Are women equal to men?
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – „Women are nothing more than properties, something men own, use and when convenient simply throw away” – this sentence can pretty much summarize how the men-ruled society (patriarchy) in the western world perceived the gender difference not so long ago. In fact not even a time travel is needed, we can still see similar patterns in the Islamic countries. The slogan of such society is that man and women are DIFFERENT. Different in strength; therefore, they have different values – mainly: less -, and they have different rights correspondingly – mainly: much less – .
Lucky us; the western world has inevitably changed. Today women have the right to work, the right to vote, and the right to divorce. They have the right to choose what religion they want to practice or what they want to cover their bodies with. According to the law, women are EQUAL to men by all means.
Still, does equality before the law is the same as equal social perception of the two genders?
„Hell no!” cries the feminist when struggling for more equality, and with a „Hell no!” I concur, but as soon as we two start to discuss the matter we end up disagreeing. Badly. The way I see this matter is that – and with this we get to my hypothesis right away – women are DIFFERENT from men. There are obvious physical differences and there are (speaking in general terms of course) differences in values and principles also. Let stress, though: I didn’t make these differences. Mother Nature did.
As for me there are two types of dimensions: the feminine and the masculine.
Where the masculine values are: striving and conquering, being active, while the feminine values are: nurturing and preserving, being passive. These together create the complex reality of our social world, such the popular symbol of Yin and Yang.
Should a woman have it all?
I believe that most modern feminists in the western world carry the wounds taken on the men oppression era. This is, for me, very similar to the case when people (Jewish or not) carry forward the trauma of the Holocaust. Most of such people have never been any close to a concentration camp; nevertheless, society functions like an entity that preserves the Nazi terror in its common-subconscious. Being holocaust-traumatized is an existing issue of the society. The trauma of men oppression is another existing issue and it gives the strongest basis for modern western feminism.
A modern feminist gets angry by hearing that a woman is any different than a man. What they attempt to prove is that they can possess and work with the masculine principles of a man, thus they can function the SAME way. TV shows, like Sex and the City, teach us that it is ‘so cool’ to try to be man with a vagina (big thanks to HBO for the terrifying example by the way).
I believe these are mistakes. And the first real mistake was made when western society (of course including both genders) decided that masculine values rock and feminine values just simply suck.
We got it all wrong. The ultimate goal of a feminist should be to prove that feminine values are as necessary to a healthy society as the masculine ones. Yet, a feminist wants to convince everyone that a woman can only find self-fulfillment once she built a successful career (whatever that really means), which causes hell of a frustration everywhere.
Having chain of positions with growing responsibilities, with growing level of authority and with the increasing risk of failure is, let’s face with it, a masculine sport.
As a result, today’s women want everything: get the career, function as a woman, who raises 1-3 kids and also manages to create a cozy nest for the family. Aren’t these conflicting roles?
I myself would simply jump out of the window under such expectations. Expectations that are stemming from feminists, and eventually spread into the entire society.
Feminists are Male Chauvinists?
Women can build career, women are able to lead companies, and they can even earn better money than most of their male co-workers – this has happened already, and it is happening today. I am not against that: if a woman would like to take this path, then, just like in case of a man would like to live by feminine principles, I would say: go for it.
But to tell the truth, I would still be wondering if she would be really happy? Would it be good for her to give up a feminine lifestyle and to exchange it for masculinity? Or would that rather lead only to endless (but unsaid) frustrations for her? It is worth considering also that once a woman starts to function with male attributes, chances are high that there is NO turn back.
If the answer, however, is a definite yes to masculinity, then no more questions to be asked. But, and here comes my main question, if there is a woman, who doesn’t aim to have a leader position, get a huge salary, have authority over others, etc. then why everyone thinks that this woman is not using her full potential and, thereby, has less value to society?
Just look around: today is all about masculinity… You hear fancy expressions everywhere: be proactive, explore all your opportunities, you need to grow constantly, do everything to achieve, be a leader, motivate people, or show that you can… Just be a modern girl honey, you must build career and earn a good money, you cannot be pending on your spouse anyway, you must be independent…How about raising kids or running the household? – which is the very foundation of any society by the way -.
People would yell straightaway: “Life is more than that! Have a career first!”
Working for a company 8-14 hours a day for making a company’s faceless investors happy… Is this really the best way for self-esteem? Is this really the way women can achieve success?
The castration of men
Men produced feminists; feminists produced frustrated, male-like women. Then frustrated, male-like women eventually produced frustrated female-like men.
Yes, men today have an identity crisis of their own as well. They struggle understanding of how to be a man in a world where the gender roles are not clear any longer. There is no more hunt for the mammoth, and the dangerous predators are now come in the form of the monthly bills. Physical superiority has no true worth any more – after all women can succeed without men easily. As a result, the male population got confused and slowly (just to maintain the universal balance) started to go feminine.
To serve you with one example: open a trendy male magazine; one of those colourful and expensive ones. It will demonstrate exactly the following: how to be a male supermodel. You will be guided on what car to buy, which watch to wear, which gel to put on the hair, what suit to buy, and most importantly, how to get those wonderful abs… Not that it is ok that magazines for women are full of unrealistic Photoshop-dreamed expectations on how to be a supermodel-beauty-girl, but the fact that there is a profitable market manipulating men the very same way is, to say the least, troubling.
Do we really need to encourage change?
Though the above-described trends are indeed occurring, they are not yet fully determining factors of the western world. Men are still obtaining the two riskiest social-levels: they are on the top and they are on the bottom – this means that there are more male CEOs but there are also more male homeless on the street.
Meanwhile, where are most women? They are right in the middle. A status, where they can find security as well as flexibility – the majority of women still opt for having a baby than to be a high-risk taker. And for the very same reasons we can see that some job sectors (like education or health care) attract more women than man.
Next time someone complains why there are less females in high-ranking positions, consider this: perhaps there are still women who do not want to get involved with filthy politics, they do not desire to lead others, they do not wish to battle with frustration and identity-crisis for more money. They refuse risk, they say no to careerism. Why? They simply wish to live according to feminine principles. – Which, and perhaps this is the most conclusion here, are not any more or less than the masculine ones. There is no ranking and hierarchy. They are just simply DIFFERENT. And society should (re)-learn to VALUE both of them EQUALLY.
* Used literature:
- The concept of differentiating feminine-masculine principles, feminists’ male chauvinism, modern-world’s masculine-orientation and the holocaust trauma within society’s subconscious are deriving from Róbert Puzsér
- The discussion of genders in various social layers and the changes in modern gender roles are deriving from the interview with Erzsébet Tamási (HVG (2013), E. Kardos: ‘If Prostitution is Banned, it will Move to the Black Market’, 16 November 2013, vol. 46, pp. 26-27).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Attila Szabó was born in Budapest, Hungary. He lived for a short period of time in Kansas, United States and graduated with a Master’s degree in 2011. Besides everyday work he practices martial arts regularly and enjoys trying out other kinds of sports. He considers himself a humanist, who is blessed with the curse of constant critical thinking.
Edited by Virag
Photo credit: Flickr/ United Nations