Some values that are central to women are also at the forefront of our society. The world becomes more gentle. That women enter to the forefront does not mean that men get a subordinated place: men retain there place. However, with the change of society, there values will change as well. The modern man devotes his time to self-care and he also enjoys his “daddy time”. Emancipation is not just about women, but it also focuses on men rights. Emancipation stands for equality. And this movement is reflected in multiple sectors.
In the health care of the Netherlands the term “gender-specific” is heard a lot. 12 million euro’s is made available to make specific inquiry into the health of women. The current system is mostly based on the anatomy of the male body. It is needless to say that the female body is very different than the male body and the new gender-specific studies will become more applicable. The gender-specific health care is a way to pay more attention to treatment that fits better to the female body.
Our social spaces affect the male/female roles. You will see this on a grant scale in non-Western countries, but is also in the Netherlands noticeable. Not all areas are equally functional. For example, women are considered not to be in certain places when she is by herself. Or in the mens bathroom, where you probably won’t find a place to change a baby’s diaper, however you will find it in the ladies room. Fortunately, the Dutch law includes a flask-law and parental leave. This way, mothers can work while still breastfeeding their babies and fathers can spend more time with the children, so both mother and father can keep their job.
Also in the food sector we see some change in values. We have this typical view about beer brewers: men, with long beards and their bodies covered in tattoos. Although this might be partly true, women have accessed the market. “Gebrouwen door Vrouwen” (roughly translated: “Brewed by Women”), is a brandname from two sisters who decided to brew their own beer. It is remarkable in a “mens world”.
In the fashion industry, we also see these values change. Fashion designer Jess Oberlin created a spandex suit, which makes you feel like you went back to the nineties. All suits are handmade and designed on request. This way, anyone gets a unique suit. Jess Oberlin designs for everyone and there is not anything like a men or women clothing line. She doesn’t speak of “genderless” but speaks of “peoplefulness” and it is an organic part of the creative process. She says: ‘Genderless or peoplefulness, is here for everyone. And I mean everyone. Everybody is interesting and unique and my suits should show that.”
The Netherlands is famous for its many bicycles. Whether it is warm or cold outside, the Dutch take their bicycles out for a ride anyway. And there are a lot of types of bicycles as well. There are bicycles for seniors, for men, for women, for children, tandem bicycles, electric bicycles and so on. But lets focus on the men’s bicycle. It is starting to fade away from the street. Nobody cares whenever a man is riding a woman bicycle. Even the bicycles that are available for rental are women bicycles either way. Men say they don’t miss the additional rod that is typical to be on a man’s bicycle. Even Ikea designed a unisex bicycle (that is also included with some useful storage areas)!
So, not only in the health care, but also in many different places in society the values are changing. This can be expressed in terms such as gender specific, but also unisex. We cannot maintain a single directive and expect that everyone will find his connection with it.
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