Different But Equal!?

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As I’m contorting to post a comment to the above entry, I started to step back to determine why I was doing so much self editing. Then it hit me:

We talk about different but equal in society and yet do not universally value making that statement a reality.

As a self styled “man with feminist leanings”, I’ve always valued the important of different but equal. All genders in my book have a different set of unique strengths and face unique challenges, which when valued equally makes life really a more rewarding experience. Now, some men may say that I was always raised in a less than manly situation. Being an only child and raised in the old school style, I was dragged around in the case of the women most times. My uncle was a foreman and my brother was into computers and they both worked long hours and not really were home. So I was stuck with the women of the house a lot. While that has given me some insight into certain experiences women have, it did not lend itself to the most balanced gender experience.

How do you learn to treat genders equally? How do you learn to use your privilege to advocate and empower when needed? How do you justify using your privilege as expected?

Lots of nuances and not many clear answers. I’ve figured out some things on my own over the years, which has led to my professional choices…yet it is very much a work in progress to find the answers to the above questions.

That’s the thing: as we push for more equality between genders, I often question what is being done to provide a positive gender experience for children and youth coming up universally.

I do love how the millennials are challenging many of these gender relationships into more positive ones. Still, I often wonder if the older folks, who haven’t been pushed aside as millennials shape their future couldn’t be still involved in this process.

I suppose you really cannot really discuss sexism without discussing ageism and racism as well due to their intersections. There seems to be this still-present notion of simplicity in pursuing only one strand here for adcovacy. While I respect that, the argument has been made that humans, especially millennials, are mulitlayered social creatures. Therefore individuals can experience minority status in one layer and privilege in others. Maybe working from that viewpoint makes improving gender relationships more messy and convoluted, but we live in a fluid society in many ways.

Perhaps if one really believes in different but equal, it be best to try to practice that in one’s own daily living. Still, not everyone wants this so it is important not to be so discouraged.

No change happens overnight, but it is my hope that as gender relationships and being redefined, a more universal belief in different but equal will begin to take shape.

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