What a feminist wants

I self-identify as a feminist.

This is actually quite a rare thing - shocking to me, but true. Very few people will apply the dreaded f-word to themselves, for fear of... well, I'm actually not sure. I'm assuming it's fear of being associated with certain stereotypes, but that doesn't seem to stop people applying other labels to themselves; Christians, Wiccans, conservatives and arts-majors all have a host of stereotypes they have to deal with and yet they are perfectly comfortable calling themselves what they actually are.

So, I identify as a feminist. I believe that many of the feminist ideals should become reality - broad access to abortion and birth control, proper sex education, the end of sex-discrimination in the workplace and for traditionally feminine jobs to pay the same as masculine jobs (e.g. teaching, childcare, nursing). There are some things I tend not to agree with - such as some feminist individual's penchant for seeing malice and intent in actions that I would evaluate as symptoms of a broader problem with society. I don't agree, for example, that sex under the influence of alcohol is automatically rape, especially if both parties are intoxicated. I don't think that the solution to the "problem" of unbalanced ratios of females to males in certain academic fields is to artificially boost one gender's participation by changing the acceptance or hiring policies. I don't think that having women-only events where everyone gets together to talk about how awesome being a woman is will help the situation any. And of course I don't want women to rule the world, I don't think it's "our turn at the wheel". That is a stupid stereotype and would just swing the pendulum to the other extreme.

What I want is simple. What I want is radical. What I want is impossible, or so people would have you believe. What I want is such a beautifully simple idea and all the solutions to our problems with gender can flow from this one single statement:

Women and men are the same and we should treat them as such.

We are all human. All our ideas about gender, sex and behaviors are artificially constructed by the society we live in. No I am not denying that in our society right now women and men act differently. They wear different clothes, exhibit different behaviors, are aroused by different things, have different goals in life. But we know for a goddamn fact that people treat an individual differently based on their genitals from the moment of conception. As soon as we know the gender of a baby we immediately smother it in gender roles: pink and dolls for girls, blue and trucks for boys; it is idiotic to think that this sort of social molding doesn't have a deep effect on our children. This social molding carries on through our whole fucking lives! Parents and peers are quick to stomp out behaviours that don't fit within the expected roles of one's gender and society does a fantastic job of showing the "correct" behaviours, goals and fantasies that each gender should have (via the media, mostly)

I think most evo-psyche is bullshit. It just is. "Isn't is funny that the behaviours said to be innate by evolutionary psychologists looks suspiciously similar to the gender dynamics of an American family in the 50's?" We haven't even begun to sort out which behaviours are nature and which are from nurture - we constantly seize on sociological studies that say "Men are this way, women are that way" to try to justify to ourselves that our worldview is right. But these studies prove nothing about what is innate; they only show the end result of years and years of shaming, encouragement and social molding. When properly controlled for, studies actually prove that women and men are shockingly similar, were it not for the constructed gender roles we adhere to. Women are just as capable of good spatial awareness as men are. Men are just as emotional as women are. This comes as a surprise to many people, but not to me. Hormones do affect behaviour, yes, but not nearly as much as we have convinced ourselves they do.

I want to live in a world where the idea of gender (as opposed to sex) is recognized to be archaic and artificial. I want all double-standards mercilessly eradicated. I want to live in a world where men and women are the same - where the differences between any two individuals of the opposite sex is the same as the differences between two individuals of the same sex. I want to live in a world where you cannot accurately guess the gender of a business person, a nurse or a teacher simply by knowing their profession. I want men to be able to wear "women's" clothing. I want men to have an equal chance at custody of their children should they have a divorce. I want women who be able to walk around topless on a hot day and not get leered at. I want women to stop being blamed for their own rape, I want men to stop feeling like they are entitled to sex from women. I want commercials for cleaning supplies and beer to show both male and females. I want female political leaders to be voted into office not because they are female but because of their campaign platform. I want children to be children and to be able to choose what activities they want to do, how long their hair will be and what clothing they want to wear. I want to stop hearing about "the first woman to do _____" because it's entirely irrelevant to the individual's accomplishment. Personally, I would be greatly offended to do something of note and only have it recognized because I have a uterus.

All of this will happen if we accept one simple idea: Men and women are humans, and all humans deserve to be treated as individuals. Treating someone differently based on something they cannot change is discrimination. Right now our society is sexist to it's dirty rotten core and we all participate in it. If we as individuals work to change, eventually - given time - society will begin to swing towards paradise.

0 things about

What a feminist wants

Post a Comment

Copyright 2012 Phile not Found. See About
Powered by Blogger

"Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."