UpRoot

digging up the roots of gender-based violence

As I said before, Women and Men are NOT Equal

menandwomen

I recently scripted a quick blog piece, You’re Right, Women and Men are not Equal, in a distain laced response to a ridiculous article written by Suzanne Venker. The article was entitled, To be happy, we must admit women and men aren’t ‘equal’.  The title was enough to get under my skin as I personally know plenty of women who are perfectly happy, exceptionally joyous actually, who maintain a perspective that embraces equality of the sexes. Ms. Venker purports that if women would only succumb to their natural inclinations of subservience and allow men to reclaim their natural role as stoic provider and protector, well, we all would just be so happy. Ya know, cuz that worked really well prior to the 1970’s, and everyone (namely women) lived super happy and content. *note sarcasm* She argues that feminism has not resulted in equality of the sexes; rather, feminism has resulted in a mass hysteria and confusion where men and women have no conception of who is supposed to do what in a relationship. For the Goddesses sake, Ms. Venker, do you talk to anyone else other than your own close personal circle?

I’m really not in the habit of reading/watching Fox News at all; however, I came across this rubbish because they made a beautiful blunder when they accidentally and unknowingly attached the article with a photo of a lesbian wedding in an effort to promote their ideas of an acceptable and standard puritanical American family value system.

Then I noticed something………

After I wrote the open letter to Ms. Venker, we were beginning to get hit after hit on UpRoot with people searching for answers for why women and men aren’t equal. I couldn’t help but visualize some douche sitting behind his computer screen looking for a way to validate his existence and justify his douche-baggery. Although, I do know that this is not always the case, and there are other reasons folks may authentically be looking up the ways in which men and women are not created/evolved equally. The search criterion varies; although, it is often very similar in language.

women are not equal to men, women and men are not equal, why women and men are not equal, why women are not equal to men, women not equal to men, man and woman are not equal, how are women not equal to men

This type of language is offset by a very different structure of some peoples search criteria language.

where are rights of women not equal to men, how women are not equal to men today

One set of search criteria lends to the idea that perhaps people are looking for concrete ways in which men and women are naturally and evolutionarily different. While the other implies a search for the ways that our society and culture chooses to discriminate based upon supposed evolutionary or cultural inequality. I imagine the people doing the searches in these instances are searching for very different answers. What I’m about to write addresses folks that are searching for a way to validate male superiority. I’m speaking almost exclusively to men (and at times women) who probe the depths of the internet in a quest to validate their investment in traditional gender roles and rigid expectations about what it means to be a man or a woman. I’m addressing the sexist sucker who is looking for a way to continue to devalue women and assert dominance over her. I’m talking to the chivalrous chap who believes women to be the fairer sex in need of masculine personal protection who believe women are best served staged upon a tower like Rapunzel awaiting her courageous prince of passion. I’m talking to the dude on the street who believes that it is his uncontrollable nature to sexually exploit women. I’m also talking to women who sometimes accept the cultural narrative that calls on men to behave a certain way. Okay, so maybe I am talking to more of us than I at first thought…..

Let it go, man!

The debate will rage on for an eternity with scientists and anthropologists discussing the origins of human behavior and our evolutionary biological development. There are endless and countless articles and blogs written on the male brain vs. the female brain and how certain hormones interact and influence behavior. This is of course a gender essentialist perspective and also doesn’t take into account that there are people born with a body that doesn’t coincide with their identity which crosses the boundaries that we essentially assign people at birth. We can debate it and go around in an endless vicious circle.

Or we can just quit it.

Let’s begin with the understanding that no one is born completely identical. Not a single one of us is in actuality ‘equal’ to another human being that exists. We are all born with special genetic codes that dictate our heights, bone structure and density, skin pigment, weight distribution, musculature, potential capabilities, talents and potential aptitudes. More importantly we are often born within a broad range of social classes, afforded specific resources, attain certain privileges and are often rigidly assigned gendered expectations that may alter the capacity for development of certain traits and skills. Women are different from one another and capable of different things. Men vary from one another and are capable of different things. Women are different than men and are not equal to one another. Some women are stronger than the average dude. I know this because my work out partner was once a female body builder and my female chiropractor is an exceptional football player. Some male soldiers respond to trauma with emotional outbursts and tears while some female soldiers respond with anger and rage. This is contrary to the common and dominant narrative. I know this because I’ve counseled some exceptionally courageous men crying after losing a fellow soldier and some justifiably angry women soldiers as well. Some women are brilliant at math and science while some men falter at math and excel in other areas. I know this because I’ve seen it. Men may have a genetic advantage in athleticism and strength; however, this is not always the case and does not deem men of greater value or as a superior and dominant sex. Perhaps women have a genetic advantage that extends life expectancy and health; however, this doesn’t make her a superior being. There is variation between groups of individual men themselves, between individual groups of women, between all people.

We all have value and worth by simply existing and must learn to treat one another with respect and with gender equity. I want to challenge us all to stop looking for ways in which we are different and start looking for ways to communicate our needs and desires. I want to challenge us to stop assigning value upon certain traits and characteristics while pitting people against one another in a brutal race for power and control. Start looking for ways to support one another and support gender equity.

What I’m talking about is called equity, not equality.

And Ms. Venker, you say that feminists assert that gender is a social construct, which is true. You say that those of us with children know better (assuming feminists don’t have children). You say that girls love their dolls and boys want to kick that ball and to let it flow for God’s sake! Well, Suzanne, those of us with children, sisters, brothers, friends and those of us who work in schools with children know that this is not always true. Actually it is often not true and we need to stop assigning children certain roles and characteristics based on their supposed gender and simply, let them flow.

3 responses to “As I said before, Women and Men are NOT Equal

  1. lex July 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for the post! I loved reading it. As a science/math-oriented, non-binary-identified female it can be difficult to explain how I reconcile my neo-darwinian, materialist viewpoints with my radical social/political positions. As you were saying, the biological tendency for males and females to have certain physical and neural characteristics does not exclude the realities of vastly overlapping traits and traits which are overwhelmingly determined by culture or environment. I’m an example–female-bodied, with very limited social and linguistic gifts compared with my mathematical/spatial ones. I’d like to see a bridge being created between science (GOOD science–not racist, sexist, institutional nonsense) and critical theory that allows for and celebrates GSM variety and women. I think radicals can use science (acknowledging its flux) as a tool for gaining broader perspectives on how to combat systemic oppression and a better understanding of the historical and structural pillars which hold it up, while taking a firm stance against binary essentialism. Natural selection would stop dead in its tracks without variation, after all.

  2. Anna October 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this article! My thoughts exactly! Support this 100%

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