Philosopher Myisha Cherry has an excellent article at Huffington Post about how we (to our detriment) gender virtues. She begins:
When people say “act like a lady,” we know what they really mean. They mean act in the manner that society — that is to say, our patriarchal society — has determined that women should act. Because you know, women are not allowed to define that for themselves. Men must do that for them. And when men tell other men to “man up,” we know that means to do nothing that resembles a woman. Here lies the myth and the burden of what is called “feminine virtues” and “masculine virtues”.
And her take-home message is:
End virtue segregation! Let’s all work on being the best people we can be not the best feminine or masculine cultural productions we feel we must become in order to fit into masculine or feminine categories. Trying to make morality fit gender categories is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Morality should not be risked for the sake of this twisted gender game.
The whole thing (which the Huff Post has rather ironically filed under ‘Huff Post Women’ and slathered in pastel) is worth a read – go check it out!