Women and Cultural Norms

October 16, 2009 | NeW Staff

Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty discusses the difference between cultural and physiological norms. A cultural norm insists students enter and exit a classroom quietly when a teacher is speaking. A physiological norm is when we must use the restroom. So what happens when a cultural norm is broken? Is this a revolution? Does society change and adapt to new norms? And what happens when some norms refuse to be broken?

For women, the choice to no longer accept or follow cultural norms has led to a revolution. In many cases it is even hard to find a cultural norm when looking at the treatment of women. Some women refuse to  allowmen to open their doors, pay for their dinners, and bring them flowers—all cultural norms when our mothers were dating. These behaviors are no longer valued by women; instead, women use these gestures as fuel to cry “sexism” and “inequality.” Previous cultural norms “objectify” the modern woman who opens her own door as she marches into the board room.

Is there a place for cultural norms in today’s post-feminist society? Can a woman still expect a man to help her lift her luggage into the overhead compartment? Should she expect it? And what happens when she is surprised? 

A woman who is truly “for women” is neither embarrassed by her gender nor confused by it. She embraces the reality that she is different from a man and celebrates her femininity. In a world where “normalcy” is relative to the hottest new trend, this woman stands above the crowd. Her power is not from howling “victim” when she doesn’t get her way; her charm is from actually being a woman. This woman treats cultural behaviors between men and women as a norm—in fact she demands it.

Which woman are you?

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