First of all let me say how impressed I was with Emma Watson’s (yes, Hermione from “Harry Potter movie” fame) with her UN speech on gender equality and promoting the HeforShe program. However, I am both disappointed and insulted that she talked out of both sides of her mouth. So, am I contradicting myself with the first sentence? No, not really. I was impressed with the fact that a graduate of Brown University (supposedly an Ivy League school) could actually put two sentences together let alone talk for about 15 minutes without tripping over themselves, digressing into 16 different directions and being totally discombobulated. I’m joking of course … mostly, anyway. Brown grads are such easy targets though! Haven’t met one that was well put together, yet.
Anyway, I was very impressed with how impassioned she was, thoughtful (within the context of her speech), and for her advocacy, but she did talk out of both sides of her mouth and was overall somewhat self-contradictory. While talking about equal rights for everyone — male and female — the program name is HeforShe, which implies, at least to me, that it is incumbent on men to see women as equals or support women in seeking out their rightful place in society. Second, while she calls herself feminist, she knows that that word is not only loaded and has tense political/social undertones, but also that it is inappropriate, because feminism is the championing of women not gender equality.
What she and all fair and Just minded individuals should campaign for is gender equality, which she says she is promoting. However, we must all realize that men and women are and never will be equal. For one, men have penises, while women have vaginas. Men penetrate women, while women receive penetration, men ejaculate, while women ovulate, men donate sperm while women donate eggs for creating children, men can’t give birth, while women do, men can’t breast feed, while women can, and while women have maternal instincts, men have paternal instincts. From these traits are borne several more, but less distinct differences between men and women. For one, men have hunter-killer mentalities, while women have gatherer-cooperation mentalities, men fight to be alphas and pride in being a man’s-man, while women shun “machoism” and show of force, etc. Therefore, for these reasons and more men and women are never going to be equal.
Having said this, it does not mean that men and women should not have equal access to every opportunity, shouldn’t get equal consideration and it certainly doesn’t mean that men and women shouldn’t get paid the same for doing the same job. However, Ms. Watson is ignoring the fact that equal pay for the same job has already been settled and her information on this subject appears dated, at least for this country. Therefore, this jast leaves the first two for topics that need to be settled: Opportunity and consideration, again speaking for the US only. Of course, this is not the case in other countries, particularly in Asian, African and Central/South American countries, and at its worst in the Middle-East.
Regardless, in the US, there is no reason why any rational, self-respecting and righteous person shouldn’t support the cause of gender equality as it pertains to Justice. However, I too object to being labeled a feminist or feminist supporter, because, to me, feminism sounds like support of female causes, irrespective of what it means for the men in our society. Therefore, I prefer genequist and genequism — gender equalist and gender equalism — over feminist and feminism. To some, this may be word play, and, in most other cases, I would agree. However, in this situation I believe there is a very distinct difference. Feminism is the support of feminist causes, while genequism is the support and promotion of gender equality, which does not distinguish female versus male causes. Therefore, while feminism may advocate for the right of women to be considered equally for the same career opportunity as her male counterpart, genequism would also advocate for men to show their feelings more publicly as well, which is what I believe Ms. Watson was campaigning for in her speech.
To some, this may be a silly differentiation, but Ms. Watson is right: We cannot fight the battle for gender equality from within only one of two boxes. At the very least, we must fight to push the boxes closer together from within both boxes. That is the least we can do, if we cannot think of gender equality as a continuation from one extreme to another where the objective is to meet equal-distance from both extremes. The only issue then is how do we achieve gender equality?
To answer this, I believe we have to start with why is there gender inequality? One of the most obvious answers is that men have held all of the power throughout most of history, whether it be political, economic, military, financial, or household. The next most rational question is why have men held all power? This is more complex, but I believe it started with the fact that men were the hunters who provided for the group that they belonged to. Without the hunters’ success, there would be no food to eat and survival would be threatened. Then men became the farmers, again providing for the group that they belonged to, and, again, without successful farming, survival would be threatened. Therefore, in both situations, men wielded the power, because they had control over survival and, therefore, women were assigned to gathering duties and taking care of the household, including giving birth and raising children. Inherently, I do not believe that there is anything wrong with this nor the division of labor according to each person’s capability.
Where I believe things went wildly wrong is with the introduction of religion. It is my theory that religion institutionalized and enshrined the distribution of work and, therefore, the power distribution as a “natural” extension of “god’s will,” which permanently relegated women to an inferior position as opposed to a partnership position. Given that men created religion to control society, it should not be surprising that they also grabbed all the power for themselves.
Let’s take the judeo-christian religion as an example. According to their bible, a woman was created from one of man’s ribs and was created to be man’s companion and to take care of him. How convenient! The powers that be then enshrined this to mean that women were created to serve men, and, therefore, women became the inferior party and eventually the property of their men — first their fathers then their husbands. This attitude prevailed well into the 20th century and still prevails into the 21st century in most developing countries, Asian, African and central/south American countries, and again, worst of all, in the Middle-East.
So, it seems to me that to achieve genequism, the first thing that we need to do is to destroy the myth of a superior being that created the universe and everything within it. This would then allow us to go back to the true root causes of why women and men were relegated to the statuses and the positions that they were historically relegated to and work forward from there, this time the right way.
The first thing that we have to realize is that the division of labor doesn’t/shouldn’t dictate the assignment of power and that leadership and wisdom has little to do with what one does for a living. We then have to find a way to assign power or to prioritize the character traits that we want in a person for a particular position and choose/vote based on the available pool of candidates.
Assuming we were honest and did things on the up and up, it is my contention that when we’re all said and done that there will be a preponderance of men in certain positions and a preponderance of women in others. This doesn’t mean that we made a mistake or that there is prejudice when the positions were being decided. What this means is that women and men have – as a general rule of thumb – differences, which, through largely self-selection, manifests itself in the careers that we are most qualified to undertake and actually choose to undertake.
Even though there is this preponderance of characteristics, traits, skills, etc. that drive differences between women and men, which then lead to differing proportions of women and men in different career paths, the one danger that we need to and must avoid is to take this correct generalization and apply it to every single individual situation. For example, I don’t think it is a wild stretch of the imagination that far more men are likely to choose combat duties in the military than women, particularly in the army or the marines. So, does this mean that only men should be allowed to have combat roles in the military? Conversely, because there is a preponderance of men who’d choose combat roles in the military, does this mean that we should automatically exclude all women and paint them all with the brush of automatic disqualification? And, given that, in general, men are more adapted to fighting and combat does that mean all women are unqualified to fight in combat? Of course not.
For any and all positions in society, we must set standards or hurdles. If there are multiple people who fit the standards then we much choose to the best of our abilities, irrespective of gender, race, skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ancestry, physical disability, heritage, or other superficial characteristics, the best qualified person for the position. In the case of hurdles, such as qualifications to become a member of the green berets or rangers, as long as the candidate clears all of the required hurdles, regardless of gender, race, skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ancestry, physical disability, heritage, or other superficial characteristics the person must be admitted to the membership.
As a special aside, I cannot help but express my incredible awe, respect, admiration, and gratitude for army Captain Kristen Griest and army 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver for being the first female officers in the army to graduate from the Army Ranger School. If I were president of the US, I’d make sure that these two would not only serve as Rangers but also serve in any role in the Rangers that they desire.
Anyway, getting back to the point of genequism, if we were to have no gender-based discrimination would our society truly be that radically different than what we have today? For example, would we have more female politicians, more female CEOs, more female generals and admirals, more female engineers, etc. And, more to the point, if the entire society perceived that there were no gender prejudice would more women go into politics, business, military and engineering? Or would the proportions remain largely the same? I don’t know the answer, but I have a feeling that there is a reason for the preponderance of one gender in one profession vs. another, and that this is not a coincidence nor necessarily driven by prejudice.
This is not to say that there aren’t individuals that are still sexist even misogynistic, but as a general rule of thumb, particularly with those under the age of 55 or so, I doubt that there is widespread sexism or that sexism is institutionalized in any organization of any consequence or substance.
Bottom-line is that what some see as gender discrimination, like the so called pay discrimination that isn’t, may be more of a function of self-selection and a result of natural differences between men and women than due to prejudice of any kind. At least for my self, I know that when I interview people for a position, I care not that the person is a woman or a man and certainly don’t care about race, skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ancestry, physical disability, heritage, or other superficial characteristic. This is because I want the best person for the job to provide me with the best service and highest profit potential for my business. Why waste an opportunity to maximize the profit from my business?
Regardless, what we want to strive for isn’t feminism, but genequism. We want the world to see every individual as an individual regardless of their gender, race, skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ancestry, physical disability, heritage, or other superficial characteristics, and we want everyone to see everyone else for their Six Pillars (morals, values, ethics, integrity, honor and honesty) and nothing else. Because it is equally damning to accuse men of sexism where it does not exist as it is to practice sexism itself.
And, it is in this regard, where I cannot agree with the feminist movement. I do not agree with the concept that we must fight for women’s rights; nor for that matter, any individual group’s rights. For me, it is important for everyone to fight for equal rights for every one, not jast for one group or another. And, this is where I think we, as a country, have gone wrong. We have too many individual groups that look out for the benefit of that one group, but no one fighting for the unity, growth, betterment, advancement and the rights of all Americans, perhaps with the exception of our military, police force, and other emergency and medical personnel.
If we can unite and stand-up for the rights of everyone equally, fight equally for everyone, and, most importantly, treat everyone equally then I think we will find that we have no reason to fight for one group or another or have disputes among the groups, and, ultimately, there will be only one group: Americans.
In today’s society, with the exception of a very, very small minority, who among us even privately think that this one group or another is inferior, don’t belong, is less than equal to the rest of us, or do not deserve to be treated with dignity and humanity?
Who among us doesn’t cringe at stories of bigotry, hatred, prejudice from the 1950s, 1960s, and the 1970s? Who isn’t outraged at rape and sexual assault cases at universities and colleges? Who isn’t utterly humiliated when we hear someone call another nigger? Who doesn’t rage at the thought of having our rights taken away from us?
Besides, what idiot would call someone inferior for wearing a black suit everyday or a white suit or brown suit or a red suit or a yellow suit or a purple suit or a beige suit or a lavender suit or a green suit or an orange suit? A huge lack of fashion sense, may be, but inferior, less than human, less than deserving of equal rights? But essentially isn’t that what it is when someone is predisposed to thinking that another is inferior based on the color of their skin? And, this is not just restricted to the color of one’s skin, but also gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, non-religious beliefs, heritage, and ancestry, among other superficial characteristics. Who among us don’t cry when we hear/see the courageous story of MLK, Malcolm X, or Medgar Evers, among the great civil rights leaders?
What about the history of the suffrage movement and the stories of Susan B. Anthony, Carrie C. Catt, or Alice Paul? Who doesn’t weep at the injustices heaped on these and so many others fighting for the rights of women?
Regardless, the time has come to stop thinking about and acting on behalf of one group or another and look towards the rights of all.
For more, please read my books, “… Under the Constitution with Liberty and Justice for ALL,” available at http://www.CreateSpace.com/3978962 and also available on Kindle, and “The New Constitution for Modern America,” available at http://www.CreateSpace.com/4281897 and also available on Kindle. Please don’t forget to rate this post. Any comments or questions are welcome and can be left for me on this blog, @Ahmedinejahd on Twitter, on Facebook or via email at AlexAhmedinejahd@Yahoo.com. Thank you in advance for buying my books, and rating this post. And, thanks for visiting my blog; I hope you get an opportunity to read my other posts. Have a great day!