Androgyny: Possible or Desirable?
IS ANDROGYNY POSSIBLE? Androgynous persons can engage comfortably in both mas priority of the androgynous personality has not been established either. In a three-generational study of over 200 families, Troll found no relationship between women’s happiness and their level of achievement or entrance into nontraditional work roles but found that “happy women seem to remain just as happy whether they are competing in the traditionally masculine workplace or pursuing the more traditional role of housewife.” [Troll, 1982, p. 43). Another study, reviewing five National Opinion Research Center surveys during the 1970s, concluded that “women with traditional sex-role attitudes are in fact more satisfied with their lives than women with non traditional attitudes” [Alspach, 1982, p. 281). Research on happiness levels of working and nonworking wives is mixed, and we do not yet have sufficient evidence to say whether the’ nontraditional work roles and the changed gender roles which women are today entering will increase.’ the sum total of their contentment with life.
Would and erogenous gender roles be beneficial to men? Some “”scholar claim that husbands, wives, ,1I1d children would all gain
through equal involvement of both parents in housework, child care, occupations, and community activities [Bruck, 1977).A number of semi popular books (nearly all written by men) pursue the “male liberation” theme. [Farrell, 1975; David and Brannon, 1976; H. Goldberg, 1976; Amrieus, 1979; Kranowitz, 1981]. They say that sex equality would relieve males of many pressures (to project machismo, to assert their “manhood,” always to win) and would bring them increased emotional satisfactions (a true sense of joyous sharing, greater intimacy, a new found ability to feci and to care, a closer relationship to children, greater occupational flexibility). Yet there are other men who fear that equal rights would be the destruction of civilization [Doyle, 1970; Reyburn, 1972; Gilder, 1973).
As stated earlier, gender roles can be whatever we agree to make them (without necessarily destroying civilization). Whether androgynous roles will bring greater fulfillment cannot be predicted with any certainty. What is certain is that sex equality and androgyny. will be hollow promises without an equal sharing of housework child care.
Without these, “equality” fur women may be more exploitation than liberation.