Musings On Gender

“Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what men can do that women are losing their uniqueness. Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do. Women were created to do everything a man can’t do.”

– (unknown author, posted on Facebook)

For whatever reason, this quote piqued my curiosity, me wondering, “Ah, I see, women are unique, but men aren’t? A woman must have wrote it.”

Or maybe not, maybe it was a man who has some kind of a Madonna complex. I mean, it was a little sassy.

I saw a single comment with a woman’s name that I would have bet said something (cutting through all the verbiage) like, “You go, girl!” I was surprised to read:

“Women (and men for that matter) were created to do what they have a talent for and not what society says they should do. So if a woman can do what a man can do that’s great. And if a man can do what a woman can do that’s great. The only complication is the uniqueness that biology has assigned the sexes (e.g., childbearing).”

I thought that sentiment had value and commented in return:

“Well said and absolutely correct. Instead of the focus of some (or society at large) on what a person (regardless of sex) can’t do (or shouldn’t do, and placing artificial barriers in their way), we should focus on what a person wants to do and encourage them to try. And, if they’re capable, get out of their way and let them do it.”

And then I decided that this whole issue we have in our society about sex, sexuality, sexual identity, what is considered sexual assault, and especially sexual roles – all of some importance – is totally out of control. We Americans are so hung up on matters sexual that we are starting to make mountains out of mole hills and taking the focus off the so many, many more important things that we should apply the same energy to if we want to work ourselves up in a lather over something. Things like hunger, poverty, the environment, crime, war (to name a few).

All this sex stuff is a tempest in a teapot by comparison. But back to the quote.

We are all aware of the differences between men and women in their strengths and how they perceive and interact with each other and life. Stereotypically, for examples, men look at the big picture, women the details; men value logical solutions, women look at the emotional impact; men want a workable quick fix, women the best fix. In each case there is value, and depending on the circumstances, either way may be a better approach than the other. But it is almost always better if both ways are taken together as a whole.

And that’s where the above cited quote falls short.

We shouldn’t look at how or why men and women are different (not that they are in most ways, it’s just a matter of degree), but that it’s precisely in those differences that we need to recognize that together they make a whole, where the best happens. Instead of celebrating the differences, emphasizing and demanding deference to them, we should be working on blending them to make a whole being.

Other than bearing and giving birth, there is nothing a woman can do that a man can’t; other than brute strength, there is nothing a man can do that a woman can’t. Or shouldn’t.

I wonder, if it were men who gave birth, would men be demanding deference in attitude and treatment from women?

Probably.

Still, I don’t want my grandsons and granddaughters to grow up in a world where the way they think, or what they do or the way they act, is limited or scrutinized or judged, predicated strictly on their biological gender.

Be they boy or girl, woman or man, whatever they are, we should affirm and celebrate who they are, and not what they are.

– Bill

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