Monday, December 10, 2012

Double Standards

I think about things a little differently than most. I used to believe that my perspective was common, but when I spout off my ideas, the people around me look at me as if I'm a one of those homeless people who are slowly leaking crazy all over the floor, and why won't they quit babbling?

When it comes to ideas about women's rights and feminism, I'm ambivalent. That's a weird thing coming from a woman, I know, but hear me out. Top tier for me are human rights. Is this woman being treated fairly and rightfully as a human being? Are there some human beings receiving rights and benefits that she is not? Why?

I don't care that the answer is because she is a woman. I only care that she is treated fairly. How she is treated should have nothing to do with her gender (or sex--but that's a whole 'nother can of bananas). Yet some people make women's rights not about equaling up the playing field, but about women getting what they deserve.

It ends up with this weird mixture of regression and spite. For example, people behaving as if women should be the ones deciding if what's happening to them is fair or not. However, how is that different from our current system in which mostly men (of a certain demographic) decide the rightness of a situation?

I despise double standards. When the implications of a societal norm are not thought out, it leaves everyone hurt. Take, for instance, the issue of physical threats. We're in a bar. It's night and the place is crowded and boisterous. A man laughs loudly with his friends, making large gestures with his arms as he tells a grand story. He steps back in his reenactment and bumps into a woman behind him and spills her drink onto her blouse. "Sorry," he says. In response, the woman dashes the contents of her glass in the man's face. The man shoves the woman lightly.

In most cases, the man will be bounced or have the cops called on him. What happens to the woman? Oh well, you see...physical disparities. Well, let's change the woman to a scrawny twenty-one year old dude. What happens in this scenario? Why is it different? Oh, still a strength discrepancy? Let's make the man who spills the drink a linebacker. Well, the young guy should know better than to throw a drink in man's face when he has no chance of defending himself.

And a woman shouldn't? But, someone will think, the man shouldn't be resorting to physical violence at all. And the woman should? Throwing her drink in his face is an assault, no doubt about it. Oh, it burns me. I've read too many stories in which a man is maimed by some woman and she isn't even called out on it, let alone punished. I seem to be the only reader who is disturbed. This is an ideal situation? Why is this acceptable?

Why are rights treated as if they were non-replenishable and scarce resources? Giving women more rights doesn't mean they have to be taken away from men. Just because some men oppress doesn't mean that they are all inferior.

It will take a lot of relearning on all sides for gender relationships to become truly equalized. If no one is superior to the other, then no one should be treated as superior. That's a roundabout statement and not an obvious one at that. We women can sometimes demand contrary things. We won't our dinners paid for and our doors held open, but we don't want to pay for a man's dinner or open his door. No, we'd rather just pay for our own meals and open our own doors if everyone's going to get touchy about it. Remember this anniversary, we demand. Yet the things that are important to the guy we deem unimportant and fail to remember.

This culture of treating men as if they were expendable oafs is toxic. No one will win this war.

No comments:

Post a Comment