Attributes

Sleuthing for hierarchies does resemble solving crimes. After all, hierarchies are stealing our happiness, peace, and hope, while also killing our safety, contentment, and security.

When we examine hierarchies, we find that whatever applies to higher groups is considered to be universal. The characteristics of lower groups are specific only to those groups. We are conditioned to value and emulate the characteristics, attributes, and priorities of those groups that are positioned higher. Consequently, we renounce and reject characteristics of lower groups.

The attributes and roles of the higher people are acceptable and appropriate for all. Attributes associated with lower people are considered appropriate for only that group of people. Characteristics associated with the lower group of people are often assumed to be inappropriate, even disgusting, for the higher group of people.

 

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Amelia Earhart in Pants vs. John Wayne in a Dress.

Since gender roles are familiar to most of us, we’ll use the gender hierarchy to illustrate how we treat the characteristics of higher groups, males, differently from those of lower groups, females.

When a girl is born, it is appropriate to give her clothes of any color. Green with yellow trim, pink with blue trim,blue with red trim, or orange with yellow trim are acceptable. The clothes can be plain or frilly.

imageWhen a boy is born, however, pink or frilly presents are usually unacceptable. With girls, any color including the “boy’s color” blue is acceptable. But to suggest a baby boy will enjoy any “girl’s colors” such as pink and lavender might be taken as an insult to the boy and his family.

imageFemale servers in fancy restaurants wear tuxedo-style uniforms even though it is unacceptable in those restaurants for male servers to wear evening dresses. It’s fine for a woman to wear overalls or business suit with a necktie a man would wear, but how about a man in lace and bows?

imageMen, women, and children wear shirts and other clothes displaying Mickey Mouse. Do we see men or boys wearing Minnie Mouse without Mickey, particularly with a bow attached? Wearing Mickey, the male, is appropriate for one and all. Minnie, the female, is considered appropriate for females only.

 


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