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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Equally Unequal

Why is it that we talk of wanting equality, yet still use it primarily only as it suits us?  Hopefully I do not have to explain my stances on equality in all aspects of life – including gender – more than my blog already posits – but I will state again at the beginning of this that I truly and wholly believe in the equality of all.  However, I find it amusing that we as people – despite claiming the same ideals – do not in fact hold ourselves strictly to this.

Let us take male female interaction.  Women should be treated equally in the work world, unfortunately they are not.  They still make less money than men in similar positions – a travesty.  This trend is certainly lessening, and this can give us hope.  In life and culture the equal rights movement has come a long way.  Fifty years ago the general stereotypes put women at home, and men as the primary 'breadwinner'.  Women cooked and cleaned, raised children, and did 'woman's work'.  There were cultural roles, taboos, and places that women were not allowed to enter (and I should say that a great deal of the non-western world is still very sadly like this).  Luckily emancipation has decreased some barriers in the West, and at the same time opportunities have greatly increased.  Men are in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, and doing other work once looked at as for 'women'.  Western culture – young culture and 'progressive' culture specifically – has embraced equality like this.  Yet why is it that some women, while truly benefiting from this and even pushing for it, still insist upon a man asking them out?  That a man should pay for their dinner or their drink?  I can understand these things 50, 100 years ago, etc strictly along pragmatic lines.  If a women didn't have a job, or culturally it was unacceptable for them to 'ask' a man to do something in public, things can be understood.  Yet how is it that today, in 2009 a progressive women would expect a man to pay for her?  If both are equal, neither one predisposed to being 'barefoot and pregnant', then why must these old stereotypes remain?  If women want equality, then they can not pick and choose which parts they want, just as minorities can not either, and men should not pick and choose what powers to give up.  If someone wants equality in the work place, you need to take it at home or out.  Think of it like this.  Gender does not exist.  You walk out of your house and there are two people there.  They are not man or woman, they are two people.  They both (in an ideal world) have the same opportunities, they both bring equally important perspectives and experiences in life to the table.  They both should be there under their own accord, and should be willing to accept each other on completely equal standards.  If women want to go back to having men pay for them, they should be willing to go back to being barefoot and pregnant, just as if men want to go back to dominating relationships, they need to be prepared to give up a females income for the home.

The bottom line is that unfortunately our culture is founded upon inequality.  This is obviously a bad thing, and something we are trying to move away from.  Yet we are doing it selectively and hypocritically in many senses.  Luckily (for inequality only) our economic conditions have quickly put us in a place where we have to find more equality economically whether we want to or not as it has become so tough now to live a life on one income today – let alone one income for a whole family.

So lets do this.  Lets look at everyone as equal (I mean we should have been doing this from the beginning of time anyway).  Men, stop being threatened by strong powerful women – face it, that individual can do things you can't, and perhaps some would even argue that biologically women as a whole can do some specific things better than men (this of course is claimed visa versa as well).  And Women, realize that you should not be beholden to any man.  You have every right to do as you please, as if on an equal playing field – live as you please.  Any interaction is simply about two people coming to the table – not man, not women – two people.

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