Picture this: A schoolyard full of children, girls and boys.
They are kept in line by their principal: Genetics. The principal enforces rigid standards of gendered behavior onto the kids and has done so for longer than any of them could hope to remember. For so long, actually, it seems invisible to them. Each side is genuinely disadvantaged by these roles, but are benefited in other ways. The boys are given more freedom to play and explore, but are also ignored and mocked when they get hurt. They aren't allowed to express their emotions openly the way the girls can. The girls are catered to like princesses, but are overprotected stiflingly. They aren't allowed to do the exciting things the boys get to do. Both sides are blind to the ways they've got it good and see only the ways the other side has it better. So they bicker endlessly. They blame each other for their unhappiness. They hurt each other. Genetics allows this so long as they always follow their roles.
Into this mess comes Religion; the gym coach and sex ed teacher. He tells the boys what they want to hear. That boys are strong and girls are weak. That there is a magical god called Male Authority that everyone must worship so they'll be happy forever. That sex is gross and will give you cooties, so good boys and girls should repress their desires and never be honest about them, especially with each other. Also, that if a boy gets a stiffy from looking at a girl, it's the girl's fault for looking like a whore. Religion says his morality is so perfect that anyone who disagrees with it must be evil, and therefore has to sit on the Sinner's Bench and be shamed by everyone else.
Neither the boys or the girls need Religion, but he's so convincing because he scares them with tales of eternal punishment when they are bad and promises if they are good that angels will give them candy and ice cream after they die. The boys obey because him they like what he says, and the girls obey too so the boys won't treat them too terribly.
And to make things even more complicated, someone else arrives: Feminism, the school counselor. Feminism tells the girls what they want to hear. That they are unfairly victimized and that nothing is more important than their self-esteem. Feminism tells the boys that every part of them is dirty, violent and offensive. Feminism teaches both sides that boys, by nature of being boys, oppress girls, and that girls are entitled to take all the boys' toys and books to make things fair. Feminism says her morality is so perfect that anyone who disagrees with it must be a misogynist, and therefore has to sit in the Bigot Corner and be shamed by everyone else.
Neither the boys or the girls need Feminism, even though she's so convincing because she looks so sweet and innocent and insists that all she really wants is equality for everyone. The girls obey her because they like what she says, and the boys obey too so the girls won't treat them too terribly.
Now let's change things a bit.
Let's pretend that these boys and girls are actually fully-capable adults who've been held back so long they have no idea how to live without the school's paralyzingly divisive, tyrannical rules. If they would all wise up and ignore the gym teacher and school counselor, maybe they might actually have a chance to collectively defy the principal, to cast off the control of biology and dogma, and be free to be whoever they damn well choose to be. Like the adults we are.
5 years, 7 months ago
04 May 2013 05:09 CEST