The Gender Equality Movement

All inclusive gender equality, not one-sided hypocrisy

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Defining Gender Equality

Posted by Curt on Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Gender equality is not just one thing; rather, it is a vast series of many different things.  As a result, while a definition of gender equality may seem simple and straight forward enough, the specifics of it will often look very different from one individual to another.  In my attempt to define my conception of gender equality in a more detailed manner in this post, I ask you to offer your conception of it as well, particularly if you differ with me at all – as one individual, I lack many different perspectives and thus I may miss out on a way to see gender equality that I have not yet imagined and may potentially influence my conception of it.  But I do try my best to integrate as many different perspectives into a whole as possible, so bear with me.

——————

For one, gender equality is all inclusive.  Anybody can be a part of the movement for gender equality and anybody can lead it; it is not limited to just one gender.  Gender equality is something which concerns everyone, not just a single group.  Male or female, black or white, homosexual or heterosexual, and so on, all are involved and all will benefit from it one way or another.  The upshot of all of this is that all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, are treated as individuals; grouping people as collectives will not occur, as such leads to division between these collectives (a sense of “us” vs. “them”) and thus discrimination.  All are regarded by their own individual merit.  Discrimination by gender, as well as any background, cannot exist in a truly equal society as a result.

A movement for gender equality, therefore, would be all inclusive as well; nobody would be excluded on the basis of gender from any position within that movement.  There is no label to identify with under a gender equality movement because such labels, again, lead to division.  You either support gender equality or you do not, barring variations on the conception of gender equality which grays an otherwise black or white statement.  There are no “allies” under such a movement as a result of this and the inability to identify with it.  Individuality, again, is the embrace of such a movement.

A gender equality movement should balance both gender's issues equally

The diversity of background, perspective, experience, and all that make every individual who he or she is.  An equal society would do away with any notions of collective groups which, as social constructs, influence those attributes to make them appear all the more real and thus act as a self-fulfilling prophecy if you will, a self-reinforcing mechanism.  Granted, there is always some reality upon which a social construct is based off of (gender included – sex is indeed real, even if more ambiguous than we may be inclined to think), but a society blessed with gender equality does not make such differences any more significant than they actually are, which in my mind are rather insignificant at best in a modern context.  Of course, that is merely my belief – more research needs to be done on this subject, as we need to be open-minded (but simultaneously critical) to the possibility that sexual differences may be more significant than we anticipated and, if true, figure out how to best cope with that.  Hypothetically if it were true, a society practicing gender equality would at least recognize individual variations (exceptions to a rule) can and does exist, and thus accommodate all exceptions to the fullest extent possible.

In any case, this individual diversity, therefore, leads to a wide array of different preferences and decisions from person to person.  This is what makes society work – all functions of a society need to be performed, and the preference for doing each one can range from its simplicity, its carefree nature (lack of responsibility), its monetary rewards, its prestige, its typical hours of work, its easy qualifications (which may give one more time to do what he or she wishes other than higher education), its tasks, how fulfilling it may feel, etc.  There are no roles assigned to any individual based on their gender, but rather, based on their individual merit and choosing.  Each of these choices would be embraced under a society practicing gender equality, or really just any kind of equality.  Thus gender equality does not seek equality of results; instead, it advocates the equality of opportunity, seeing disparities under an equal society as, dare I say it, evidence of individual freedom.

Of course, many obstacles exist in our society today that inhibits such freedom.  Individuals may be barred from something as a result of gender, and possibly any other kind of collective group they may be associated with.  A gender equality movement would therefore seek to end such obstacles, but not through forcefully empowering a weaker group to a more powerful one (affirmative action) which is merely a band-aid to the overarching problem; instead, a gender equality movement would seek to undermine such structures that allows such discrimination to exist and thus do away with the root of the problem.

Naturally, the consequence of all this is the ability for all individuals to freely choose whatever they wish, be it their sexuality, their lifestyle, their opinion, or what have you.  Of course, this does not necessarily mean that everybody must accept each choice either – it is entirely possible to disapprove of homosexuality in a society practicing gender equality, so long as that disapproval does not translate into coercing that individual into what another believes is “more proper” or the discrimination of them.  In other words, tolerance.

——————

I have doubts that such a utopia will ever exist, or even if such a utopia is possible.  But that’s the point of an ideal, no?  We may strive with all our might toward the light at the end of that tunnel, but the light will always be out of our reach.  This is not a reason to be pessimistic, though; the light still shines in various degrees, depending on how close we are to it.  The closer we can reach the light, the more intensely we will feel its glorious shine.  There is always something more to strive for; it is never ending, but always rewarding.

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