I’ve long wondered what gender equality would look like once its been achieved. When I was younger, I pictured a world that reached equality on many planes; social, economic, political, etc. In this world, I imagined a world where nobody recognized any difference between male and female other than anatomy. A world where gender lost its value and meant almost nothing. In this world, true equality would be achieved. There would be no unfairness because the differences between men and women would be limited to the presence of the Y chromosome.
I thought of the practicality of this theoretical world in my head, and it hit me that women and men will always be different. Its inherent in our nature as humans. Men and women will always have different roles and behaviors. Even down to our scientific behavior, men and women are bound to be different. So maybe this difference perpetuates a never ending unfairness of some sort. Maybe men are genetically predisposed to the behaviors that make them different from women and vice versa. Men are naturally more aggressive and competitive, and women naturally more analytical and responsible. Nothing is wrong with either of these traits, but I believe that they are part of each gender. The other gender can obviously share these traits, but from a purely instinctual view, these are part of each gender. That’s when I concluded that there is a static and varying aspects to each gender. The roles that women and men fill are constantly changing. One perfect example is in a short excerpt by Virginia Woolf, called “Professions for Women.” In this essay she talks about how societies expectations for what a women is affected her writing and how she had to constantly combat her tendency to try and appease societies standards. One line that is particularly striking is when she says “You who come of a younger and happier generation may not have heard of her-you may not know what I mean.” The “her” she is talking about is the part of her subconscious that is willing her to write “like a woman.” The way she says talks of the younger generation shows that people judge women less in that era. This is a perfect example of how rapidly the aspects of a gender can change.
While yes, some behavior traits are part of each gender, many are not. That why not all men and not all women are the same. Nobody is inherently smart or funny, those are part of individuality. Similarly, the public image of people depends on society as a whole. This can be seen in the Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald, where these societal differences play a role in the events of the story. In the book, men see women as objects or trophies to be held. For instance, one of the characters, Tom Buchanan, has a mistress whom he open brings with him to the city to show off. In one particular scene, he commands his mistress not to mention his wife’s name, and punches her when she fails to comply. This abuse, which takes place in front of several people, shows that he treats her as a lesser being who should bend to his will. Another point from the book is how two main characters, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, fight for Daisy Buchanan’s affection. When a direct confrontation occurs, Gatsby demands that Daisy says she never loved Tom, stating “Just tell him the truth – that you never loved him – and its all wiped out forever.”[Fitzgerald 132]. He almost commands her to say what he wants, even though her tone clearly shows she thinks otherwise. This theme of male dominance rings throughout the whole novel.http://www.wab.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/gatsbycast.jpg
There was a time when women were bound to a domestic life and men were seen as the workers. now, I feel like this standard is nearly gone; women have joined the work force and are working their way towards equal pay. The roles that people play in society is what feminists are trying to change. But even here, I don’t believe people are trying to make women and men socially equal. They are trying to keep the different, but in a way that doesn’t seem unfair. Of course not all feminists are the same. Some do what social equality. Other wish to change the injustices of gender inequality, but keep everything else. Some are actually trying to create a female dominated society. Everyone has a different perfect when it comes to gender inequality.
To summarize, there isn’t one ideal version but my own version of a perfect equality is one where women and men keep their identifiable differences. Where people know that there are different roles that come with each gender, but I want for these differences to not be unjust. I feel that, in all honest, women do have things harder in society and adjustments must be made. My biggest concern comes from the unjust treatment of rape victims. There are too many times where the criminal gets away or receives minimal punishment. For example, four women attending Michigan State University filed sexual harassment complaints and failed to receive any proper attention. In one case, one of the victims had to continue living in the same dorm as the person who raped her. In the end, the school failed to respond until these women filed a law suit against the school. This is absolutely unacceptable, yet it completely went unnoticed for several months.