Imagine—a world where men and women were equals. Women ran construction sites, men taught in class rooms. Husbands cooked dinner, while wives watched the nightly news program.
This is the utopia of equality that today’s media is encouraging. This sounds like a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to think about a world where men and women could do the same job, or act the same way.
It’s a great idea—in theory.
But the truth is we will never achieve this status. As a society we could spend years promoting gender equality, going to marches and protests to show our support for men’s and women’s equality, but nothing will change.
Why? Because men and women ARE different.
We could fight for men and women to be the same till we are blue in the face, but the honest truth is that men and women are different, physically and emotionally.
Instead, what if achieving equality meant that men were respected for being men and women were respected for being women. What if men were praised for doing the things that they are good at, and women were praised the same for doing what they are good at.
My friend once presented this idea to me recently. He was playing some video game and I was contemplating society’s problems with gender inequality. I was trying to understand my own view point on feminism while also rationalizing it with what the Bible has to say about it. Though I am a christian and fully agree with the Bible, I’m also a twenty-one year old woman living in the twenty-first century. So you can see why I was struggling with the Bible’s seemingly derogatory view of women.
Anyway, my friend explained the so called “gender inequalities” like this: Equal but different.
Men and women are equal, but they both have different roles to play in life. It’s a crazy idea I know, but so crazy it just might work.
Despite how archaic this may sound, I agree with the idea. Women and men are different. Even a child could tell you that. A child can tell the difference between their mother and father. Just by looking on the outside, little Jimmy can see his parent’s physical attributes are completely different. Scientifically, men tend to have stronger upper bodies. Women, on the other hand, tend to have stronger lower bodies. Women have the ability to have children, men don’t.
Another way we could look at the idea that men and women are different is from an internal perspective. Being a woman I know that my brain does not work the same as my boyfriend’s. I know that I am far more emotional than he is, or rather more expressive with my emotions. Where I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, he keeps his emotions bottled up.
According to David P. Schmitt Ph.D in an article for Psychology Today, generally women tend to be more sympathetic than men. Women in a sense tend to be able to see the sadness or hurt of others more prominently than men do. In this article they also talked about how women respond more negatively to certain violent images and videos as opposed to men. (To read more about these studies visit: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sexual-personalities/201504/are-women-more-emotional-men)
This more sensitive behavior in women is displayed in statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Blog, women in management positions tend to hold positions in areas such as Human Resources, Social and Community Service, and Education. At first I thought this was weird, if women and men were supposed to be the same wouldn’t these statistics be more equal? Why is it that 74% of women work as Human Resources Managers? Or 65% work as Education Administrators? I’m sure that there are a number of factors as to why women work in these areas, however, my personal hypothesis is that women excel at working with people because they are more empathetic and are more sensitive to the needs of people than men. Therefore women tend to hold these types of humanitarian positions.
As a woman, I see my feminine like emotions as a gift, and unique to me. I also see my boyfriend’s more logical point of view as a blessing. When I get overwhelmed with issues that are either real or completely made, he brings me back to reality. When I see that he is starting to bottle things up and pull away from me, I let him know and I’m there for him. We work well together because we are different. As cliché as it may sound, we complete each other.
What I’m trying to get across is that women and men have different roles because they are different, both mentally and physically. This is evidenced by the numerous studies conducted on the behavior of men and women, not to mention labor statistics. Which brings me back to my original point; why are we encouraging women to be men and men to be women?
Why are we trying to make two very different beings to become the same?
Today we tell women that they need to go to college in order to get a successful career. In fact, there’s so much pressure put on women to become successful business women that it’s starting to wear them down. Many women were told that they can have it all, both career and family. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. In the end one of these things is going to slip because no human can balance raising a family full time and starting a full time career.
But this is the lie that women have been told. “You must have a full time career just as your husband, in order for anyone to take you seriously.”
That’s like trying to tell a cow that it must now fulfill the role of a chicken in order to be taken seriously on the farm. So then the farmer then expects the cow to start laying eggs as well as producing milk. That’s preposterous. No one in their right mind would ask a cow to lay an egg, why? Because it’s not a chicken.
Both cows and chickens have different roles on the farm. One gives the farmer milk, the other eggs. The cow is not inferior to the chicken because it cannot produce eggs. The chicken is not inferior to the cow because it cannot produce milk. Both these farm animals are valued by the individual roles that they play. If all chickens started producing milk just like cows there would be no more eggs. The scale would be out of balance.
I know that is a silly analogy, but the truth is still the same. If all women were told they need to fulfill the roles of men, we would have no more stay at home mothers. If all men became women there would be no providers and protectors.
Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t believe that women shouldn’t go to college, or that they should be only stay at home moms. If I were saying that I would be a hypocrite. What I am saying is that women should be encouraged in whatever field they choose. They should be encouraged to have a family, or to become career women if they so choose.
What I am saying is that the social pressure that women need to do everything a man does in order to be taken seriously must come to an end.
Women need to stop being told that they should sterilize themselves in order to walk away from a one night stand the same way a man does. Society needs to stop telling women that babies are an accessory to life and families are a burden to your career. Society needs to stop telling women that because she does not have a full time career like her husband, she’s failing as a woman.
Women need to be empowered and encouraged in who they are, both mentally and physically. They need to be told to accept and love how they were made. They need to be encouraged to do the things that they are good at. If that means starting a family, then great. If that means having a full time career, then great.
True equality is not the idea that men and women are inherently the same, but rather they idea that they are equal and respected in their chosen path.
Rather than promoting this idea that for true equality men and women must be the same, lets promote the idea that men and women are different. Let’s promote the idea that women are as equal in their field as men are in theirs.
I don’t know about you, I like being emotional. Yes, it’s frustrating at times. Sometimes, sensitivity makes life more problematic. But I wouldn’t wish it away. My sensitivity to life, my small feminine stature, and my ability to make an amazing sandwich (I’m not stereotyping, I actually do make amazing sandwiches) are all what makes me, me. My boyfriend’s six foot stature, his constant long term planning, and his ability not to cry at sad movies are all what makes him him.
I like being a woman, and everything that it comes with—emotions and all. I don’t want to be doing what a man is doing. I don’t feel the need to prove myself in man’s world because, well, I’m not a man. So, I’m going to keep being a woman. If that means someday having a family, then I will take that role on wholeheartedly. And If that means having a career, then I’ll do my best in that field.
Equality doesn’t mean that women and men should be able to do the same things or act the same way. True equality means being respected and valued for who you are and what you were made to do.