‘Traditional’ Gender roles are a bunch of bullshit post apocalypse.

Most post-apocalyptic media (and a lot of prepper groups) have this weird idea that when the world ends the women will finally get back in the kitchen where they belong. While the post-apocalyptic world may be harsher to those of the female gender than the male in some ways, anyone who things gender is the main thing of importance in deciding who does what is going to find their survival group operating at less than peak efficiency.

For a start, gender doesn’t decide your natural skills. It doesn’t decide your intelligence or how capable you are at learning. Gender has a minor impact on certain tendencies, but the truth remains that people are individuals first, gender second.

And then, you have to remember that what we consider ‘traditional’ gender roles are actually a pretty modern invention, at least among the poor. Before the industrial revolution, you couldn’t have members of the family or society not contributing. Women ran bars, shops, worked the farms. One thing they didn’t do was ‘stay in the kitchen’ because the family would have starved to death if they did.

Let’s think of it with a post-apocalyptic practical frame of mind. Say you have a woman in your group who happens to be a crack shot. Are you going to make her take care of the kids because she’s a chick? Hope not. Take that to the logical extreme, and it means all people in your group should be offered the same training and found work to do based on what they’re best at, not on what old-fashioned gender ideals state they ‘should’ be good at.  Don’t stick a man who’s an excellent child-care provider on the scavenger lines, and don’t stick a woman who’s a brilliant engineer on clothes-making duty.

It really is that simple.

Are there things that either gender can do that the other can’t? Sure. With women, it’s pretty much down to ‘I can squat out a baby’. And that IS something you need to consider – babies are going to be super major important post-apocalypse and so pregnant women need to be protected. Even your crack shot from above needs to be taken off the front lines when she’s up the duff. But the thing is, you’ll need her back. So what’s the answer? Have a creche system. After weaning, all the children are taken over by dedicated child-minders, male and female.

But if you let modern-day gender binary colour your assumptions so much you end up with the person who could fix up electricity for you stuck to breeding and rearing, don’t blame me when you suffer.

anninyn

Anninyn lives and works in the UK, though she writes in a world of her own. Raised on a steady diet of sci-fi, intellectualism and political thinking by hippies, she looks at modern life through a somewhat-...unique... lens. She is obsessed with the apocalypse, and can be reached at anninyn@incaseofsurvival.com for all apocalypse-based inquiries. She is working on her first novel. You can find out about her and her other work through her website http://cbblanchard.com/

7 Replies to “‘Traditional’ Gender roles are a bunch of bullshit post apocalypse.

  1. When the time comes that everyone has to sit down and make vital decisions on who they should appoint to the various key roles in surviving it should be solely based on the individuals skill and specific talent. Not what society has them branded to be but what they were born to become. If a woman is the better shot or the one with most knowledge on how to get things done then you better know that she will be the one leading the charge and I as a man will be honored to follow!

    David,
    Vigilante Leather

    1. As it should be! Sadly, I know a lot of people who don’t think the same way and would let current attitudes get in the way.

      Worthwhile consideration: I’m pretty good in a crisis, but I can’t aim or shoot to save my life. I have terrible hand-eye co-ordination. However, I’m good at staying calm and focussed when things go to shit. My husband was in the OTC and you best believe he can still shoot, aim and do horriffic violence with no problem. He can even get a good grouping with one of those terrible fairground air rifles.

      He wants us to share leadership, with me making the plans and him dealing with the miltary side.

      Play to your strengths.

  2. I can hear them now, “Uh, but what if she gets her period and attracts Zombies or just starts crying for no reason!?”

    1. She’s faster and a better shot than you so no worries.
    2. You wouldn’t have elected her just like you wouldn’t have elected the dude with the hair-trigger temper or lack of work ethic.

  3. Because really, pre-industrialization which allowed for all for gender politics anyway, women only sat on their butts waiting around for someone to invent electricity for them to able to have equal value to a man. The traditional male/female cooperative partnership got humans to our industrialized modern time.

    My parents are about as traditional as a couple can get and they don’t divide survival (daily living) tasks by some 1950’s polarized version of how men and women divided up the labor. Mom fixes the appliances and electronics. Dad does cooking and laundry. Mom stayed home to raise the kids. Dad went to work programming computers to pay the bills. They do the tasks each are best suited to do.

    Those who don’t demand their “gender rights” are going to survive much better in a post-apocalyptic world than those who just dig in and do what needs to be done to survive.

    Pure and simple those who survive will divide up the tasks based on what each individual does best and what is best for the coming generation. Personally, I wouldn’t want to get stuck watching another woman’s brat so she can go off shooting at zombies while I have my own children and responsibilities to handle back at camp. If she and I are the only ones in our survival group, that changes things a bit, but if there is a group of us of men and women I won’t take on more child rearing work just to give some woman freedom of her responsibility to her children. I’ll be too busy making sure my husband, my children and I are surviving to open up a daycare.

  4. You’re wrong people do not work like that. Gender is going to always going to have an affect on people’s roles in society. Always. It’s not really fair but it is a fact. In a post-apocalyptic society this would be magnified. Women would probably be relegated to child-rearing and men to scavenging with some exceptions. Men are bigger, stronger, faster and more expendable than women. It doesn’t make sense to have women do the more dangerous tasks. In a society on the brink you need women to procreate and stay away from danger. There is a reason why societies with female fight are so rare before the modern era not only because of the physical differences between the genders but also because of population health. that’s how human societies have always had gender roles. it is one of the constants no matter where you go around the world. I argue this not because this is the most efficient way. But that is how people work. Today in our modern world Gender roles are dated, unneccessary and sexist but in a world where people are on the brink they are inevitable.

    1. yeah but think about this you can’t have a geek or someone whos unable to think straight much less procreate. that and you need BOTH to have kids at all and if a chick has more common sense than her partner then whos going to lead he party? Him? not to be prejudice but common sense isn’t common and in such a situation dictating that kind of no-win scenario if an anger-prone, trigger happy, guy(or chick it works both ways) who will get the entire group killed which would you like to have as a leader? I do believe we are past this era of social prejudice we are talking post apocalypse and usually that means put aside differences suck it up and move on. If you don’t in such a world its likely you won’t live long much less procreate at all.

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