporary society it makes her any less of a woman to enjoy having a door held for her. Nevertheless, many of the same rules seem to apply to men. I mean, really, if as a man you are not buying meals, eating dead beasts (hopefully killed with your own bare hands) on a regular basis, and carrying fallen comrades from the battlefield what kind of man are you? Not much of a man at all I suppose….

And so I reiterate my previous point: we are all insane. Why do we waste our time and energy fretting about these rules society superimposes on our natural ego-driven humanity?

And so I said to myself, “self, where can I find a quote that really sums this all up?” and the answer was: Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead: “Worry is a waste of emotional reserve”

Published in: on April 22, 2007 at 5:06 pm  Comments (1)  

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