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WHY IS GENDER EQUALITY SO MISUNDERSTOOD?

I have come to realize that most of the people, men and women, who go up in arms against the movement of Gender Equality do not really understand what the movement is about. And little wonder that, because it just so happens that most of its proponents do not get it either.

And this is something that baffles me, because it really is not rocket science.

I just recently read a piece on The Naked Convos, a firm denunciation of Gender Equality, where the writer began glorying in her miseducation when she labelled gay rights and gender equality as trends.

They are not trends. These are real life issues, affecting real persons.

The writer says: “I love being ‘feminine’ and everything that comes with it. I love the fact that I am delicate and soft spoken. My body is soft, not rigid and hard textured. God did not make a mistake when he said we are ‘weaker vessels’.”

That right there is the point of all this contention, this belief that some women and men have that proponents of gender equality have an agenda to get both sexes to strive to be the better man. It is Gender Equality, not Gender Sameness, not Sex Equality.

In fact, I find it very creditable to the woman who can kick ass in her area of expertise whilst she’s clad in the shapeliest outfit and sky-high stilettos. Chimamanda Adichie once spoke about a dilemma she suffered over the decision to apply lipstick and wear a figure-hugging dress for a function, because she was torn over the expectations of a woman striving to make a mark in a man’s world. Eventually, she came to the realisation that she didn’t have to discard her femininity to demand to be regarded as a man’s equal.

And this is because she’s a woman. A woman. Not a man. Not a he-woman. A woman. This whole rhetoric that advocating for women’s rights is related to wanting them to be men is just ridiculous.

The goal is not to see which woman can have more balls than the man. Men and women are of course not the same. Men and women have distinctive roles to play in a society, but men and women make up an equal society. And the movement is asking for society to recognise that.

There are enough cultures in this world that ultimately disrespect the existence of woman: promoting the birthing of male children over female children to the point of enforcing sex-selective abortions, robbing girls of education because of their gender, harassing single women on the ridiculous premise that they are incomplete without men, educating young girls to aspire to the fulfilment of future husbands instead of self fulfilment, passing rightful inheritances over widows and female heiresses because of their genders.

These societal atrocities are endless. And serious. And affect real lives. And should be considered without the lofty condescension or ignorant rhetoric of the woman who thinks she’s being asked to grow a penis or tighten her muscles or be a man-hater.

I read something which powerfully shows how ridiculous it is to keep ascribing these strict lines to the genders.

There is a fundamental assumption that there is one way to be male or female. Not all men are super strong, just like not all women are super girly. There are incredibly athletic, powerful women, tomboyish women, girly women, emotional women, cold-hearted women etcetera. Drawing weird lines between attributes that are all part of being human – being logical, being aggressive, being emotional, being nurturing, being driven etc. – and making some more “feminine” also prevents men from expressing their full selves.

Many men don’t know how to properly process and express emotions other than anger, lust and joy because that’s what this “women are soft, men are hard” dynamic allows. When it comes to fear, depression, sadness etc. it’s a different story. At the end of the day, enforcing strict gender roles doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help men who can be restricted from expressing their full selves and it doesn’t help the women who end up in relationships with them.

Men and women are different, men unto themselves and women unto themselves. And Gender Equality is asking that you both recognise and respect these differences.

Respect that there are family dynamics that work well with the man being the house husband and the wife being the bread-winner.

Respect that bluster and a penis does not a better employee make.

Respect (and this is for the proponents of the movement) that when a woman chooses to be a housewife, perhaps drop her career in favour of full-time motherhood, it doesn’t automatically translate to a diminishing of herself.

People need to stop placing an inferiority compass on women and on perceived femininity.

And honestly, running to the bible to yank some quote from its pages about your weaker vessel-hood as a sanction against Gender Equality? *sigh* There are no words. This is exactly how progressives get armed to sneer at the dictates of religion.

I am @Walt_Shakes on twitter


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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13 comments

  1. Great Piece. The ‘average’ 21st century feminist prides herself in her ability to open car doors herself and fix her bulb. Any woman who let’s a man do it for her is seen as the “problem feminism can’t work”.

    And I ask, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of feminism, of letting a woman BE? If she choses to be a live in wife or a career lady, shouldn’t she be given the opportunity to just BE?

    Someone once made a comment that today’s feminism seems to focus on man-hating and sometimes.. Sometimes.

    We females are the major problem with feminism. We are everywhere with our conflicting mantras. Until we can decide which one it is we want, gender equality or sex change or maybe, female superiority, we might as well give it up.

    • shakespeareanwalter

      One of the problems these movements have is misrepresentation. And it’s sad because it sullies that is essentially a good thing. Feminism and Gender Equality IMO are very noble activisms.

      • Then I suggest we solve that problem of misrepresentation first. Educate ourselves first. Because when a movement has a face of confusion, I don’t see how the target audience will take it serious.

  2. I read that article & came to the same conclusion. Walter, you echoed my thoughts, I couldn’t have put it into words better. And do for Nigerians forever turning to religion to explain everything, I’ve nothing to say to them.

    • shakespeareanwalter

      And of all things to take out from the bible, it had to be something that diminishes her. I just shook by head at the woman.

  3. Speak from now till eternity it wont change anything, do u knw why? because our CULTURE does not permit that. Thank you

    • shakespeareanwalter

      McGray, kindly answer me this: Please what is our culture?
      Because I often find that people who trot the culture and tradition argument do that simply because they want to remain content in their ignorance.
      Hopefully you’re not one of them and you actually know what you’re talking about.
      So, please, what is our culture?

    • It’s like wearing blinders, this culture response. And this McGray person just exhibited it. It makes me imagine that whenever people like him read a gender equality/feminism post, they don’t really see the print or assimilate anything, because all the culture rhetoric banging about in their heads are screening off what they’re reading. And they just want to get to the comments section and scream (no matter the direction of the article): ‘Our culture, our tradition!’
      *smh*

    • McGray, that you put culture in capital letters make me want to believe that you’re being sarcastic. The culture line can’t work here because cultures evolve, it’s not static. We killed twins once, it was unheard of for a woman to wear trousers, sending your daughter to school was frowned at etc. Hope you get the drift now?

  4. Some call it gender equality; others call it gender equity. The whole of point making all these clarifications, I think, is because of the emerging radicalization and perversion of the feminist movement, where a lot people have been lost to the mist of new concepts and definitions and inclusions into the body of what women empowerment and gender equality is. However, I don’t agree with some points in this piece: many men don’t know how to properly process emotions other than anger, lust and joy because that’s what this ‘women are soft men are hard dynamic’ allows; really? First of all, medically and psychologically speaking expression of emotion take on different paths as the male and female grows up. You know that hormone called testosterone; you don’t just have it in abundance just to grow beards and phallus; it does other things, one of which is how you react to life challenges (what we call psychological stressors) as a man; this is why almost 70% of psychiatric patients with depression are women; you see more of men with psychiatric conditions such as psychosis, mania which are characterized by outbursts of anger, phenomenal increase in strenghth for pointless physical activities and so on. I have faced a lot of challenges before where I tried to force myself to cry for relief but I just couldn’t: it was damn difficult and impossible; I couldn’t force tears out of my eyes.
    Moreover, even the gender equality obviously wouldn’t play out in some places because of hard truths: recently one of the legends in tennis made a comment in which he said male tennis players earning more than their female counterparts; Novak Djokovic spoke out on the need why male tennis players should earn more because they bring more viewers, sponsorship, their game is more entertaining because of the more physical strength involved and which stretches the game to longer duration; hence, they are doing more work and deserves more pay. This is unlike the false campaigns that have been going on some time about inequality of pay: there’s no place where the man and the woman are putting equal number of hours, extra hours and producing the same results and the woman is paid less; even as Nigeria is still at infancy in a lot of human developmental goals, men and women on the same level, putting in the same number of hours and yielding same results are paid equally.
    In conclusion, I think emerging radicalization and perversion in the gender equality movement have deviated the attention of discussion and action from the important issues of girl child education, poverty alleviation and the likes (reminds of Malala, the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate for Peace) to many shallow obsessions which is currently colonizing the social media space.

    • shakespeareanwalter

      ‘…there’s no place where the man and the woman are putting equal number of hours, extra hours and producing the same results and the woman is paid less…’

      Are you serious with that sweeping assertion?

  5. In the same establishment, working towards the same goal? Yes. What we have today is women in a particular working area that has male and female equivalents, like sports, seeking to be paid equally as the male in that same sport. Currently, the US women football team is doing the same thing. Their point is they’ve won the Women’s FIFA World Cup three times while the men’s team–which is not competing in the female category but in the far much more very competitive, more entertaining and more physically demanding men’s world cup where you have players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Suarez and so many other superstars–have not gone beyond the quarterfinal stage in the half a century. My question is how does the men team members being paid more translate to unequal pay? They are doing more work: getting to the quarterfinal of the Men’s FIFA World Cup earns the team more money and far much more revenue from broadcast rights than getting to the finals and winning the Women’s World Cup. It is criminal to discriminate in whatever way, including pay, based on gender when both the man and woman are working in the same establishment together on the same level, putting the same number of hours and producing same results; that’s why inequality in pay outbursts (in the US and other countries) are more of campaigns, movements, seeking the backing of the people because there’s no legal basis for it. Why must the man always be the evil cause for every single feminist plight? If the women footballers and tennis players (it’s even unfair that men and women tennis players earn the same amount when they don’t compete against each other) want more pay, they should work harder to become as entertaining as their male counterparts, and I will invest more time watching them. Imagine the Nigerian women football team demanding to be paid the same as the men’s team on the basis that they’ve won the women African’s Nation’s cup more than the Super Eagles have won theirs.

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