Gah humbug! It never fails. Every time I get together with me chums to slurp the hooch and shoot the shit, two things always happen: we end up griping about what annoying little shits men frequently are, and then someone hollers that we’ll never figure men out so why even bother because hurr durr Mars and Venus. And then everyone else agrees, we all sing kumbaya, and all the world is twinkies again.
But ooopsies! I don’t like twinkies. Nor do I like sexist hee haw dressed in the clothing of wisdom. And it really irkens me gherkins to be reminded that my girlfriends and most everyone else within orbital proximity to the sun are so damn durrrr when it comes to recognizing gender essentialism for the sexist bullshit that it is.
I mean, maybe it’s just my vagina causing me to overreact (because that’s what vaginas do obviously) but shit! could we please wake up from our collective fucking nap already and grok just what the hell is happening here? It is not good for women when the society they live in starts genderbaiting everyone everywhere forever about how different men and women are. Because why? Because even a simple drunken analysis of these man-made sex-based “differences” reveals the designation of a superior class and the concomitant devaluation of its supposedly inferior counterpart. Or, as my daughters would say, those differences are used to justify the oppression of women DUH!
Think I’m full of shit? Okay then, lets examine some of the human characteristics which are falsely dichotomized by gender, shall we? One (the man) is dominant; the other (the woman) submissive. One (the man)is aggressive; the other (the woman)is passive. One (the man) is competetive and achievement oriented; the other (the woman) is relationship oriented. One (figure out yet where I’m going with this?) is logical; the other (yeah, I though so, crybaby)is emotional. One of them leads; the other follows. Different but equal, right? But there’s just one small problem with the different-but-equal bullshit justification: in a society that celebrates power and rewards domination, there is nothing equal about the characteristics which are said to define men and women. Nothing. At all. Ever. Period.
And there you go. It’s pretty simple, really. I mean, does it really take a four-thousand word essay to explain why this shit is harmful? Oh, it does? Okay then. Here’s some research for you. From an expert. Allow me to quote the expert as she explains the nefarious effect that an emphasis of gender differences can have on something as simple as communication.
In the realm of intimate heterosexual relationships,
women and men are told that they are as different as if they
came from different planets and that they communicate in
dramatically different ways (Gray, 1992; Tannen, 1991).
When relationship conflicts occur, good communication is
essential to resolving the conflict (Gottman, 1994). If,
however, women and men believe what they have been
told—that it is almost impossible for them to communicate
with each other—they may simply give up on trying to
resolve the conflict through better communication. Therapists
will need to dispel erroneous beliefs in massive,
unbridgeable gender differences.
That one was from the DUH files. Here’s another one from the same place.
One cost to children is that mathematically talented girls
may be overlooked by parents and teachers because these
adults do not expect to find mathematical talent among
girls. Parents have lower expectations for their daughters’
math success than for their sons’ (Lummis & Stevenson,
1990), despite the fact that girls earn better grades in math
than boys do (Kimball, 1989). Research has shown repeatedly
that parents’ expectations for their children’s mathematics
success relate strongly to outcomes such as thechild’s
mathematics self-confidence and performance, with
support for a model in which parents’ expectations influence
children (e.g., Frome & Eccles, 1998). In short, girls
may find their confidence in their ability to succeed in
challenging math courses or in a mathematically oriented
career undermined by parents’ and teachers’ beliefs that
girls are weak in math ability.
I suppose I could quote forever, but you get the drift and you have the link. Now stop bugging me and go read it.