Same, same but different
Strange times we live in, don’t you think? More than ever, I feel like knowing what is coming for you has become an incredibly uncertain bargain: If you walk to your neighborhood’s store, you never know if you’ll walk into your friend Carla or if some bomb aimed at North Korea will inadvertently fall right on your unaware head. Or rather, to put this example giving in slightly more realistic perspective, as a woman, walking by some man staring intently at your face for a while, will raise questions, anxiety, and stress. Much more than ever. Probably as much anxiety as will feel some forgetful guy somewhere in the world, when he realizes that he just put his hand on the back of his coworker’s dress as he speaks to her, not knowing if he’ll get a fearful, disgusted shrug in response to it, or a friendly nod.
I swear I can currently hear you go “oh there we are, another one”, you’re probably waiting for a famous scandal’s name to pop up at some point in the following sentence and getting your controversial, well prepared modern mind ready to argue with or against what I’ll have to say. If that is the case, please, settle those vindictive thoughts down. I am not going to discuss the source of the mess we are going through, the assaults, the fear, the scandals, the broken families and the shattered lives. I won’t discuss it, not only because some incredibly better-versed people than myself, smarter and more knowledgeable people, have written, are currently writing and will write touching words on sexual assaults, on shadowy delation and on the overall lack of parity between men and women, but also because the level of confusion and distress this puts me in goes way over one of my common uncertainties.
I will, however, go onto a correlating topic that greatly bewilders me. In the beautiful battle thousands of women and men are leading for equality of genders, why is the nonetheless beautiful difference that makes us men and women, forcefully trying to be erased?
As I know it is necessary to your understanding of my point, I will proceed by elimination :
- No, I don’t mean difference of intellect, it does not exist.
- No, I am not aiming at a physical strength difference either. It is irrelevant and mostly depends on specific cases
- Sorry to disappoint again, but I am not pointing at the shameful difference of attitude men and women still too widely encounter. This manner of making a man believe that his manliness depends on his ability to hide his true feelings and love fancy cars, or that a woman’s femininity relies on her wearing light dresses and being fragile and petite, is the saddest joke I have personally ever heard.
Now that we are on the same page, let me just elaborate on what I mean by “difference” : above the obvious biological features that make us men and women, there is a difference that, because it is precisely abstract, not tangible and rather fleeting depending on people, their education, and their interests, is casually ignored by more and more gender equality extremists. These same people who advocate for the rights of gender-neutral beings and transgenders, forget that by doing so, they precisely contradict themselves. How can you at the same time accept that someone does not identify as men nor women or rather identifies with the characteristics of the opposite gender, and still assert that there are no differences between men and women whatsoever? It doesn’t make sense. This trend that pushes what should be a natural salary and social parity to unnatural extremes, such as refusing to see that men and women do have differences that make them interesting and rich in many ways, appears to ignore that the biological and physical distinctions between men and women, which led to the differentiation in their life choices and roles as well as clothing, are real. Sorry to break it up to you but hormonal differences and the way they physically show or not depending on the arousal one feels, the fact that one will continuously bleed for a week every month or that they will grow a human embryo in their body that will turn into an actual human being, which will end up sliding it out of their body, quite painfully for both people involved, do matter and do influence human behavior in various ways.
So why can’t we just accept these differences, value them and consider men and women as being complementary rather than “uneven"?
Whilst I continue to firmly believe that I do not function or think the same way as a lot of my male counterparts do in some instances, I would like to state that generalities are obviously a trap. No, the difference in attitude, which appears sometimes more straightforward in the way men behave, or a tad more complex for women, or again the fact that most young girls seem to mature faster than their boy friends isn’t a fatality or a general truth. Secondly, reducing men and women to their differences, just like reducing them to their similarities, is exactly the type of categorization that leads to violence, confusion, and distance. One can never be defined by one sole aspect of their personality.
I hope, with a strength that you cannot imagine, that a day will come when we accept each other as just what we are: Gorgeously, imperfectly and amazingly same, same but different.
gweilo's favourite siblings (after Manon and Sid of course)