Obvious statements and a humble proposal

SYTYCB

A SYTYCB entry

Have you ever noticed how men and women are different? And no, not just “down there.”

More like “up there.” In our heads, where our brains live. Differences between men and women are biological, hormonal, and evolutionary. Think about it. With your brain.

For millions of years the male and female members of the human race have had very different roles for the simple reason that survival in the wild demanded it. Females sought a strong, dependable mate who would contribute to the survival of her offspring since she could only have one every nine months. On the other hand, males were driven to score with as many females as possible. Except for the fact that human men and women are of the same species, they’re practically a different species!

Which is why the issue of gender politics can get a bit messy. When it comes to race, it’s pretty simple. People of a different skin color are exactly the same as everyone else in the world in pretty much every other way. Treat them exactly the same as everyone else. The only difference there is culture, and as long as they’re not doing anything to infringe on the rights of others, leave them the hell alone about it. Easy rules to follow.

The same goes for homosexuality and heterosexuality. The only difference there is which gender they want to get it on with. And as long as they don’t try to get in on with you against your will, leave them the hell alone about it.

When it comes to men and women, our life experiences are drastically different. Culture and biology combine to create a world in which hundreds of books need to be published on the subject of why the opposite sex is so freaking weird. This is not to say that men and women should be treated differently. It’s just something that needs to be kept in mind at all times for certain situations.

The fact of the matter is, there are certain situations that men just cannot possibly understand. Let’s talk about pregnancy. Now, I get that this particular situation does affect men and they of course have their own form of anxiety surrounding the topic. However, pregnancy and childbirth and still way outside their comprehension. And why shouldn’t it be? They lack uteruses. They don’t know what it’s like to carry a growing fetus in their bodies, making life uncomfortable in a variety of ways until finally, well, childbirth. They can’t even imagine it, or what it’s like to know that such a thing could be in their future.

Many may also not be aware of the psychological reflex that we obtained through evolution to become distressed when a pregnancy or child is lost. This can send women into a deep depression, and they may never fully recover from the effects. Due to the evolutionary differences between the sexes, leaving a baby behind or getting an abortion is a much heavier decision for women than it will ever be for men. It’s not actually possible for men to be able to imagine the effects that these actions have on women, because they will never be able to have the same experience.

Do you see what I’m getting at? If not, and you’re foaming at the mouth a little about how I’m generalizing men and saying that they don’t understand things, let me turn this back around on myself.

I will never in a million years be able to understand what it’s like to have a penis. I will never be able to comprehend the difficulties that arise from having a penis that is “too small” by society’s standards. I will never know the shame of erectile dysfunction. I’ll never know what it’s like to have to worry so much about conforming to gender stereotypes. I can get girly or manly drinks, wear men’s clothes, cry in public, and watch pretty much whatever kind of movie or TV show I want, and the worst I have to worry about is some douchebag calling me “butch.” At which point I would proceed to not care even a little bit.

Men have it tough in a lot of ways. I can’t imagine how hard it is to live in a culture that tells you you’re not worthy of your own gender if you express too much emotion, which is essential for good psychological health. I for one believe that everything possible needs to be done to change the views of Western society to allow men to release their emotions in healthy ways without fear of mockery.

Though treating every human being as an equal to oneself should be the absolute goal, there’s no getting around the differences between men and women. Knowing this, I propose a pact between the sexes. Us women, being female and without male reproductive organs, vow to never participate in any petition, movement, or legislation that would restrict the production and use of erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra, or of any drug that claims to alter the size of said reproductive organs. When it comes to issues that are exclusively male and that women cannot empathize with, we women forfeit all rights to have a say in how those issues are handled.

That being said, men must forfeit all rights to have a say in issues that they cannot empathize with due to the lack of female reproductive organs, including abortion and female contraception.

I’m not here to argue about the quality of current laws or the morality surrounding abortion or contraception. I am only here to make a fair proposal. If you can’t possibly understand an issue because you physically lack the ability to empathize with the people who are effected, you should not have a say. If it seems unfair due to the fact that only issues pertaining to female reproductive organs are causing a problem in American society, then that’s a whole other issue that needs looking at, isn’t it?

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  • http://feministing.com/members/vexing/ Na

    I’m not foaming at the mouth about how you’re generalising men, I’m foaming at the mouth over your total erasure of transgender people.
    Well, not fomaing, just generally sad, a little depressed and otherwise generally annoyed.
    Please consider our existence in future?

  • http://feministing.com/members/sonofadiddly/ Lindsey Weedston

    Thank you, my friend, for that is a fantastic idea for a spinoff piece. I did briefly consider mentioning that this situation excludes transexual/transgender peoples, but I thought it would distract from the point and, honestly, I don’t know as much as I should about the perspective of transgendered individuals. In fact, I invite any transgender/transexual people to share their thoughts on this matter, either through comment or PM. It would be greatly appreciated.

  • http://feministing.com/members/surety/ Bryony Bates

    I have to say I’m always wary of biological determinism and evolutionary psychology, which is kind of what you’re going with here. Yes men and women think differently and experience different things, and clearly men feel differently towards childbirth and pregnancy to the way that women do. However, I don’t think that precludes meaningful empathy, which seems to be what you’re suggesting at the end of the post.

    Also, I feel like this comment: “The same goes for homosexuality and heterosexuality. The only difference there is which gender they want to get it on with. And as long as they don’t try to get in on with you against your will, leave them the hell alone about it.” comes from a lack of awareness. Are you straight? Sorry if you’re not and I’m assuming, but actually being queer does produce similar feelings to the way you describe not being able to comprehend not having a penis. Maybe not for everyone, but it can. For one thing, your life experience is drastically different if you’re queer. For another, I will never be able to fully sympathise with what it’s like to only be attracted to one gender – I will never be able to understand that mindset and experience whatever comes along with that. Truly, I realised a while ago how alien it is to me, even though that’s the norm.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that basing an argument for women’s reproductive rights on the fact that men and women are different biologically and culturally isn’t entirely helpful. It’s when men understand and empathise that they actually get why they should support reproductive rights, in my experience.

    • http://feministing.com/members/sonofadiddly/ Lindsey Weedston

      On the spectrum of sexual orientation, I consider myself to be pretty straight. But I have had a lot more exposure to the gay community. What I was trying to say was that due to the physical differences between men and women. Of course, due to cultural/societal influences, the lives of homosexuals are different from straight people. But they shouldn’t be. What I mean is, how people with non-straight sexual orientations should be treated is totally straightforward. They should be treated exactly the same as straight people. End of story. With gender issues, it’s a little more complicated because of actual physical features that created the evolved psychological and hormonal differences.

      I believe that men and women cannot have true empathy for certain gender-based situations. I can try to imagine what it’s like to have a penis, but I’ll never really know. Now, the goal is to get people to have as much empathy as possible. But I have most respect for men when they understand that they can’t understand a woman’s position and concede the final say to us.

      Again, this theory excludes the views of the transgendered community, which is why I plan to keep working on this particular piece.