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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Equality

The year was 1965 when Hollywood came out with a witty attempt to advance gender equality. The movie title was Billie, starring Patty Duke and Jim Backus. Patty played the tomboy daughter, Billie, who competed on the high school boy's track team because she was better at it than any of them, and Jim played her father, Howard Carol, a mayoral candidate, tentatively supporting his daughter's efforts. Her boyfriend, Mike (played by Warren Berlinger), is torn. He loves his girlfriend's abilities, but is concerned that she's not female enough. At some point in the movie this comes to a head. He argues that she should quit the team and she argues that he doesn't believe in equality. He argues that he does, but that men and women are different. "Then you don't believe in equality," she counters. Clearly the subtext was aimed at arguing for gender equality. Oddly enough, there wasn't a single definition of equality in the subtext or the script.

What is this equality of which they speak? Is it a physical equality? No, clearly not. Everyone agrees that the male sex and the female sex are not the same. Anyone with eyes can tell that. Statistics agree.
Average male height: 5'9"
Average female height: 5'4"
Average male weight: 190 lbs
Average female weight: 160 lbs
So without even examining the crass, this is not equality. If equality is the aim here, women are going to have to get on the stick and start gaining weight ... and height.

That, of course, is silly. That's not the equality of which they speak. No, no, it is equal treatment.

So when an 18-year-old male wishes to engage in sexual relations with a 14-year-old female, they call it rape, but when an 18-year-old female wishes to engage in sexual relations with a 14-year-old female, they call it something wonderful. You can find lots of headline cases where females are seeking to play on boys' sports teams (which would, quite obviously, nullify the term "boys'"), but not one of a male seeking to play on a girls' team. There are numerous and large campaigns to fight women's breast cancer but hardly a story to be found indicating that men get breast cancer as well. And, of course, there's the whole gender disparity in sentencing for crimes. One study indicated that chivalry is not dead in the realm of the death penalty. In cases that should result in capital punishment, men are overwhelmingly sentenced to death more often than women for the same crime.

So, what am I saying? Is there no inequality? No, clearly I'm not saying that. There is no problem? No, not that either. The problem of gender inequality is a myth? Not at all. All I'm asking is for a little consideration. When you call for "gender equality", just what do you mean? Are you calling for equal mistreatment as well? Is it a bizarre suggestion that there is no difference between the genders? Is it a demand for equal treatment (which is difficult to fathom when the call appears to be for preferential treatment of women over men)? And if equal treatment, are you sure that's what you want? Because, in all honesty, given the differences between men and women, I'm not sure that anyone really wants that. No, I'm saying that men and women are different and ought to be treated accordingly. And I'm saying that I'm pretty sure that the loud and common and apparently outraged voices that are demanding "gender equality" have not put a lot of thought into exactly what that means. And I'd like them to do that. Because telling me I don't believe in equality is meaningless if you can't really put your finger on just what "equality" means.

2 comments:

Dan said...

What is missing, I think, is purpose. Of course that stands to reason. If we have no creator, we have no purpose, so at least the pagan is somewhat consistent here... even though without a creator, one might just as well make a valid argument for the enslavement of women on the basis of evolution. But what I find odd is that Christianity at large has bought into this.

From the Christian perspective there is purpose. The truth is that men and women are not created for no ultimate purpose no more than the nut and the bolt are not. Alone, neither the nut, or the bolt, can fulfil their destiny, which is to fasten two things together. In the same way, alone, a man or a woman cannot fulfil their destiny in their maness or womaness, which is to become a family with Godly offspring. That this idea is lost on a pagan culture should be expected. But that it is lost in the church ought to make us dress in sackcloth and ashes.

Stan said...

See? You should have written this piece, because you're able to get down to the nuts and bolts of it. (Sorry. Small humor.)