Monday, June 2, 2008

Men & Women

While we're on the topic of the differences between men and women, I have to share that I've had a bee in my bonnet for many years around the topic of feminism. Why is it that women feel the need to be recognized as man's equal? Why do we feel we have to prove that we can do anything a man can do, and even possibly do it better? Why do we have to gauge our own progress by that of a man's? How does that make us feel better about ourselves? Why should men be the measuring stick at all? Why can't we just accept our femininity as women, honor our differences and say that we're equal as human beings, but its our differences that make us beautiful?

I'm sure some will think I'm setting feminism back by such musings. But I really don't get it. I don't want to be a man. I don't want to do things as a man does them. I just want to come to terms with what it means to be a woman, whatever that may be. But then, who are any of us really?

tall penguin

7 comments:

Joshua Zucker said...

I think feminism is about making sure that women and men have the same CHOICES, not that they are THE SAME. Equality, not in the sense of doing exactly the same stuff, but in the sense of being permitted to do the same stuff.

Conversely, I think feminism is also about allowing men the choices of doing things that were traditionally female roles, like the small but growing number of "stay-at-home dads" we see these days.

The only reason, to me, that feminism focuses more on women than on men is because women's choices were so much more severely curtailed by our society, and men's choices were so much more valued and viewed as powerful. Thus the moves toward breaking down those walls came initially from the women. Maybe we've come far enough that "feminism" could now be called "antisexism" or something, but I think it's still the case that further progress in this area will help women more than it helps men.

matt said...

In the ages before, you really would have had to make a statement about the equality of women. I'm glad it's not a problem now, but the after-effects are still here, and that's why I still continue to echo the answers that feminists found.

We are equal as humans, we share intellectual beauty, but obviously we aren't equals in everything, otherwise we couldn't perpetuate the species. :)

matt said...

this is why I'm glad we have feminism and the bravery of those who fought for it. :/

ephant said...

"Why can't we just accept our femininity as women, honor our differences and say that we're equal as human beings, but its our differences that make us beautiful?"

Some would argue that that makes you a feminist, and that the "men are better than women therefore lets all be men" type of feminist are very much doing it wrong ;)

Ged said...

I'm with you there Josh - the way forward is that people have the same chances to do what they want with their lives.

I just have problems with the labels. Terms like feminism, atheism, anything with 'anti' in front of it - isn't this supposed to be the post-modern age where we've outgrown such narrow terminology?

tall penguin said...

"I think feminism is about making sure that women and men have the same CHOICES, not that they are THE SAME. Equality, not in the sense of doing exactly the same stuff, but in the sense of being permitted to do the same stuff."

Okay, I'm with you here.

"I think feminism is also about allowing men the choices of doing things that were traditionally female roles, like the small but growing number of "stay-at-home dads" we see these days."

Yes, I saw more and more stay-at-home dads when I worked with infants. I like seeing both men and women in non-traditional roles. It is about options.

tall penguin said...

"Some would argue that that makes you a feminist, and that the "men are better than women therefore lets all be men" type of feminist are very much doing it wrong ;)"

Thanks for this ephant. You seem to get what I'm trying to say.

I don't want us to think either of the sexes is superior. I just want a place where we can appreciate our differences and then integrate both the masculine and the feminine into the human experience so there are no differences. The yin and the yang.