Inside and out

I prefer to see positive qualities attributed to both genders


Inside and out
by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Our Voices Psychology of Women by Elizabeth A. Rider has helped me in my quest for knowledge and better understanding. Now, if I could only get my female friends to read it. I truly believe it would help them put a great deal of things in their life in perspective.


What is a typical woman? My views on what a typical woman is have changed over the years. I have noticed that as I continue to pursue knowledge and evaluate who I am my perceptions have changed. I have found that they are no longer those of my traditional Hispanic culture.

My past view was that a woman was quiet, submissive, obedient, weak, not as intelligent as a man, and meant to have outer beauty. The purpose of a woman was to gain enough education to become a suitable wife that would stay at home and make sure that the lives of her husband and children were pleasant and productive. Self-sacrifice definitely comes to mind and a martyr like complex. I can assure you that trying to be the ideal Hispanic wife is a lonely, sad, depressing, and unfulfilling life.

I truly believe now that a woman can be so much more than what her traditional culture expects from her. The best gift my parents gave me was moving to the United State were the opportunities for women are much better than in Mexico. Things are improving for women in my country but at a much slower rate. Still too many of the "machista" views exist the deeper you go into Mexico. The patriarchal, sexist, gender roles are still prevalent.

I think a woman is beautiful inside and out. We do not have to be a beauty queen to be beautiful. We are strong, intelligent, hard working, compassionate, caring, energetic, assertive, and so on. We have an openness, agreeableness, extraversion and positive conscientiousness about us that if raised in a non nulling environment at school and at home will be brought out. I do not see the majority of women as neurotic. However, if they are raised in an authoritarian, nulling environment, and patriarchal family I can show you a neurotic individual regardless of gender.

Men also have the capacity to be strong, wise and not just academically but also in common sense, open, agreeable, extravert, hard working, compassionate, caring, energetic, and assertive. Men also have been subjected to cultural, and gender role typing growing up. As they gain more knowledge and self-analysis, they can recognize some of the gender and cultural stereotypes, heterosexism, andocentric tendencies that were learned as part of their constructionalism through gender and cultural schemes.

I prefer not to see that there are certain qualities that are applied to genders in my life. I prefer to see positive qualities attributed to both genders. I believe that both genders have the capacity to be great human beings if given the positive upbringing. Society has many distinctions in personalities for the genders, which I am aware of and that are used to influence boys and girls as to proper gender roles.

Many boys and girls are brought up in a gender environment with gender boundaries. They go through a series of life structures into adulthood that are affected by the type of environment they are raised in. Many of the universal views on men are developed as to them being powerful, emotionless, and assertive. For women some of the universal assumptions are nice, cooperative, and nurturing.

One misconception is that all women want to be mothers when it is not always the case. They should not be made to feel bad for their choice. My sister is very happy without any children. She loves spending time with her nephews and nieces. She also tells me she loves returning them after spending a whole weekend with them. She loves children but feels that for her it is not necessary to have any. Every woman can make her own choice.�