Equality is a funny thing… We seem to think that it means we have to be the same, and that gets us hung up on things. And maybe we need to consider and have conversations about what equality means. In math it means 2+2=4; there is equality on both sides of the equation they are exactly the same. I get it. But when we are dealing with people or non-math things, it doesn’t work that way because we are different. An apple doesn’t equal an orange; they are both good, but in very different ways. They can be considered equal in terms of the necessary but different nutrients they provide, but those nutrients are different. People are like that too.
Let’s look at gender and how we have screwed that up.
Men and women are not the same. We are certainly more different than races and while we do have some similarities, we are NOT the SAME, which doesn’t mean we are not equal. We both play an important role in society, but we play it differently. As a feminist, I have never asked or suggested a man should have to give birth, because he is physically unable to. But that is not fair is it? If a woman has to go through all that, shouldn’t a man? We both bring our unique and equally important capabilities to the world. And even if we were blind, we still would not be the same.
Equality doesn’t require sameness; it only requires an appreciation of the value we each bring. An apple doesn’t have to try to be an orange to appreciate the amount of vitamin C it has. It can be quite satisfied with providing excellent fiber I have never seen an apple mad at an orange and say they shouldn’t be allowed to grow on trees because they don’t have enough fiber. But for some reason we seem confused about equality with humans.
I was reading an article about how a theater in Austin was hosting an all-female showing of Wonder Woman. And let me just say I am a huge fan of hers; when I was little I even had a ceiling light cover with her and all her amazingness. Gal Gadot did an amazing job, but Linda Carter will always be my Wonder Woman! But I digress!
There were several comments, but specifically one from a man as follows:
“Apparently “equality” is only selective nowadays… how about a “men’s only” showing of a movie or is that not how equality works?”
My first reaction is “get a life” There are bigger things in the world than whether or not you get to go to a show. But I realize that is not really a great response to his very real feelings.
So, my second response is “Ask for your own screening for men-only if it means that much to you.” This is still not the best response, although valid.
And my third would be to actually have a conversation about equality with him. How does having an all-female showing hurt him as a man? I am a big fan of man-cations, you know, when a bunch of guys get together and be guys for a weekend. I think they are a great idea, as are girls’ weekends. We need time to be with those “like” us that understand our ways. I own a house painting company, and I know when I walk onto an all-guy worksite, the energy changes.
I seem to think the term “equality” is used as a way to NOT have a conversation about genders. To shut down the conversation and bring up ridiculous points like a woman can’t pee standing up, or she isn’t strong enough to do a job and therefore has no value at all. We totally forget all the amazing things women bring to the table like having a baby and feeding it. THAT is a freaky mind-blowing thing.
In the discussion of gender equality, we would be remiss to talk about how men are not treated equally too. In terms of maternity leave, or emotion. How they are at times discarded as just being a guy and not understanding, or told to suck it up, grow a set and stop acting like a baby.
Yep, we have a lot of work to do on the topic of equality and maybe that would start with just calling it something different… I don’t know… like respect?