In Shakespeare’s time, women were not allowed to write or act for the public and all of his female parts were played by teenaged boys with high voices. It’s hard to imagine the complex characters of the women in Shakespeare’s plays being portrayed by children who had not experienced love, rejection, betrayal, murder, guilt, or any of the other myriad emotions that the women in his plays felt and acted upon.
And here we are in the 21st century, and men and women are still struggling to figure out their roles. We’ve gone from women being chattels, good for nothing but cooking, cleaning, and bearing children to competing with men for previously thought of as the type of jobs only held by men. Rosie, the Riveter, in World War II comes to mind.
We have also gone from the insensitive, Me, Tarzan, You, Jane, type of man to the Renaissance man, tapping into his female side and being sensitive to women’s feelings. And now with the transgender role where women have become men who have kept their reproductive organs in order to bear children before having them surgically removed, we have to question whether there is that much of a distinction between men and women nowadays.
Yes, men have more upper body strength than women and can usually overpower a woman physically, but is that enough to mark him as being so different in his day-to-day role of man?
In Shakespeare’s time, women were thought to have no intelligence because they had a smaller head, thus, a smaller brain. Children were to be seen but not heard and women were one step above that; they could be heard, but not on subjects that required them to think.
Perhaps it’s time to make adjustments in how we define male and female roles and see each other as having characteristics of each other. Women have breasts and so do men, except that in men, they’re called pectorals. Men have a penis and women have a smaller version of it called a clitoris.
These physical similarities are in the same location as each other but functioning differently in each other. Perhaps if we accepted our similarities, our differences would be easier to understand, and we wouldn’t have to give up who we are to be accepted by each other. We wouldn’t have to be stuck playing outdated roles.