Not Created Equal (9.26.18)
Recently I wrote, “I wouldn’t have to be a feminist if women were created equal.” A friend of mine texted me the next morning, “Check your FB post, typo. Treated. Not created.” I panicked and took the post down. I rechecked what I wrote and my quote was consistent among all my social media writing. After reflecting on it, I realized that, yes, this quote which came from my intuition is my intention, because the issue of equality goes much deeper than “treated equally.”
Women and men are both human beings and we share significantly similar things – bodies, feelings, heart, organs, appendages, teeth, brains, etc., but women are not created, as in designed, equally to men. Men are more muscular, therefore typically physically stronger and men have testosterone, but more importantly men have a penis which can be used as a weapon. I’m not an expert, but I would venture to say that more men rape women and males have many tools enabling them to rape women (and other men): size, muscles, strength, testosterone, high sex drive, and social values and norms that support this type of behavior. Physical strength aside, men are encouraged to rape women and other men, because of the violence we allow and support in our culture which is perpetrated by fighting, wars, weapons, religion, video games, movies, pornography, drugs, alcohol, poor parenting, brainwashing, lack of education about human sexuality, etc.
Rape is not just about sex. Rape is about aggression, rage, power, and dysfunction. Rape is not gender specific. There are women who rape men (and other women), because our society is sexually dysfunctional and ignorant about sex education combined with stereotypes about what everyone thinks is “normal” sexual behavior. I know personal stories that males have shared with me about aggressive women who pushed themselves onto these guys to have sex and the guys were really not interested. In other words, the sex was not consensual. Maybe these women were highly sexual, but they could have been misguided, misinformed, or acting out sexual aggression from somewhere in their own life experiences. For example, a woman with poor self-esteem may feel desirable, liked, or seeking attention forcing herself onto unwanted sexual partners, because she does not feel good about herself. We can flip this script for men as well.
Women are not created equal to men, because women begin menstrual cycles (on average) at the ripe age of 12. Our bodies bleed once per month for 7 days for the rest of our lives which is on average 3,360 days (unless we are derailed by something) until we go through menopause which is its own special kind of hell. These menstrual cycles affect our emotions, our bodies, our daily activities, our self-image, etc. Then we women are the lucky ones to get pregnant (planned, unplanned, coerced, or raped) and carry babies for not 9 months but 40 weeks if we are lucky. Those pregnancies change our bodies, challenge our health, and affect our hearts and souls for the rest of our lives. Once those children are born, women are expected to be the primary caregiver for those offspring which is exhausting and then expected to turn off the mothering gene and turn on the seductive wildcat energy. Meanwhile many women are not sexually satisfied, because their wiring and parts are not easily jump started and it takes a woman’s desire and guidance (from self knowledge and/or a healthy appropriate education) along with a patient, willing male (or female) partner to figure out the great mystery of each woman’s unique sexual wiring. Sign me up! I want to be a woman!
Men in power have had the upper hand for centuries advocating that women are the weaker sex in every way. For whatever reasons, men in power feel like they have to control women, therefore we have politicians, laws, governments, organized religion, police, legal systems, prisons, etc. set up to oppress women. This message is becoming stronger with the upcoming Ford/Kavanaugh hearing (which affects our psyches, our social norms, our laws, our governments, etc.) and how men (not all men – the ones who are misguided or brainwashed to act this way) overpower women to have sex, control them, shame them, etc. I would think that most men and women want to be in a healthy relationship where they are loved, respected, appreciated, and they get their emotional and sexual needs met while feeling safe. It’s a tall order, but it can be achieved. You have to be awake, conscious, and be able to think in order to make wise choices for yourself and our society.
So yes, I have to be a feminist, because women are not created equal, but I also have to be a feminist, because women are not currently treated equally in our society. But ultimately, I am a humanist fighting to raise awareness about human behavior and suggesting how we can do things better. As a parent, equality between females and males begins with having discussions with our children about our similarities and our differences. It’s tough work, but the results are worth the effort.