One of my favorite humans is expressing serious concern about the way the PopTech program stacked up (male/female). Actually perhaps that is not fair – she’s not concerned so much about the ratio of women to men, but the pervasive message by some males who took the stage that we live in a world where gender roles are slow to change socially. She heard the message that we live in a world where physical power matters (it does), beauty matters (it does), women aren’t getting pregnant fast enough (I missed this), women aren’t cut out for certain types of geopolitical power (I think that view is simply wrong), and that male-dominated societies are still going to war to keep “their women” isolated (sort of true, but wars to withhold power from women are not going to succeed, and i think it’s more accurate to say that repression and those types of wars are both fruits from the tree of ignorance). Sherry is right about much of the myopia in those views and I want to know how we can fix it.
One problem is that the so-called “enlightened” Western nations do nothing to encourage allied societies to treat women as equals. Saudi Arabia is my favorite example – but there are many others – America does very little to push leaders and spread the word within these societies that women are equals and must have equal opportunity for a full and successful society.
Sherry is frustrated at the confluence of two things – the way women are underrepresented on the program combined with the perpetuation of male-dominance-messaging coming from the stage. I understand her frustration with this but (of course) hadn’t thought about it this weekend until she mentioned it to me.
What is getting on my nerves is not Sherry’s legit concerns – but some of the commentary I heard around the Opera House today (and a couple online posts) that smacks of angry ERA-brand feminism to me. So I’m going to rant about that a little bit.
Equality of opportunity and equality of voice should not be the fuel that feeds this ongoing leftie feminist fire that has attempted for 30+ years to iron out and deny the beautiful differences between the genders. Men have been socially brow-beaten into pretending all sorts of things that simply aren’t true (looks don’t matter, monogamy is hot, violence is never the answer, money isn’t relevant, women make good bodyguards, etc. etc.) and we have, as a society, overcorrected.
What I want is a world where men and women have equal opportunity and (of course) equal rights – but we all need to realize that our gender differences are as special as our interpersonal differences. Men and women have very different physiological/psychological skills, desires, and priorities. They are fundamental, they are the reason we are all here, without them the species would have died off long ago. Now, to appreciate our biological differences does not mean we should be limited or trapped by them. We must accept our limbic differences – we cannot change them – while also growing upon them and using this fancy new cortex we grew recently. Men & women operate from very different perspectives, are generally better at some things than the other gender, and prioritize very differently.
I know I’ve drifted way off topic here… but in a nutshell, tokenism is useless. We should have had more women on the stage, but the alarms sounded by some attendees seem to arise from a reactionary feminism that I get cranky about.
Sherry’s issue is different, though, because it gets to the issue of dis/empowerment. The best way to empower both genders is to embrace our differences – not hide from them – and evolve together and in awe of one another.
I know I’ve ruffled some feathers. For those of you who want to fight me, I’m ready and can take all of you. I’ll be at the town square at midnight. 😉