Reading Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel got me thinking about the act of caring and how it plays into a child's mental development. This is just a reflection on the consequences of caring and the word's link to a female mother figure, as well as the role it plays in a child's gender identification.
Essentially, caring is engendered to women only because the original standards were set up by a male figure; standards that were of “masculine” foundation rather than standards of human beings. So... if the standards are “masculine”, then the end result would inevitably favor males than females. The inevitability that follows this idea is that if women are deemed more suitable as caregivers in relation to their family, most importantly to their children, then the ideology would pass from woman to woman. Even more so, it would become a socially accepted ideology; which it already has.
To ultimately undo the sequence of woman as primary care giver, women, more so than men, should make it their primary concern to eliminate the issue at its crucial moment of development: the childhood stage. It is the stage where children begin to associate caring with a parent’s gentleness and attention. If the mother believes it is her duty to be more caring, then it is not surprising that the child will associate her to be the more caring one. If, however, the mother and the father convey the same amount of caring, gentleness, and compassion, then there would not be a need for gender specificity.
It is up to mothers who demonstrate a balanced conveyance of caring, gentleness and compassion towards their children – boys and girls – in order to secure a future where gender roles are no-existent. For women to identify and differentiate themselves, they must separate themselves from what is deemed to be conventional by “masculine” standards. Once mothers have accomplished the separation themselves, they can teach their daughters (and sons) to approach matters of gender and sexuality at a very early stage of development to prevent issues that they (mothers) had faced. It is thoughts and experiences during a child’s developmental state that provides a foundation for latter behavior – as adolescents and/or as adults – where an individual identifies with a “masculine” or a “feminine” Self.